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January 2000

Carrier Class Gateways

We got a number of calls from vendors as we were putting together this product roundup, asking exactly how we would define "carrier class gateways." A tough question to answer, as there are so many good products on the market that perform the function of switching voice, fax, and data to IP packets, and back again. And not only are there plenty of available gateways — not all vendors call them that. In putting together this roundup, we looked at products known as voice/data switches, IP-PBXs, servers, switching platforms, software switching packages, and even routers capable of switching voice.

It was difficult to impose restrictions on port capacity or interface connectivity in choosing these products, as each offers unique features and is generally scalable to accommodate most levels of "carrier-grade" switching capacity. And it's equally difficult to recommend one product over another for next-gen service providers — each gateway takes into account the existing network infrastructure, and can interface with it in the most efficient manner possible. Take a close look at the offerings available, but be sure to act soon if you want a piece of the gateway pie. The market has undergone vast changes since our last gateway roundup in the June 1999 issue, and by the time we feature another roundup, there may just be one classification for this breed of products ? along with less variety and higher pricing plans.
— Laura Guevin

CPX1200 Series
Motorola Computer Group
2900 South Diablo Way
Tempe, AZ 85282

  • Offers central-office standards compliance in a 3U single-shelf format, providing greater flexibility for OEMs developing systems with distributed architectures like high-availability clustering.
  • The series comes with four slots with a drive-bay carrier for support of combinations of CD-ROM, floppy, EIDE and SCSI hard drives, and tape backup units. Pentium II and PowerPC CPU cards and H.110 backplanes are optional.
  • The series also features redundant cooling, an alarm card with temperature, voltage regulation, and fan rotation monitoring, and a high reliability, 150-Watt , auto-ranging AC or DC power supply. It also meets NEBS/ETSI compliance.

Terabit Switch Router (TSR)
Avici Systems, Inc.
10 Billerica Ave.
North Billerica, MA 01862-1256

  • The TSR from Avici Systems can handle up to 560 OC-192/STM-64 ports, and offers an aggregate switched bandwidth of 5.6 Tbps. It can provide direct connectivity to dense wave division multiplexers, reducing the amount of equipment carriers need to deploy to provide high-speed transport networks.
  • Features include the Velociti high-performance switching fabric, MPLS-based coupled layer trunking, and a distributed routing architecture. The TSR also offers packet over wavelengths (POW) optical integration, class of service support, and remote management and configuration.
  • The TSR Chassis supports 40 line cards per bay, as well as redundant power, cooling, and switch fabric elements. As many as 14 bays can be interconnected to create a single switch.

TransMedia Communications, Inc. (now part of Cisco Systems)
5729 Fontanoso Way
San Jose, CA 95138

  • Offering high-density termination and switching of voice, video, and data traffic, the MMS-1600 from TransMedia supports these media types through the company?s MultiPath technology.
  • The switch will terminate voice traffic for transport over packet, circuit-switched, or wide-area networks, and integrates these capabilities into the system architecture. A high-speed, multi-bus design offers switching points between TDM, cell, or packet services.
  • Other features include high reliability through hot swappable modules and a redundant architecture. DSP and RISC-based processing offer five Gbps to 10 Gbps of switching capacity, and the switch can be scaled to more than 100,000 ports.

Sonus Networks, Inc.
5 Carlisle Road
Westford, MA 01886

  • Sonus' GSX9000 Open Services Switch offers complete redundancy of all system elements, toll-quality voice, and interoperability with the SS7 network. It can scale to accommodate hundreds of thousands of calls, and is NEBS compliant.
  • The switch features voice coding, G.168 echo cancellation, and low switch delays. A single switch shelf can support more than 8,000 simultaneous IP calls, and a fully configured switch enables hundreds of thousands of calls.
  • It also offers high density, and a few shelves can support the same number of calls as a room full of circuit-switching equipment. The GSX9000 also reduces required floor space, for savings in cooling and power costs. The switch offers interoperability with H.323 terminals and gateways as well.

