Mobile network operators worldwide are watching the all-IP 4G launches and drawing their own conclusions about when and how to proceed. While 2G and 3G networks are centralized and hierarchical, the 4G world is flatter and distributed. In 3GPP Release 8 the control plane is separate from the user plane, providing additional opportunities to optimize performance and cost.
The basic LTE Evolved Packet Core is a reference for best effort data services. Operators will customize and develop solutions to fit their particular needs and monetize their networks, include legacy assets and evolve to a distributed architecture. The operator’s choice is further complicated by the role of software-defined networking and cloud or virtualization technology.
This research addresses these decisions for the 4G LTE network and the options to consider. The top tier infrastructure vendors are covered, and also innovative niche focused firms.