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November 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 11
Editorial Sponsorship Series

Making the Switch to Wholesale VoIP

By: Erik Linask (News - Alert)

The continued growth of the VoIP industry, both in business and residential markets, has created a natural demand for increased origination and termination, particularly for international calls, but regionally within countries as well, where VoIP providers need to provide access to markets beyond the reach of their own networks.

This has opened up an opportunity for service providers to become wholesale VoIP providers, because it enables them to increase their network usage, lowering unused bandwidth, and grows their customer base at the same time, creating a new revenue stream. Becoming a wholesale provider also helps build relationships with other providers as well as end users, which have the potential to turn into additional revenue opportunities in the future.

But, while the decision to sell wholesale VoIP may seem an easy one, as with any service, it must be done well, which is where many wholesale providers have faltered of late. The VoIP industry is as competitive as it has ever been, and the migration to next generation technologies is well underway, which will serve providers well. But, they must make the right investment decisions when deploying the equipment that forms the core of their operations.

The Canada-based MERA Systems (News - Alert) has proven to be one of the pioneers of the VoIP industry, a carrier switch vendor with reliable products on the market. In 2002 the company introduced the softswitch that was so urgent for carriers needs – its MVTS I. Then, in 2006, understanding the needs and concerns of the highly competitive telecom market, MERA Systems launched its flagship MVTS II, a unique combination of switching, billing and intelligent routing.

Now VoIP has become a reality for facilities-based carriers as well as for mobile network operators. The large volumes of traffic processed by VoIP carriers bring them to look for high-performance VoIP equipment with unlimited scalability and a high level of integration into the existing network infrastructure. That is why, in 2008, the company introduced MVTS Pro, which was designed specifically to meet the requirements of current market players.




When it comes to deployment flexibility, the MERA product stands out among its key competitors in the Class 4 switch market because it is a softswitch. The debate continues over whether a hard- or softswitch is preferable, but the undeniable general trend in communications is toward software-based products that do not require specific hardware implementations. The MVTS Pro can be installed on an existing server, cutting capital expenses and allowing customers to choose whichever servers they prefer. A software platform can easily be migrated to a new location or a new, upgraded server with greater capacity and processing power.

Released in April 2008, MVTS Pro is a combination of softswitch and session border controller. It is designed to handle a 1,000 cps per traffic entry point for carriers that process five to 10 million minutes monthly, with careful consideration given to reporting and analysis tools for network control and QoS troubleshooting, while providing all the functions wholesale carriers need to manage their VoIP networks: collection, switching, transcoding, processing signaling and media, border control, billing, etc.

“VoIP market demands have significantly changed over the past several years, requiring enhanced softswitches with more complicated technological features. MVTS Pro delivers one of the best system capacity, modular architecture and various redundancy schemes currently available on the market,” says Konstantin Nikashov, CEO of MERA Systems. “For the past year, MVTS Pro has become the product that meets the up-to-date requirements of VoIP carriers allowing them to operate to the utmost of their capability.”

MVTS’ key differentiating features include:

  • up to 1,000 cps per traffic entry point;
  • multi-level redundancy schemes, including geographic redundancy;
  • a geographically distributed architecture, where a single switch can replace many legacy switches;
  • flexible routing, including quality-based routing and creation of customer-specific routing formulas;
  • a high level of integration into existing network infrastructures;
  • ease of maintenance and configuration;
  • disconnect code mapping;
  • advanced debugging tools; and
  • SIP/H.323, SIGTRAN/MGCP support and codec conversion.

The key to the MVTS Pro is its flexibility. It functions as a SIP registrar, H.323 gatekeeper, H.323 RAS endpoint, RADIUS NAS port, or SIP/H.323 signaling proxy. It has been developed to provide a single point of entry into the carrier network, allowing a choice of proxy mode for individual gateways and destinations, increasing throughput and minimizing bandwidth management requirements.

Its modular architecture, consisting of two distinct functional layers, Traffic Switch and Traffic Manager, allows for a variety of redundancy arrangements and ensures fault tolerance via dynamic re-distribution of traffic loads over system components. Traffic Switch handles H.323 and SIP VoIP traffic, performs kernel level protocol translation, functions as an SBC and the source of call statistics. Traffic Manager is the system’s intelligence that provides a means for authentication of VoIP endpoints, traffic balancing policies implementation, call analysis, number validation and transformation, quality of service control, and generation of all relevant session details.

MVTS Pro further supports carriers’ quality control efforts by providing tools for effective network management and control and QoS assurance. Carriers have the ability to view call statistics sorted by any number of criteria: originator, dial peers, terminating equipment, gateways, or destinations. They can then identify instances of performance degradation and isolate faults, allowing them to fulfill service level agreement obligations. System monitoring can be done on-site or remotely.

While it is incumbent upon each carrier to perform the requisite research, the MERA platform provides a set of features that combine to create a reliable, feature rich switching platform to support a sustainable wholesale operation. The economic crisis, which is now said to be winding down, created an uncertainty in the market that, for many in the VoIP industry provided a growth opportunity – after all, people don’t stop communicating; they just look for more effective ways of doing it. Likewise, carriers must look for the most effective ways of providing those communications services, recession or boom. IT

Time to Upgrade Your Business

By Konstantin Nikashov, CEO, MERA Systems

The 2008-2009 global economic slowdown quickly seized on market flaws, but it gave the strongest impetus to all market players. They awoke to the fact that it’s not time to just talk about the future – it’s high time to shape it. If operators want to stay afloat, they need to revitalize their networks with the industry’s recent technological trends.

The incredible success of the VoIP model can be explained by its cost-effectiveness due to the prevalence of broadband connections. Despite borrowing and investment constraints forced upon operators, this year looks to be shaping up nicely for the VoIP market, and carriers are still looking for new ways to derive benefits from VoIP technology.

MERA Systems has always been in the vanguard of the VoIP industry movement, taking the lead in offering up-to-date products for VoIP carriers. The first product the company offered to the market, named MVTS, has brought MERA Systems international recognition for stability and excellent technical support. As an extremely reliable solution with a wide variety of features, MVTS I became MERA’s flagship switching product and has been on the market for over five years.

But from the perspective of the past several years, the technology has dramatically improved over earlier generations. The main reason for this was higher quality service and new capabilities of VoIP equipment compared to what customers experienced with the previous generation of VoIP. MERA Systems accepted the market challenge, introducing MVTS Pro, a more functional and scalable product, that inherited the best features of a well-known MVTS I – business-critical reliability and easy system management as well as an ability to provide smooth equipment and networks interconnection – but was enhanced with a distributed architecture and unmatched productivity.

The market forced the company to announce the End of Life for MVTS I, and following the overwhelming success of MVTS Pro, we have launched MVTS I to MVTS Pro Transition Program for our existing customers with an aim to ensure a straightforward transition from MVTS I to MVTS Pro.

In pursuit for making the transition more attractive, MERA Systems offers special prices for those customers who join the program before Dec. 31, 2009. We encourage our existing clients as well as new customers to visit www.mera-systems.com or address MERA sales representative at sales@mera-systems.com

» Internet Telephony Magazine Table of Contents



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