IPX technology - more relevant than ever before
A Total Telecom interview with Christian Wollner, Head of Product Management Mobile World, Deutsche Telekom ICSS
With IPX having a dedicated focus once again at Carriers World 2017, Total Telecom sat down with industry expert Christian Wollner of Deutsche Telekom. Christian was kind enough to give us an update on the current state of IPX technology.
How relevant is IPX in 2017? What are the challenges that IPX providers are finding in driving forward the development of the technology?
There were times when there was lot of confusion around IPX. Some simply avoided this strange animal that they didn't understand. This has changed and IPX is now more relevant than ever before. That's a good thing for the industry. When it comes to interconnect between networks IPX is simply the go-to platform. It's there, it's universal and it provides global connectivity in a secure way.
This summer has been really exciting for us. Summer peaks always need to be thoroughly planned. But the summer of 2017 was different because of the new regulations to standardize roaming charges in Europe. We anticipated the explosion of traffic and significantly enhanced our network. At the same time, we convinced customers to upgrade, and also talked a lot with peering partners. In order to be ready for this new dimension of traffic we upgraded our peering capacity at AMS-IX to multiple 100 GE. That was an absolute first, and I would expect others to follow as traffic growth is here to stay.
Does it make sense to build an IoT layer in your IPX network?
We have already done that. We use our IPX for internal IoT traffic. For our global IoT footprint we additionally extended our own coverage with partner networks using an alliance platform. IPX was the first choice for connection with this platform. As IoT requirements are specific, however, we needed to do some engineering to build a distinct layer. It was a bit of a rocky road but we got there and now everything works just fine. For me, this is another example of how universal IPX is.
Can IPX providers claim a piece of the IoT pie or have they missed the opportunity?
We claim a piece every day! Maybe it isn’t always apparent that this is a piece out of the larger IoT pie. But in all the IPX traffic that we handle every day there is a significant IoT share. For example, there is a lot of permanent roaming in IoT. And among all the roaming connections that an IPX handles, the IoT portion is growing significantly! At one time, IoT operators didn't even ask themselves whether they would like to gain an international IoT footprint through an alternative platform. IPX was there and it worked well, so it was naturally used for IoT too.
What are IPX’s advantages in delivering IPX solutions?
The IPX value proposition remains unchanged. It's an all-IP platform that can give you worldwide connectivity for all kinds of different services. It's a standard that comes with Quality of Service and it is secure because data streams can be separated from the public internet and from each other. Secure user data is of growing importance and there are a rising number of IoT applications where the focus is on security. Still, we see that there is a market for additional security features. To that end we have, for example, recently launched an SS7 firewall solution that has become very successful. We have signed up a lot of customers and those that are already live are very happy with the service.
What’s the future of IPX and how is ICSS positioning itself for that future?
In my opinion IPX has a bright future...under one condition! It needs to adapt, as our world is constantly changing. Volumes are growing rapidly – we just had this booming summer here in Europe with the new regulations that saw skyrocketing roaming volumes. Volume growth will continue. VoLTE roaming will gain traction and that will be through IPX. And then 5G is not so far away. Deutsche Telekom has launched the first 5G trial in Germany just a couple of weeks ago. The standards are now being finalized and commercial 5G is not so far away anymore. IPX needs to define its place in the eco-system depending on where it can deliver the most value.
From this perspective, Deutsche Telekom ICSS is rather well positioned. Deutsche Telekom is a pioneer in 5G. We are a big player in IoT. Security is in our DNA. Combining all of this with our IPX makes us future-proof!