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VoIP Feature Article

VoIP

August 16, 2006

New Tenors Ensure Branch Communication Will Survive

Erik Linask, Associate Editor,
Internet Telephony magazine


Quintum Technologies has announced the availability of its new enhanced Survivable version of its Tenor VoIP MultiPath Switch that will provide local support for branch offices when IP connectivity with the main voice server at headquarters is lost. Quintum’s (News - Alert) Tenors assure enterprises that even in the event of failure at the IP PBX, branch office communication can continue without delay.
 
In fact, The Survivble Tenor S requires no additional equipment (other than the VoIP endpoints) to support both IP devices and legacy analog devices at branch offices, providing connectivity to both the IP network as well as the local PSTN. The Survivable Tenor, in combination with the switching architecture, enables all the call processing and routing required to keep a VoIP system up and running, even when the main VoIP server connection has been lost.
 
The Survivable Tenor S uses a local SIP proxy to provide survivability for local SIP endpoints and intelligent call routing, which keeps any SIP-based VoIP network up and running should the connection with the main server be interrupted. Typically, in the event of server failure, IP devices would cease operation. The Survivable Tenors keep the local IP telephony phone network operational — regardless WAN connectivity — and combines that with its PSTN failover capabilities, ensuring not only that IP phones and legacy analog devices (i.e., faxes, security systems, PA systems, etc.) remain operable, but that access to the local 911 network is never severed.
 
The Survivable Tenor is a viable solution for service providers offering hosted IP PBX or IP Centrex services, which have customers that, essentially, behave like branch offices and require trunking, connectivity, and survivability. Indeed, for these customers, it may be even more important to ensure communication is maintained than for many remote offices.
 
Quintum’s Vice President of Marketing Chuck Rutledge emphasized that Quintum has service provider customers of all sizes, including a large number of NGN providers and VoIP specialists. He also noted that the company is making strides with larger and larger providers and hinted that an agreement with a major U.S. carrier could come in the near future.
 
In fact, not only does Quintum have large and small service provider customers, but it also is happy to work with enterprise and SMB customers of nearly any size. “Inevitably, at some point, it is no longer an economically viable solution,” said Rutledge. “But, our largest deployment handles about 1,000 simultaneous calls and our largest deployment in terms of number of branches the Agricultural Bank of China with some 1,500 branches.” He added that the bank may have added more since last count.
 
“As the business world migrates to a more IP-centric communication infrastructure, survivability and ease of use become more critical to network managers,” said Rutledge.  
 
Because the Tenor accommodates both IP phones and legacy devices, it is perfect for those companies engaged in a phased VoIP deployment. Perhaps the main office and a few key branches are set up with VoIP service, but the smaller branches are left with their legacy systems for the time being. Quintum allows the enterprise to integrate the existing branch office PBX with the IP PBX in the main office by dropping a Tenor in the branches. That Tenor will provide trunking to the IP network for the analog devices, essentially putting the IP and analog devices on one network without having to replace all the phones. When it comes time to convert the remaining branches to IP, it’s as simple as replacing the phones, taking out the traditional PBX, and connecting any remaining analog devices to the Tenor, which retains it place in the network. Now, the Tenor that was providing trunking and integration is now acting as the survivable branch office gateway in exactly the same place in the network architecture.
 
This is not a new concept for Quintum. “We’ve recognized the need for survivability for quite some time,” explained Rutledge. “We’ve had a relationship with Nortel (News - Alert) for quite some time, and the notion of survivability has been reaffirmed by several customers that we’ve worked with in this branch office scenario with Nortel.”
 
In fact, a few years back, Rutledge said, he explained the need for survivability of VoIP networks at an address at Internet Telephony Conference and Expo.
 
Both versions of the Tenor are built on Quintum’s MultiPath architecture, which provides the call routing between IP and PSTN, including network “hop-on” and “hop-off,” and PSTN connectivity to 911 emergency services. Both offer easy, transparent installation in existing network infrastructure and assured voice QoS to monitor IP traffic and switch calls to an alternate network in the event that jitter, packet loss, or latency will jeopardize call quality.
 
