Nokia and leading Finnish mobile operator, Sonera, have for the first time verified the quality of GRX (GPRS Roaming Exchange) roaming in a third generation mobile environment. The Quality of Service (QoS) tests were conducted in Nokia's trial UMTS platform, established for the purpose of testing future 3G services.
With the tests, Sonera and Nokia were able to determine that data packets which had been given top priority, i.e. a high QoS rating, were transmitted faultlessly through the Sonera GRX. This means that delay sensitive traffic can be given higher priority also over GRX roaming connections, allowing new types of All-IP services such as IP Telephony implemented end-to-end worldwide.
At the same time lower priority data can use the rest of the available bandwidth maximizing use of Inter Operator GRX Roaming capacity without disturbing top priority traffic.
Future 3G customers are likely to be offered various QoS categories, priced according to priority. Thus, highly important real-time data will be transmitted reliably even during congested periods, while less urgent data will be handled on a best-effort basis, at less cost to the customer.
"As the world becomes more and more mobile, it is important to solve the roaming issues of future generations of mobile networks well in advance, in order to guarantee optimum quality of service to the customers," says Timo Levoranta, Senior Vice President, Sonera Inter Operator Services. "Through the evolution of GRX roaming from GPRS to global 3G, as verified in our tests with Nokia, Sonera GRX can now, with some justification, be called 3GRX."
Sonera and Nokia recognize the vital importance of GRX as a bridge to next generation GPRS and 3G roaming for operators around the world. The successful Quality of Service tests underscore the commitment of both companies towards true 3G mobility.
"Worldwide roaming and seamless global services are vital issues for all operators and service providers," says Olavi Mertanen, Director of Backbone Product Business Management, Nokia Networks.
"Nokia and Sonera were the first to test GRX based GPRS roaming, and now we are pleased to be at the forefront of 3G roaming. These tests show that GRX is a future-proof solution for GPRS and 3G operators who want to be at the forefront of next generation mobile communications, " adds Mertanen.
The QoS tests by Sonera and Nokia involved three types of IP (Internet Protocol) data: video streaming, Internet radio, and normal ftp (file transfer protocol) traffic. In short, data in the form of live images, sound and text files was transmitted via simulated 3G networks which were interconnected by GRX.
In addition, bulk data from external sources was used to simulate the role of other operators. Each packet of data - whether image, sound or text - was given a priority and assigned a Quality of Service class, with the performance of each class visualized to enable easy monitoring.
Sonera (HEX:SRA, NASDAQ: SNRA) is an international forerunner in mobile communications and mobile-based services and applications. By combining its expertise in mobile communications, the Internet and service provision, Sonera aims to develop into a global communications operator and provider of transaction and content services. The company also provides advanced data communications solutions to businesses, and fixed network voice services in Finland and its nearby areas. In 1999, Sonera`s revenues amounted to EUR 1.85 billion and profit before extraordinary items and taxes was EUR 0.5 billion.
Nokia is the world leader in mobile communications. Backed by its experience, innovation, user-friendliness and secure solutions, the company has become the leading supplier of mobile phones and a leading supplier of mobile, fixed and IP networks. By adding mobility to the Internet Nokia creates new opportunities for companies and further enriches the daily lives of people. Nokia is a broadly held company with listings on six major exchanges.