Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC), the much-touted technology that combines mobile phones with fixed lines to save companies money, will be insecure and most implementations will fail, according to some analysts.
The main problem is that FMC solutions are new, and systems are racing to catch up with their demands, according to both The Yankee Group and wireless specialist Unstrung Insider. Philip Marshall, a vice president at Yankee’s wireless and mobile technologies practice, says “Fixed-mobile convergence has clearly emerged as a disruptive trend affecting communication business models, the distribution of content along the value chain and the development of advanced new service offerings.”
However, he says, “Most FMC solutions will fail — and those that cannot transform their fundamental business models to embrace disruption will be the victims.”
Unstrung Insider says unfamiliar security challenges and threats which security equipment is still evolving to take account of will be the downfall of many projects. “Initial security gateway deployments are focused around Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) and wireless LAN interworking, where there is a need for tunnel-terminating gateways with enhanced security features such as firewalls, denial-of-service protection, and intrusion detection systems,” says a report from Unstrung. “Other requirements, such as fast tunnel setup, massive scalability, and the ability to support large numbers of secure tunnels switching rapidly between active and inactive states, are also driving the need for a new generation of equipment.”
As products evolve from the early UMA implementations of convergence, they will move to IP multimedia subsystem (IMS). The packet data gateways in an IMS network will have to offload session initiation protocol (SIP) security tasks, creating new security needs.
“Mobile operators want integrated security architectures that unify access, control and services-layer security, but there is still significant uncertainty about how and where to implement security functions in converged networks,” the report says.