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Rich Tehrani

[April 28, 2004]

Walk, Don�t Sprint Into VoIP



Editor's Note: This is the tenth in a series of short articles from Rich Tehrani based on recent visits with a number of VoIP vendors. The previous article is available here.

I had an interesting meeting with Tekelec (CEO Spotlight, News) recently that differs from many of the other meetings I have with industry vendors. Virtually every other vendor sells only VoIP products, so they push IP telephony exclusively. Tekelec tells me, on the other hand, that some of their customers may not be ready for VoIP quite yet. Other reasons to need a new switch besides immediate VoIP migration would be replacement due to CALEA compliance or equipment obsolescence.

The point being that you can also consider implementing a next-gen switch and then moving over to VoIP later. This assumes, of course, that your switch is VoIP capable. I always thought of a next-gen switch as a VoIP switch. My natural question, of course, was, �What do you consider a next-gen switch?� The Tekelec answer is a switch that separates line interface from call control as well as an open interface with application servers and open protocols -- one that is generally open. OK, good enough for me.

Once you have a next-gen switch, you can go right to VoDSL if you choose. The question now is how do you qualify your data network for voice? Tekelec has graciously offered to help you in this endeavor by enrolling you in their certification program where they will test, among other things, latency, round-trip packet times and packet loss levels.

Having helped carriers with these rollouts, they have noticed that providers can sometimes get carried away by deploying too much technology at once. In other words, switching to VoIP and high levels of compression off the bat may cause quality problems that are difficult to pinpoint. A better approach is to make sure you are up and running with IP telephony and then stagger compression.

Other benefits of their experience? Most service providers are requesting Tekelec technicians to come in and help out. The softswitch on a CD concept isn�t cutting it in today�s service provider world.

A hot area of growth they are involved in is wireless VoIP, where they recently announced the WX-8000, a VoIP-enabling wireless media gateway. International carriers, in fact, are looking for combined class 4/5 switch and wireless solution as it is becoming common for these providers to receive multiple licenses simultaneously. Tekelec has always been a strong engineering company on the leading edge focusing on larger service providers. Their recent acquisition of Taqua (who just signed their 100th customer) rounds out their portfolio, allowing them to help service providers of various sizes. If you are a service provider of any size looking to add VoIP to your mix, give Tekelec a call.

Please talk back to me in our forums

Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments. Participate in our forums.

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