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'Simplified IMS': No Longer a Reduced IMS in the Network but a Full IMS in the Cloud

| Aug 10, 2012 | IP Services Infrastructure
| Analyst: David Snow, Principal Analyst, IP Services Infrastructure

IMS was originally intended to simplify operators’ networks, so why have “simplified IMS” solutions abounded over the past five years and gained increasing prominence more recently? As VoLTE looms and OTT players need to be challenged with new carrier-based services, so operators are looking again at their IMS capability. For those with existing IMS deployments, the question is whether their current IMS will meet the challenges of the next five years, and for others it is a new procurement phase.

What is certain is that the IMS market has changed significantly since its inception. New IMS players have emerged offering elements of the IMS core, until now considered the domain only of the major equipment providers. These players have been spurred on by the recognition that the value of IMS has been gradually migrating away from the core to the edge and application layers.

Established vendors have not been inactive either - responding with radical surgery on their platforms to reduce CapEx and making IMS as simple as possible to manage, reducing OpEx. The IMS of today is simplified, but still 3GPP compliant, in marked contrast to earlier “pre-IMS” or “IMS-in-a-Box” simplifications that were designed to provide a low-cost entry solution, but not in line with all of the 3GPP’s guidelines. These “non-standardized” solutions proved to have a mixed record in cost-effective evolution to full IMS compliance and were even less successful in scaling.

Scalability is where the greatest difference lies today. In addition to full standards compliance, simplified IMS solutions have an ability to scale far beyond their antecedents and this factor will be a key differentiator in supporting IMS cloud build-outs.

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