A ZDNet Multiplexer Blog What's this?

Let's talk about IPX

A new report from Telecom Asia and SAP digs into what mobile operators are thinking and doing about high-speed data services, and how IPX networks fit into the picture.

Back in March of this year, I did a three-part series on long-term evolution (LTE), one part of which I devoted to operators and their various motivations for launching LTE.

Now, it’s time to talk about IPX networks, and how they also factor into operator activities. Specifically, I wanted to highlight the results of a new report that Telecom Asia released this week: Navigating Complexity: the Quest for True IPX. (Full disclosure: SAP, my employer, sponsored the report.)

Wondering what LTE and IPX have to do with each other? Here’s a bit of background. With 3G services, international roaming became possible for the first time. Meaning, you could go to a foreign country and still get data services on your phone: web browsing, SMS, MMS, and email. (For a price, of course.) In order to make that work, all of the data services have to be IP-based.

IPX, short for Internetwork Packet Exchange, is a private IP platform that supports all of those services. IPX networks sit between mobile operators and enable them to do business together internationally and in roaming scenarios. For more background on what an IPX is and does, watch my colleague Michel Van Veen explain it in seven minutes.

Since operators have rolled out over 200 LTE network deployments in the past three years, IPX is looking like it’s about to take off. In fact, several operators responded to the Telecom Asia survey that 2013 will be the year IPX takes off.

That’s definitely a shift. When Telecom Asia first researched the topic of IPX in 2011 (Get that report here), there was a lot of interest in IPX but little activity. Now, there is much greater clarity, interest, and activity. The survey shows that 56% of respondents are connected to an IPX network, compared to just 30% two years ago.

Telecom Asia surveyed 170 respondents from within the telecoms industry on how they think the IPX market is going to evolve. The report digs into what the industry is thinking and how it sees IPX moving forward, including insights from one-to-one discussions with senior executives.

Download the new report here.