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November 1998

This month's winners:
Fusion IP Telephony Development Platform
PacketStar Internet Telephony System (ITS)
NetBlazer 8500

Fusion IP Telephony Development Platform
Natural MicroSystems
100 Crossing Blvd.
Framingham, MA 01702
Web site: www.nmss.com

Natural MicroSystems' Fusion is a scalable, high-performance PC development platform for standards-based Internet telephony gateways. Fusion is compliant with both the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) H.323 specification and the International Multimedia Telecommunications Consortium's (IMTC) Voice over IP (VoIP) Implementation Agreement. Fusion is designed to enable developers to create gateways with configurations from 8 ports to multiple T1s/E1s in only two ISA slots with no increase in latency or decrease in performance.

Fusion uses an intelligent hardware and software architecture that integrates PSTN interfaces, telephony protocols, speech encoding and, optionally, LAN interfaces and data protocols into a single package.

Fusion consists of three hardware components that occupy two ISA slots in a standard PC: an Alliance Generation T1 or E1 (AG-T1 or AG-E1), an AG Realtime daughterboard, and a TX Series board. The AG-T1/E1 provides 24/30 ports of processing for voice and fax plus a full T1/E1 digital PSTN network interface (including PRI ISDN). An 8-port AG-8 can be used in lower-capacity configurations.

The AG Realtime/2 daughterboard, which attaches to the AG-T1/E1, provides realtime vocoding for ports on the baseboard. Using the MVIP bus, the combination of the AG-T1/E1 and AG-Realtime/2 pass traffic to Fusion's third hardware component, a TX2000 or TX3000 board. The TX Series boards support integration of encoded speech with an Ethernet LAN, which can be an Internet or intranet connection. The TX Series board converts encoded speech to IP packets and supports IP routing and data protocols. The TX boards are available with a wide variety of common data communications interfaces, including 10Base-T and 10Base2 Ethernet.

These three boards, applied within two ISA bus slots, support a full T1 of IP telephony capability without taxing the host CPU. Because the processing takes place on the boards, multiple Fusion board-sets can be installed in a single chassis, supporting up to four T- or E-spans of IP telephony with no degradation of performance and no increase in latency.

The Fusion software development kit consists of multiple APIs:

  • Telephony API (CT Access) for gateway call control and voice processing.
  • Switch Service API (CT Access) for interconnection of telephony and IP network resources.
  • Vocoder API (CT Access) for control of speech encoding.
  • Packet Network API (TX Series Libraries) for control of IP network protocols.
  • H.323 API for IP telephony call control.

For more information, visit Natural MicroSystems' Web site at www.nmss.com.

PacketStar Internet Telephony System (ITS)
Lucent Technologies, Inc.
600 Mountain Avenue
Murray Hill NJ 07974
Ph.: 888-4-LUCENT
Web site: www.lucent.com

Lucent's PacketStar Internet Telephony System (ITS) is designed to enable service providers such as carriers and telcos to provide end users with high-quality voice and fax transmission over data networks, including the Internet. One immediate benefit for global or multisite corporation end users is the reduction of long-distance expenses.

The PacketStar ITS, when combined with other components, including the ITS Service Access Manager (ITS-SAM) and the ITS Administrative Manager (ITS-AM), provide service providers the tools they need to manage and scale their networks to support multiple gateways and servers - wherever they may be found on the global network. As for scalability, the PacketStar ITS supports up to 24 DS0s in a T1 (30 DS0s in E1) in desktop or rack mounted configurations. Multiple units can be rack mounted to provide more flexibility and scalability in a single location.

H.323 gatekeeper functionality is performed by the ITS-SAM, providing authentication for users wishing to place calls across the system and administration of multiple gateways across multiple zones and call setup. The gatekeeper functionality can be performed within a gateway or else in a standalone platform server. The ITS-AM unit provides Web-based network management. Lucent uses Bell Labs' elemedia voice compression coders in order to offer their customers near toll quality voice while reducing bandwidth constraints.

Lucent Technologies has also recently announced the PacketStar IP Services Platform, which is designed to connect people using regular phones to people using any Internet phone, as well as enabling traditional and emerging network operators to provide a range of enhanced voice and data services. A key focus of the new software is the fact that it enables interoperability between gateways of different manufacturers.

To that end, Lucent Technologies and VocalTec Communications recently demonstrated true interoperability between the PacketStar ITS and VocalTec's Ensemble Architecture over ITXC's WWeXchange Service.

For more information, visit Lucent's Web site at www.lucent.com.

NetBlazer 8500
Digi International
1101 Bren Road East
Minnetonka, MN 55343
Ph.: 612-912-3444
Web site: www.dgii.com

The NetBlazer 8500 from Digi International combines the benefits of a remote access server and an Internet telephony gateway, thus bridging together the worlds of datacom and telecom. The NetBlazer 8500 converts voice signals to TCP/IP packets and routes them over IP networks, including the Internet. Standards based, the 8500 supports the following protocols: H.323, H.225, Q.931, H.245, G.711, G.723.1, G.729A, and G.165. This broad support of standards enables phone-to-phone and PC-to-phone Internet telephony. This also allows the NetBlazer to potentially interoperate with any other standards-based gateways that may be available. Integration into the network backbone and connection to authentication, accounting, and aplpication servers is facilitated by adherence to the often-used RADIUS standard.

Another interesting feature of the NetBlazer 8500 is intelligent least cost routing. Depending on the number dialed, the gateway decides which is the least expensive route, and forwards the telephone call over the IP network to the local exchange of the person dialed. As a result, charges are only incurred for the actual switching onto and off of the public network. Another cost related issue addressed by Digi's offering is that of reducing physical plant costs associated with running two sets of wires to the desktop. By integrating the voice and data networks within an enterprise, huge savings are made possible by eliminating duplicated equipment, links, and staff, as well as enabling savings through a more efficient, productive work environment, allowing users to share applications that utilize the converged voice and data connection.

The NetBlazer can scale from 30 to 120 ports, all the while supporting both dial-in from remote clients via ISDN, modem, and GSM as well as voice calls using traditional analog phones. If necessary, several NetBlazers can be cascaded together to increase a POP's capacity.

In July, Digi completed its acquisition of ITK International, thus bringing the NetBlazer 8500 into Digi's product family. The purchase of ITK International, in its own right a leader in the small to mid-size remote access and Internet telephony markets, enabled Digi to offer voice and fax over IP services to its ever expanding base of customers.

For more information, visit Digi International's Web site at www.dgii.com.


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