7

Open APIs for Flexible Service Provision and Reconfiguration Management

Nancy Alonistioti, Spyros Panagiotakis, Maria Koutsopoulou, Vangelis Gazis and Nikos Houssos

Communication Networks Laboratory, University of Athens

7.1 Introduction

7.1.1 Evolving Communications Environment

In second generation (2G) networks, services provided to mobile users were either rigidly integrated in network equipment or developed with proprietary tools by mobile operators or equipment manufacturers. In third generation (3G) mobile communications and beyond, an open and complex marketplace is expected to emerge: mobile devices with significantly different characteristics [e.g, computer laptop, Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) and cellular phone) should access a multitude of diverse applications and Value-Added Services (VAS), developed by Third Party Value-Added Service Providers (VASPs) that typically do not target solely mobile networks, using a variety of wireless link technologies (e.g. UMTS, GPRS. Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, etc.). Applications and services will be provided to end-users over various networking technologies and heterogeneous communication infrastructures, which should converge, interface and co-operate seamlessly and congruously to ensure consistent, transparent and ubiquitous service provision to end-users, hiding the involved network complexity.

Consequently, the prevailing design assumptions for mobile network, device and protocols must be re-evaluated in the light of the volatility ...

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