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Monday, June 27, 2011

The Wireless Convergence Concept

Wireless convergence is a multidimensional concept that combines IT infrastructures, networks, applications, user interfaces, and management aimed at supporting voice, data, and multimedia over IP-based wireless networks. A high-level depiction of FMC overall construct, in the form of a pyramid, is presented below;

At the base of the convergence pyramid are physical network components of both fixed and mobile networks. The next level consists of the networks themselves, as collections of components with well-defined topological layouts and coverage domains such as WLAN, WPAN, WMAN, and cell-based mobile WWANs. The next level is represented by the applications that provide support for a variety of services such as voice, data, and multimedia services. Access to all these systems requires user interfaces, where the centerpiece of FMC is the mobile phone. The whole convergent network and services should be managed to provide the expected QOS as agreed upon in SLAs. A more intuitive depiction of the FMC (Fixed Mobile Convergence) network architecture is in the form of the chain of networks involved in convergence is shown below;
At the highest level, cell-based mobile networks convergence takes place at the Customer Premises Equipment/Networks (CPE/CPN) represented byWireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN),Wireless Near-Field Sensor Networks, andWireless Local Area Networks (WLAN). Although WLANs are CPE/CPN they are presented as separate networks because Mesh WLANs can also provide metropolitan area coverage. Convergence also takes place in the Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (WMAN) represented by broadband wireless access networks such as WiMAX. At the center of this symmetric diagram is the core backbone network, mostly based on wired (fiber optic and copper) networks.

Each of the wireless network areas, CPE/CPN, metro, cellular mobile and wired core backbone, is supported by a variety of competing networking technologies and a multitude of network components. An asymmetric layout of FMC network components is presented below;
Starting from the right, the wired core backbone networks are realized as a mixture of various technologies, mostly fiber optics-based. The core cell-based radio mobile network infrastructure consists of components supporting primarily voice services and data services.Wireless metropolitan area networks are supported by a variety of networks, such as WiMAX-based, FSO, and VSAT, all serving specific applications. Other major sets of components belong in the wirelessCPE/CPNclass that includesWLANs,WPANs, and Near-Field Sensor Networks.
Each of the wireless network constituent technologies is accompanied by a set of individual protocols and communications stacks that may be limited to a wireless network area or can be used across the whole network. An asymmetric layout of major FMC network interfaces and standard protocols for radio access is presented below;
Starting from the right are the wired core backbone networks, each using different fiber optics-based technologies. Each technology is supported by a set of international standards. Since the subject of this book is related to wireless networks, we do not enumerate these standards. The core cell-based radio mobile network infrastructure is also supported by a set of international standards dealing with applications, security, data services and technologies related to the latest generations. Wireless metropolitan area networks are supported by the WiMAX technology for fixed and nomadic/mobile users (IEEE 802.16d and 802.16e). Another major set of standards is related to the wireless CPE/CPN class that includes WLANs, WPANs, and Near-Field Sensor Networks.

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