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Now, when the first commercial 3G services based on Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) specifications have been launched around the world, is the right time to start considering the evolution potential of 3G systems. It is assumed that the majority of the traffic in future mobile networks will be generated by content consumption related services, which are realized with IP technologies. Thus, it is necessary to optimize the cellular networks for carrying IP traffic as efficiently as possible. We describe an evolution scenario for the 3G network architecture specified by 3GPP. The IP delivery part of the network architecture is first optimized within each subsystem, while maintaining interoperability with the legacy network. Later, the network is streamlined as a whole to provide the most efficient solution. We show how graceful evolution of the 3GPP system can benefit from possibilities of the new technologies, especially IP-based transport, while maintaining compatibility with existing user equipment and capitalizing on existing infrastructure investments.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2003