Legacy Modernization and Integration in the Telecom Industry

November 29th, 2018

There are many good reasons to upgrade real time communications (RTC) networks and platforms, which are impacting the way Communications Service Providers (CSPs) – and the enterprises they serve – are planning, budgeting for and rolling out pure Internet Protocol (IP) environments.

As the digital revolution accelerates across every aspect of how we live and work, IP-based services are disrupting how consumers and businesses communicate and engage in commerce. From mobile applications to omni-channel customer service, and from web-centric e-commerce solutions to “everything as a service” business applications delivered via the cloud, everything is changing.

Telecom carriers and enterprises understand they must modernize to remain (or become) market leaders. Once digital transformational projects get underway, contending with legacy technologies and infrastructure is one of the biggest obstacles they face. The good news? There is no need to “rip and replace” legacy phone systems – or any other technologies – to leverage software-driven RTC advantages.

While consumers have moved to “over the top” (OTT) voice and other messaging apps as fixed land line usage has declined, the enterprise community cannot instantly abandon switched access. CSPs understand this and are providing paths to transformation that allow for uninterrupted services, even as they move their large enterprise customers to virtualized, software-defined services.


Besides productivity gains and easier ways to stay connected with customers, the incentives to modernize are clear and tangible. While businesses continue to rely on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) for mission-critical applications in addition to voice – including alarm systems, auto-dialers, ATMs and Point of Sale (PoS) terminals – the cost of maintaining PSTN and IP networks is considerable from capital, operational and facilities cost perspectives.

While the PSTN may be largely depreciated with little impact on capital budget, it does impact the operational budget. A recent study of nearly 4,000 central offices revealed that, when analyzing actual power usage by type of equipment, Class 5 TDM telephone switches were “easily the largest contributor to power consumption, accounting for 43.0 percent of the total consumption.” IP softswitches, on the other hand, consume one-tenth to one-quarter of both data center space and power.

Network operators and large enterprises are well aware of the savings in space and power that IP offers, along with improved network flexibility and ease of configuration and management. They also understand that IP networks deliver:

  • An improved regulatory environment: Regulatory incentives to connect users via the PSTN have been phased out, resulting in a neutral regulatory playing field for IP.
  • Lower CO2 emissions: IP softswitches generate one-quarter of the emissions produced by TDM switches, resulting in tax breaks and helping operators achieve their environmental improvement goals.
  • Repurposed data center space: Less space for IP means much more than cost savings – it means square footage can be repurposed as data center space for critical IT revenue streams, including content hosting, outsourcing and cloud services.

With IP platforms and approaches that dramatically shorten, simplify and expand the development ecosystem, both CSPs and large enterprises can be empowered to build new IP application revenue streams as more of their revenue is generated by IT solutions rather than traditional network access.

While the transition to IP is a strategic imperative, there are ways to transform the network, applications and cloud-delivered services from traditional architectures without breaking the bank.

With a solid game plan in place, both business and technical in nature, CSPs and enterprises can:

  • Address legacy systems early in the digital transformation process and leverage existing assets;
  • Keep value from trusted longstanding relationships with customers; and
  • Build new solutions based on a flexible enterprise architecture (i.e. microservices technology).

When some of the largest CSPs in the world transform their networks, they enable large enterprises to modernize the way they engage with an increasingly digital world. By leveraging IP-based technology, Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), (i.e., voice, video and chat built into web and other business applications) and other innovations on an IP network, CSPs and the enterprises they serve can improve service to their customers while saving money with the higher margins and lower total cost of ownership software-defined RTC delivers.