Industry Insights - Iskratel
2. 3. 2020

Network migration: Migration Strategies for the Core Infrastructure of Telco Operators

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to expand, operators are considering network migration to meet this growing demand. As a result, the NFV/SDN market is growing considerably, with Ovum estimating that the market will reach $48.2 billion in 2023.

There are undoubtedly many benefits to network migration, including: 

  • Modernisation of part of the infrastructure
  • Offering new applications to all users faster than before 
  • Being able to comply with regulatory requirements more quickly

However, understanding the best strategic plan and its implications at the project execution level is crucial for successful network migration.

Moving forward with migration

A migration project is a bit like moving to a new house; it fills some with the excitement of new possibilities, and others with dread over potential problems which may arise. But it is clear that the market is showing no signs of slowing down, as the Global Network Transformation market is expected to rise to $79.03 billion by the end of 2024.

Some challenges can be identified from the offset; whereas others might be uncovered in the process. The primary strategy must be to prepare very well while executing with agility in order to achieve a high-level of success. In other words:

  1. Make plans for the long-term, with the end goal in mind, engaging all the expertise available.
  2. Have a team that is willing to demonstrate the flexibility needed to adapt the plans when the dynamics of the situation call for it.

To use the house moving analogy again; is it better to start from the furniture that is already there and make decisions impacting the new home to maximise (temporary) reuse? Or is it better to start at the other end, with an image of your "dream house” in mind, and work backwards to find out what this means for the legacy equipment? Or, is there a sensible way to combine both strategies?

Experience is key

Iskratel has been involved in a number of real-world use cases and has a great understanding of what is needed at an operational level.

Back in 2015, migrating Rostelecom’s fixed telephone network from NGN to IMS was a considerable project for Iskratel as it covered the entirety of Russia's extensive territory (the Russian Federation is the largest country in the world, accounting for 11% of the total landmass). The existing network, at the time with NGN at its core, was extensive and complex. It had ten long-range nodes, controlling more than 100 regional network nodes.

It was therefore decided early on that a new IMS based architecture would be introduced to replace the existing structure and set up as geo-redundant between two centers in cities that are equal distance from each other. In 2017, it deployed the vIMS Core and executed acceptance testing, this was fundamental in earning the customer’s trust early on. The initial project was set up in just 14 days and Iskratel also developed the necessary tooling to validate the data and automate the migration.

With the help of Iskratel creating a realistic timeline, based on previous experience and with realistic contingency and risk mitigation plans in place the project was delivered on time and in budget and met the overall objectives of the customer.

Iskratel also has expertise in migrating mobile operators. There are a host of potential possible migration strategies, but starting the modernisation with an IMS for the fixed network and then adding VoLTE capabilities for the mobile network is a future-proof investment that correlates to optimised costs and gradual migration. Iskratel has the knowledge to help ensure a fixed/mobile network integration that allows added-value services like unified communication to corporate business customers. 

Iskratel’s guide to a successful migration

When beginning the task of network migration:

  1. Don't wait or postpone - Plan well in advance as the obsolescence of your legacy systems can keep growing. Tangible benefits such as lower Operational Expenditure (OPEX) allow operators to justify this expenditure.  
  2. Start the engagement small – Begin the process with a small win such as a pilot project and therefore, establish trust levels with the customer to engage in a larger, strategic project. This also allows the customer to provide feedback to how the system suits its needs and avoids costly changes when undertaking the larger project.
  3. Communicate clearly – Make sure everyone in the process is clearly aligned on the same page early in the process and set in stone milestones to track your progress. 

To reach the right approach for network migration strategy, leaders must be able to display a lot of tactical flexibility to adapt to changing conditions they encounter. Having good preparation and access to expert knowledge and system integration experience can ensure you succeed with your large migration projects. 

We collected insights from Iskratel professionals with years of hands-on experience with large migration projects and organised them into different strategies with their pros and cons. Find out how to start your migration project and which strategy is your best fit.
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