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The increasing demands of new services and applications are pushing for drastic changes in the design of access networks for residential and SOHO users. Future access networks will provide full service integration, resource sharing at the packet level, and QoS support. It is expected that using IP as the base technology, the ideal plug-and-play scenario, where the management actions of the access network operator are kept to a minimum, will be achieved easily. In this article we start by giving a historical perspective of the evolution of access networks. We then describe an IP-based architecture targeted for integrated support of broadband multimedia services, designed to be low-cost and easily manageable. We illustrate the different phases of a multimedia Internet access session, when using SIP for session initiation, COPS and DIAMETER for QoS policy management, and AAA and RSVP for resource reservation.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003