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This tutorial will introduce the notion of network convergence and next generation networks by looking at the evolution of telecommunication services and Internet services and the related infrastructure. Special emphasis will be placed on describing the principles and architecture of the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS), a common service platform standard defined by IETF, 3GPP, ETSI TISPAN, and Cablelab, which is based on internet protocols and intelligent network principles. Besides the IMS core operation also the IMS application provisioning principles will be illustrated. It will be shown that IMS is well designed to support seamless presence and community oriented multimedia information and communication services across various networks. However, a critical comparison of IMS with classic VoIP infrastructures, P2P service platforms and the emerging Web 2.0 will be performed. The tutorial ends with an introduction of the Fraunhofer FOKUS Open IMS Playground - a globally known pioneering IMS testbed, and the corresponding open source IMS core system, which has been released in 2006 and since then provides the foundation for many academic and industry NGN/IMS testbeds around the globe.