Out-of-band paging (was: Web expert ...)

Joe Greco jgreco at ns.sol.net
Wed Jul 28 08:40:35 CDT 2010

> On Wed, 28 Jul 2010, Joel M Snyder wrote:
> > It's completely out-of-band, even more so than our old 
> > touch-tone-phone-paging system was, so I'm actually happier with the total 
> > performance.  Given that GSM coverage is increasing while pager coverage 
> > seems static or decreasing, SMS via out-of-band GSM looks like a great 
> > solution.
> Be wary, there is a fast growing trend amongst mobile operators to 
> outsource backhaul from their towers to IP network operators.  So far 
> there are only a few that are using the same network as for other IP 
> traffic, but the economy of scale motivations to combine onto a single IP 
> network are strong and will not be resisted for long.

I would definitely consider the direction that cell and SMS is moving to
be at-risk and probably effectively in-band during a communications
crisis.  As I pointed out to someone else last night in private e-mail:

: [...] but TDM as a backhaul
: technology for cellular will eventually give way to all-IP based
: backhaul.  The pressures in the cellular space are particularly intense
: with the "advanced"(*) IP services that networks such as at&t wireless
: are selling to customers.  In some areas, data traffic already exceeds
: voice loads, and maintaining both TDM and IP backhaul for wildly varying
: loads effectively means ensuring excess capacity available on two
: different networks.  TDM in particular may be viewed as wasteful; it's
: possible to get better network efficiencies out of SIP/IMS based voice
: processing.
: And then consider landlines.
: TDM is an expensive and inefficient technology, when you look at it from
: the point of view of cost to implement and maintain.  If you're at&t and
: you're selling Uverse, for example, you're already encoding the POTS
: line as data to haul it over the copper/fiber to the customer.  Does it
: make a lot of sense to maintain a local central office switch that's
: essentially a dinosaur, converting TDM to VoIP at the CO, just to justify
: the continued existence of a switch at the CO?
: Point is, TDM's goose is cooked.  Your cell phone's going to wind up on
: the same IP network that your landline's going to be on, and that's also
: likely to have overlap with consumer Internet connectivity.  It may not
: be that way today, or tomorrow, or next year, but let's be realistic, as
: efforts to cut costs are made, telcos are not going to see value for
: their dollar in maintaining completely separate networks, and they're
: going to touch.
: (*) "advanced" == "Internet access", we NANOG'ers consider it basic.

Please remember before anyone tries to "correct" me that I'm making
forward-looking statements about where things are likely to go, and not
just looking at the current state of the technology.  I see mobile data
as being strong growth, and mobile devices becoming plentiful, but the
demand for mobile voice is not going to grow in the same ways.  Just as
the early days of the Internet were dialup and low bandwidth sites, but
we transitioned to broadband and bandwidth-hungry sites that were made
possible as a result, we'll see a lot of that happen with wireless data

What that really implies is that voice demand is going to remain more
or less constant when compared to the explosive growth of data; data 
demand is going to grow, and carriers will get to the point where 
they're running gigE to a cell tower.  Right now, maybe voice is of
sufficient importance and data is sufficiently new and problematic 
that there is some segregation internally of that traffic within the
carrier's networks, but even in the most optimistic case for network
segregation, I see it getting to the point where someone looks at the
picture in a few years and says, "we've already got 1Gbps data pipes 
to our cell sites, why are we running voice over a separate 45Mbps 

And as far as I can tell, that's happening a lot more quickly than many
people have expected.

I strongly agree with your conclusions about economy of scale motivations.

... JG
Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net
"We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I
won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN)
With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.

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