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Fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) combines the capabilities of landline communication systems with cellular and other mobile communications networks. Both fixed and wireless networks can be interconnected and the services of one accessed by another. Implemented in 2004 with the formation of a global alliance, the concept is designed for subscribers to communicate and access data and video from anywhere, no matter what type of device is used. Under fixed mobile convergence, cellular telephone services can coexist with the services of fixed networks.
Wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) connections and software are required for a device to take advantage of fixed-mobile convergence. One of the reasons behind the concept is to encourage people to use both landline and cellular telephones, instead of abandoning their desk phones. The services that result allow fixed phones, mobile devices, and Internet access services to be accessible from one unit. Both homes and businesses may benefit from this arrangement. Industry standardization has also enabled Wi-Fi and cellular technologies to be combined.
Important factors in fixed-mobile convergence solutions include the ability to use a system regardless of a subscriber’s location. How each session between fixed and mobile systems is managed is also important. Quality of service, security against threats such as identity theft, and the individual components of each service are significant as well. The technologies for landline communications and mobile systems were developed under different circumstances and are therefore very different from one another.
With fixed-mobile convergence, calls can be redirected from a cellular phone to a landline, or the other way around, while a call is in progress. Also, cellular and desk phones can have the same number with FMC, and voicemail can be accessed from both as well. Some cellular phones also include Wi-Fi. Devices that make use of fixed-mobile convergence include a mobile computer that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular services, and handsets that can use an Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) to place calls. In addition to home and office use, the technology is beneficial for travelers because telecommunication services can be accessed from anywhere.
Modern Internet Protocol (IP) technologies also help to implement fixed-mobile convergence systems. The address space with IP version 4 (IPv4) is generally insufficient for such flexible services. By using IP version 6 (IPv6), large companies operating mobile networks are likely able to support the millions of more independent addresses. This typically warrants an entirely different structure between communications and broadcast services than previously used.