Internet Protocol (IP) is currently the dominant networking technology but it does not include the facilities needed to support many of the key services for which it is now used. For instance:
Mobile devices change their IP address when they move to a different cell.
Packet headers take up a large proportion of link capacity (important for mobile networks).
Quality of voice-over-IP, streamed radio programmes, etc, is uneven; every so often the sound is interrupted, or becomes distorted.
End-to-end delay (latency) is too great for some applications (for instance in live sound, virtual reality, and Tactile Internet).
Systems for detecting where users are located are unreliable.
A broadcaster cannot easily send one stream that is copied to many listeners.
Communications service providers cannot charge users for access to “premium-rate” services.
These issues are a result of the connectionless store-and-forward technology at the core of IP networks. Various “sticking-plaster” measures are used, but they cannot provide a complete solution. Moreover, they increase the complexity of the system, thus increasing costs and power consumption and reducing reliability.
In public networks, these problems will become worse with the addition of increasing amounts of video to the existing traffic.
Nine Tiles has 35 years' experience of developing digital networking systems, and has always designed them to be easy to use and maintain.
Flexilink builds on that experience to provide a reliable and cost-efficient service both for time-critical media, such as live audio and video, and also for IT-related services such as file transfer and web browsing.
Flexilink is ideal for all applications in which live media are conveyed, from broadcast infrastructure, CCTV, public address, and sound reinforcement to home entertainment, and meets all the requirements for the new aervices proposed for 5G. As the name suggests, it is flexible enough to provide efficient transport for audio (frequent short packets), video (larger packets), and packet data (bursty traffic).
It provides all the benefits of circuit switched technologies such as ISDN and ATM, for instance guaranteed QoS and low latency, while avoiding problems such as fixed channel capacity or fixed cell size, expensive hardware, and labour-intensive network management. It also supports IP, for compatibility with the current Internet and for use with those applications for which connectionless packet switching is more appropriate.
Can use a variety of physical formats, including Ethernet
Supports multiple paths for resilience
Tight synchronisation to minimise latency
Better QoS and less overhead than IP (or ATM)
Lightweight protocols minimise logic complexity
Several aspects of the design of Flexilink improve the user's Quality of Experience:
Delays and lost packets in media streams are virtually eliminated.
Changes in topology, such as links being connected or disconnected, are signalled promptly and explicitly. This makes diagnosis much easier, for instance when a piece of equipment fails to communicate it is immediately obvious where the problem is. Moreover, the system can immediately re-route flows around a fault.
Addressing of units and services is more flexible, eliminating problems with DHCP, Network Address Translation, etc.
The additional information that can be exchanged when a flow is set up means networks can be made more secure.
Within a local area (such as a home or small office network) an application can “crawl” the network, finding what equipment is available (though any unit or subnetwork can be concealed if required for security) and offering it in a menu to the user.
The protocols for carrying media streams and other traffic will interwork with protocols such as SIP and RTP which are used in the current Internet. Therefore, "islands" of the new technology can be used to replace or augment parts of an IP network, with translation between the different protocols at the boundaries. Calls that are completely within an island benefit from the guaranteed QoS and low latency, and calls that cross an island will experience an improved service if they previously crossed a part of the network that was liable to become congested. These "islands" can then be expanded, and where they meet they will coalesce into a single, larger island.
Flexilink uses the call control procedures in Part 5 of IEC 62379; these provide a migration path from IP networks as explained here.
Follow these links for more details:
------------- ooo OOO ooo -------------
Copyright ©2007-2017 Nine Tiles