• Before, to get an address, we open the phone directory
  • Before, to call someone it was needed to be at home or in a post office.
  • Before, to send a message, paper, letter, postman was needed,.
  • Before, to read the news, we had to buy newspapers.
  • Before, to find our way we needed maps.
  • Before, to book a sit at a theater, it was needed to do it by phone or to go to a counter.
  • Before, Before, to look a picture, it was needed to have it whithin our hands.
  • Before, to watch a movie, he was needed to put TV on or go to the pictures.
  • Now, all this is possible thanks to a single device : a 3G mobile...

Interface simplification : there is just one. This is more mobility : it’s just needed to get this terminal to have access to all those services.

Switching and transport network simplification : it is united and allow to carry all those different informations in a single media on user’s end. The network keep a real complexity ... since the peripherals equipements are heterogeneous : it is still needed to adapt to differerent sub-networks and devices with gateways.

Who says simplification, say therefore convergence, since all the previous mentionned communication channels : mail, phone, Hertzian beam (TV / movies) etc.... are united in one single network : UMTS (in fact, puting together other networks, still distinct). The simplification proceeding from convergence lead to cost cut :

  • Scale savings : multiple services will use the same channels, putting them in service and maintaining them will therefore be cheaper. For example in new “triple play” networks carrying Internet, voice (VOIP : Voice over IP) and video (VoD : Video on Demand).
  • Improvement easiness : application centralization allow to upgrade the product easily. In a fast moving technology world, it is not just a bonus !
  • Interworking easiness: it is still not entirely true ... it is rather a goal. But a lot of work have been accomplished in this direction from the totally independant and proprietary networks to today’s situation. Emmergence of common protocols (i-e : SIP, H323, MGCP for VoIP) allow devices from different vendors (Endpoints, Softswitchs ..) and service providers (ISP, Carriers) to interroperate more easily. Competition and cost cut resulting form this are not marginal at all.

A complementaty view on convergence : The Internet now interconnects almost all the world’s computers – and it’s well on its way to networking everything else, by Manfred Broghammer (02/26/2005).

Tanneguy RAMIERE

(1)Saint Exupery,Terres des Hommes [Français]