New technologies often create one problem while solving another. The deployment of broadband connectivity, which has brought most of us faster access to web pages and emails than we could have dreamed of five years ago, is now considered a utility service. Most of us would find it very difficult to give up our DSL or cable modem and go back to a dialup Internet connection. But as reported in an October 21, 2005 Wall Street Journal article, new Internet applications, such as phone calls and video file exchanges threaten to consume much of that available bandwidth that we have just recently come to depend upon. It would seem that some subscribers have become so enamored of this low cost bandwidth that they want to hog it all for themselves.
The WSJ mentioned one broadband subscriber that consumed 1.5 terabytes of bandwidth in just one monththe equivalent of 1,500 movies! Imagine what would happen to your available bandwidth if you wanted to check your email, and that subscriber was next doorand on the same broadband system! Verso Technologies has developed a content filtering system that can screen voice, instant messaging, and peer-to-peer traffic from a service provider's network, and solve the "bandwidth hog" problem. This is but one example of the innovative softswitch technologies that have come from the Atlanta, Georgia-based firm.
Verso's product focus is on softswitch platforms, IP applications, converged voice and data networks, GSM cellular networks, and satellite networks that can give their customers a competitive edge, increase their efficiency, and/or lower their transmission costs. Verso's Clarent line includes four softswitch and management platform products for both enterprise and carrier markets.
The Clarent BHG 2500 Universal Gateway is an IP telephony gateway that combines a media gateway, signaling services, and media server into a single high-density platform. The chassis can house up to four interface blades, and provides support for H.323, SIP, T-1 telephony, Signaling System 7 (SS7), and media services (voice mail and unified messaging) interfaces. Since most of the functionality is provided via the blades, various combinations of interfaces can be deployed as required by the particular network application.
The Clarent Class 5 Call Manager (C5CM) provides the central call control and service management engine. The C5CM provides seamless interconnection for SIP, H.323 and MGCP-based edge devices, including customer-premises equipment and IP endpoints. This product is designed to provide voice over broadband services to both enterprise and residential markets, or a number of broadband media, including cable, xDSL, wireless, fiber optics, satellite, microwave and power line networks. The C5CM provides a number of typical Class 5 Central Office features, including call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, speed dialing, and many others. It is also equipped with least cost routing, and the ability to rate and account for the calls based upon source, destination, or supplementary information.
The Clarent Class 4 Call Manager (C4CM) is a flexible, carrier-class alternative to the traditional Class 4 tandem circuit switch. It is provided on a Unix-based platform, with redundancy and failover capabilities. It includes support for a number of signaling protocols, including SS7 and ISDN, and is also provisioned with MGCP for control of media gateways.
The Clarent Element Management System (CEMS) is the centralized application for provisioning, configuring, and monitoring Clarent network elements, such as the Universal Gateway, C5CM, and C4CM. CEMS is based on Java and web technology, and can be therefore accessed from any standard web browser. It allows the configuration and management of subscriber, call routing, call rating, and call accounting services. It is also compatible with Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), a universally accepted network management protocol.
Further details on the Verso architecture and products can be found at www.verso.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' softswitch architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2005 DigiNet ® Corporation, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet ® Corporation, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.