“The original Tenor was designed to provide an easy to deploy VoIP solution at the edge of the enterprise network,” said Rutledge. “The new Survivable Tenor S brings the same ease of deployment to the remote office with the added benefit of providing survivability of the remote IP telephony network, thus assuring that business processes can continue unimpeded.”
 
In addition, all Tenors offer easy remote management, even if they are deployed behind NAT firewalls. With the external Remote Management Session Server, announced earlier this year, remote Tenors can be easily diagnosed, upgraded and configured, even behind the enterprise NAT/firewall without someone being on site.
 
In addition to announcing its Survivable Tenors, Quintum also has expanded its Tenor AF product line, which now features 2, 4, 6, and 8 analog line and trunk interfaces to support up to 8 simultaneous VoIP calls.
 
“The Tenor AF Series was designed to inevitably fulfill the destiny announced here,” said Rutledge.
 
Quintum is phasing out its old low-end product (Quintum’s Tenor AS series) and replacing it with the new AF series, which will now support 2, 4, and 8 ports previously supported by the AF and AS lines, and will also add a new 6-port option. The new Tenor AF is more scalable and versatile and able to support a wider array of configurations, including Quintum’s unique MultiPath configuration, gateway (station) configurations, trunking configurations, and enterprise configurations.
 
As for why the new tenor has been designed with so many port options, Rutledge explained that, “It requires a bit of a global perspective. At 2, 4, and 8, we’ve seen preferences, and those are distinctions that people easily resonate with.” He added that, “In the U.S., that would probably work fine, but we’ve also seen preferences in places like Asia, where a sign of granularity is appreciated.”
 
The Tenor AF Series is also being offered in the new Survivable version to ensure communications stability in the event of IP PBX failure.
 
Because Quintum recognizes the importance of its partnerships, it is also working to ensure its Tenors are fully interoperable with IP telephony deployments from its partners. The first confirmation of compatibility comes in an announcement that the Tenor MultiPath Switches and Gateways are compliant with solutions from Avaya.
 
The Quintum Tenors have been compliance-tested by Avaya (News - Alert) for compatibility with Avaya Communications Manager 3.1 IP telephony software and Avaya SIP Enablement Services 3.1 to support the growing need to for highly scalable and reliable SIP networks.
 
“Quintum’s new survivable Tenor has been tested and approved as interoperable with Avaya’s industry-leading Communication Manager 3.1 IP telephony software,” said Eric Rossman, vice president, developer relations and technical alliances, Avaya. “As a result, Avaya customers now can confidently add Tenor to their existing network operations.”
 
Quintum is a member of the Avaya DeveloperConnection Program — an initiative to develop, market, and sell innovative third-party products that interoperate with Avaya technology and extend the value of a company’s investment in its network.
 
“Now that Tenor solutions have achieved Avaya certification, Avaya enterprise customers will be able to leverage the benefit of IP telephony in their branch offices with an added level of assurance that their communication infrastructure will remain viable in the event connectivity to the company network is lost,” said Rutledge.
 
Interoperability ensures that customers can confidently add advanced capabilities to their networks without having to replace their existing infrastructure, speeding deployment reducing complexity and costs.
 
In addition to its compliance with Avaya, Quintum has also completed testing with 3Com and is a member of 3Com’s Voice Solution Provider Program, assuring 3Com’s customers of full interoperability between 3Com’s VCX environment and Quintum’s Tenor.
 
“All of 3Com’s VoIP applications including telephony, messaging, and conferencing are built natively on SIP and open standards,” said Anna Dorcey, Vice President Technology Partner Program at 3Com. “3Com prides itself on an open architecture enabling rich applications and multi-vendor devices to interoperate. Customers now have the opportunity to deploy Quintum’s Tenor Switches and Gateways in multi-site networks.”
 
Quintum is also involved in testing with several others, including Broadsoft, Comdial, Inter-Tel, Vertical, and Zultys — all of which are vendors Quintum tested its traditional Tenors with. 
 
 
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.
 
 

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