The business case for next generation networksBy Ari Rabban, Vice President of Corporate Development and Marketing, VocalTec Communications and Dr. Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, Senior Vice President of Strategy, VocalTec Communications
Carriers’ challenge: dealing with decreasing margins
Next generation networks provide a solution
Migration to NGN provides immediate operational savings and efficiency improvements, significant enough to justify initial investments. For instance, VocalTec’s Essentra™ SIP-Based Softswitch Architecture provides a 14 times improvement in number of ports per rack and significant reductions in space, decreasing the number of racks for a switch from 28 in the TDM world to two (2) in the IP world. Reductions in air conditioning and power costs alone allow carriers to recoup the cost of a new softswitch in only 18 months. For purposes of comparison, the cost of most circuit switches needs to be spread over more than 10 years.
NGN enables carriers to create new revenue opportunities and to get to market quickly with attractive and innovative multimedia services that are not possible in the TDM environment. Moreover, carriers can benefit from increased IP traffic coming from other national or international long distance carriers already operating VoIP networks, residential local networks, enterprises and mobile networks, all of which are migrating to IP-based voice infrastructures. Prepaid VoIP calling cards, IP Centrex and IP PBX are good examples of voice applications that are driving new IP minutes.
VocalTec’s Essentra™ SIP-Based Softswitch Architecture
Leveraging VocalTec’s extensive VoIP experience and unique RapidFlo™ routing engine, Essentra offers high quality voice services, carrier grade reliability and maximum service flexibility. Essentra supports core networking applications such as International Long Distance (ILD) and National Long Distance (NLD) for transit services with end-to-end signaling and transparency, as well as easily integrating with a rich set of enhanced applications such as VoIP VPN, Calling Card, IP Centrex, and hosted PBX.
Unique business benefits
Using a centralized SIP Server call model lets the carrier choose which calls get specialized treatment (using either IN or SIP service triggering), while others simply get routed to their destination. Thus, carriers are able to maintain unified IN service logic both during and after migration to large-scale IP-based next generation networks. This preserves revenue from high-margin IN services, as well as enabling the deployment of new SIP-based services using SIP and/or PSTN endpoints.
Maintaining the dialling plan in a centralized location means that changes can be made “on the spot”, rather than having to update each MGC in the network separately. The result is that changes that can take up to one month to implement in a circuit-switched bilateral network can be done “dynamically” in a few seconds using Essentra. In addition, introducing services in a central location that is “network smart” simplifies network management and allows for quicker time-to-market.
NGNs must have the capability to handle existing TDM traffic, which will continue to constitute the lion’s share of the carriers’ business in the foreseeable future. In this regard, Essentra’s interworking support for over 60 international SS7 signalling variants and interworking with PRI/CAS and other local variants is crucial for global PSTN connectivity.
Having SIP at the core enables carriers to enjoy the benefits of an open, distributed architecture and flexible creation of innovative SIP-based services. By strictly adhering to open SIP standards and using SIP Servlets, carriers gain maximum flexibility in the creation and quick deployment of new enhanced services. No longer “locked” to a particular switch manufacturer, carriers can develop their own customized services for specific target markets.
VocalTec’s RapidFlo™ step-based routing engine ensures maximum flexibility and rapid implementation of changes in routing logic. Call routing can be based on a wide variety of user-defined parameters, such as E.164 prefix, time and date, load balancing, resource availability, locality-based, percentage-based and least cost routing. Intelligent and flexible routing increases throughput and quality, while lowering operational costs and maximizing use of network resources.
Migration approach based on extensive carrier experience
VocalTec’s Essentra softswitch gives carriers a migration path to NGN VoIP through measured, low-risk transition steps that eliminate service disruptions and downtime, and ensure continuity of customer services. Moreover, Essentra’s open, standards-based architecture allows it to integrate with complementary products from VocalTec’s best-in-class vendor partners.
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