Start-up adds voice/data access to softswitches

By Jim Duffy, Network World |  Networking

SAN JOSE -- Softswitch start-up ipVerse this week will add an application to its portfolio designed to let corporations outsource packet-based voice/data operations to service providers.

The application is called integrated voice/data access for businesses, and it resides on ipVerse's ControlSwitch softswitch products in service provider networks. Softswitches handle the signaling and control function on behalf of packet-based voice/data switches to make it easier for users to migrate from circuit-based Class 4 and Class 5 voice switches and add new revenue-generating services.

Controlling the signaling

The integrated voice/data access application lets ControlSwitches in central offices control the signaling among packet/circuit gateways in the service provider network and among integrated access devices (IAD) on customer premises.

The ControlSwitches can instruct the gateways and IADs on call setup and tear down, and whether to route calls to a packet network or to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Using gateway control and signaling protocols such as SS7, Q.931, MGCP, H.323 and SIP, a ControlSwitch can instruct corporate IADs to route calls internally - keeping them "on-net" -- or externally to the PSTN via the gateways -- "off-net." Routing calls on-net means the calls stay in the IP/ATM packet/cell network used for a company's integrated voice/data network, saving the firm access and long-distance telecom charges.

Routing calls off-net means they are leaving the corporate network for the PSTN, and are subject to access and long-distance charges.

The new application lets service providers offer services that have had to be constructed and provisioned by a company's internal telecom staff, such as an H.323 integrated voice/data network for internal and external packet voice services. So in addition to saving money on telecom charges, the new application can also save a company the cost of procuring, operating and maintaining a private H.323 network, ipVerse says.

Necessary component

Analysts say the integrated access service application is a necessary component in ipVerse's softswitch offering. They say it is important for smaller companies such as ipVerse to add service flexibility to their platforms to compete with heavyweights Lucent, Nortel Networks and Cisco, as well as other aggressive start-ups.

"IpVerse is the most experienced of the young guns that have entered the softswitch fray," writes Stephen Byars, an analyst at Current Analysis in Sterling, Va., in a recent report on the company. "We must note that first it will be forced to compete with the corporate resources and marketing clout of Nortel and Lucent.

"In addition, ipVerse must compete with the experience and larger service/support resources of voice-signaling heavyweights such as Telcordia and Tekelec," he adds.

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