What is convergence ?
This term has different meaning for different networking groups. In this post, I will explain the two most common usage. This kind of knowledge definitely will differentiate you from the others 🙂
If you are a layer 3 person, I mean if you are familiar with routing, most probably you already know what is routing convergence.
But let me talk about it little bit first, before I start talking about convergence in operator domain, specifically in Mobile operators domain.
In routing, there are two types of convergence. Initial convergence and the convergence after a failure.
When two routers are connected and a routing neighborship is setup, they exchange many protocol packets, synchronize their databases, negotiate some parameters such as MTU and so on. After this packet exchanges, neighborship comes up and we call it routing is converged.
Second types of routing convergence happens after a failure. Failure such as links , process or maybe a device failure.
When the failed links, process or node is recovered, above protocol packets exchange happen again. It takes time but after the protocol packets are exchanged, routing is stabilized again and we call, network is converged.
You probably heard about Fast convergence. If not I describe it here. Routing can converge faster if some parameters are tuned.
As I said in the beginning of this post, different networking people describe convergence differently.
Did you hear about Fixed – Mobile Convergence (FMC) ?
Fixed network such as DSL, Cable , Fix Wireless etc. and Mobile networks such as cellular networks. Imagine you have a phone call via WhatsApp application through Wi-Fi at home and you walk outside. When you go outside, your Wi-Fi signal will disappear of course. But let’s say you have Mobile broadband access as well. It can be 3G, LTE, LTE Advanced etc.
If your call is not dropped and handover between the Wi-Fi and the Cellular network (It can be DSL and Mobile or any other combination) is seamless, it is called Fixed – Mobile Convergence.
Many Service Providers deployed and many of them are exploring it. In fact, even in developing countries this is a trend and customers will expect this as a ubiquitous service very soon.
Here is the Wikipedia definition of Fixed – Mobile Convergence.
“Fixed Mobile Convergence is a transition point in the telecommunications industry that will finally remove the distinctions between fixed and mobile networks, providing a superior experience to customers by creating seamless services using a combination of fixed broadband and local access wireless technologies to meet their needs in homes, offices, other buildings and on the go”.