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Technology for 5G and the Future Internet


As simple as possible, but not simpler.


The problems

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:

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.

The solution

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.

Features include:

User experience

Several aspects of the design of Flexilink improve the user's Quality of Experience:

Migration path

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.

Further information

Follow these links for more details:


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