Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
Telecommunication networks are converging towards an all-IP paradigm that integrates a broad set of value-added services. In this context, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is being developed by the 3GPP as a key element to achieve the convergence. Additionally, multiparty services are nowadays acquiring an increasing interest from the industry. In this respect, network multicast provides a cost-effective solution to deliver these services to the user. Nevertheless, although network multicast is being considered as an enabler for one-to-many services (e.g. IPTV) in the IMS, the specifications for many-to-many services still follow a unicast approach (e.g. push-to-talk and conference). This paper describes extensions to the session control procedures in the IMS, to support multicast based multi-user services. The idea was first described in a prior work, but this paper presents enhancements to provide a comprehensive solution and to improve the grade of service (GOS) perceived by the users. In addition, the GOS achieved by the proposal is evaluated. First, the bandwidth utilization for the multicast-based multi-user services is analyzed and compared against the unicast scenario. Next, the GOS is evaluated using an analytical approach, by obtaining the mathematical expressions for the session and user plane setup delays. Finally, the GOS is also evaluated using an experimental approach, and the results are compared with values recommended by the ITU-T.