There has been a lot of talk about the IMS market – many conflicting messages and the usual techno hype.

But we still don’t know exactly what it is. Is it a new standard, is it a new technology or is it just a set of soft switches?

For the time being IMS remains a moving target and means different things to different people. This makes it rather difficult for a non-engineering person like myself to get a good handle on this market (or product, or standard). There is also little hope of getting a reliable answer from the industry. Many have their own vested interests in this market/product/standard and so you hear very conflicting messages from them.

Critics are saying that one of the confusing elements of IMS is that it started off in the 3G environment. This environment is now threatened by wireless broadband and it looks as though IMS became a bandage solution to turn 3G networks into IP-based networks.

I copied the following information from one of our web reports, so this is on record as where we see IMS sitting,

Exhibit 1 – What is IMS?
The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is an open, standardised NGN multimedia architecture for mobile and fixed IP services. It is based on a 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) variant of SIP, and uses standard IP. It is used by telecom operators in NGN networks (which combine voice and data in a single packet-switched network), to offer network controlled multimedia services.

The aim of IMS is not only to provide all of the current and future services that the Internet provides, but to allow these services to be offered when roaming as well as on home networks. To achieve these goals the IMS uses open standard IP. All interfaces are based on IP

IMS was originally defined by the 3GPP as part of its standardisation work for 3G mobile phone systems for WCDMA networks, but the service model has also been used by 3GPP2 (a separate organisation for CDMA2000 networks) and TISPAN (fixed networks). It is a key technology for Fixed/Mobile Convergence (FMC).

Is there any independent person out there who can shed some more light on this?

Paul Budde

See also: Global – Mobile Data – HSDPA & IMS

We invite your comments: Comments Off on IMS – WHAT IS IT, REALLY — OCTOBER 2005

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