Unisphere Solutions, Inc.
200 Wheeler Road
Burlington, MA 01803

  • Unisphere's SMX-2100 can transparently connect any service from any network, without regard for disparate signaling, and access and network technologies. The platform offers service mediation capabilities for protecting investments in legacy networks, while providing the services of converged voice and data networks.
  • The PSTN arm of the platform offers a distributed processing model for unbundling core voice switching from Class 5 switches. Traffic may be offloaded from digital switches directly to the Internet, and service providers can manage peering agreements and bundle voice and data services for enterprise customers.
  • The SMX-2100 uses management mediation for simple creation and delivery of services, and utilizes a call processing engine module to offer signaling mediation. It also uses a Digital eXchange Module for transport mediation, and a shelf controller engine module to help implement management mediation.

Integrated Convergence Switch (ICS)
Convergent Networks
900 Chelmsford St.
Tower Three, 11th Floor
Lowell, MA 01851

  • Convergent's ICS second-generation convergence switch offers interworking and adaptation among next generation packet-based and traditional TDM networks for switching multi-service voice and data traffic.
  • The switch works with the company?s Service Management Gateway (SMG) to offer scalable call management and support for multi-protocol signaling like SS7. It features hot standby and non-disruptive software upgrades, as well as interoperability with existing TDM and packet infrastructures.
  • Together, the solution offers a reduction of switching costs in a high-density, small footprint. The switch offers more than 100,000 DS-0 ports in a 24" x 24" space, as well as the signaling scalability for handling more than 10 million busy hour call attempts (BHCA).

PathStar Access Server
Lucent Technologies
600 Mountain Ave.
Murray Hill, NJ 07974

  • Lucent’s PathStar Access Server offers a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) gateway, remote access server, digital loop carrier, telephony system, remote access server, DSL access multiplexer, and edge router in one integrated system.
  • The server supports IP Centrex as well as Internet and IP-VPN access through modems, xDSL, cable modems, and IP switch/routers. It offers remote access outsourcing and managed integrated service and access, as well as redundant equipment and NEBS compliance.
  • The switch enables collocation in ILEC central offices, and supports scalability from 512 to 7,000 lines per system. Other features include support of H.323, and an advanced call processor for support of Class 5 features and third-party application development.

Clarent Gateway 400
Clarent Corporation
700 Chesapeake Dr.
Redwood City, CA 94063

  • The Clarent Gateway 400 uses a combination of DSP and host-based voice processing, as well as the G.168 echo cancellation codec to ensure quality voice switching for carrier networks. All ports can handle voice, fax, and data traffic, and the gateway is compatible with the H.323 protocol as well as the G.711, G.729a, and G.723.1 compression codecs.
  • Scalability from 24 to 120 ports is available, and gateways may be stacked to achieve the proper density. Up to four T1/E1 interfaces, as well as SS7, PRI-ISDN, and PBX connections are enabled, as well as Q.931 signaling and media streaming. PSTN fallback is also allowed if IP networks fail.
  • Other features include standards-based network management, a service editor and IVR toolbox for customization of the voice interface, and a 10/100Base-T network interface card. The gateway comes with an Intel Pentium II 450 MHz processor with 256 MB of RAM. 6000
Cirilium Corp.
2851 West Kathleen Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85023

  • The 6000 server up a high density of voice/fax channels — 960 on a single network node. The gateway uses DSP technology to ensure high voice quality and reduce latency, and reliability is assured through least cost routing to a circuit-switched network if the data network becomes congested.
  • Current system billing and debit/calling card applications may also be leveraged using the 6000, which generates a range of call detail records that can be integrated with several billing systems. The system also features a switch/gateway/IVR function for access control and billing, and may be connected to external NT server or UNIX-based debit card systems.
  • The gateway can handle up to 32 T1/E1 connections, and features integrated cell/packet/-circuit switching, as well as CSU/-DSU. Other features include built-in congestion control and dynamic rate change bandwidth adjustment, redundant TDM and packet buses with dual load sharing, and hot-swappable modules

CVX 1800 Access Switch
Nortel Networks
4006 East Chapel Hill-Nelson Hwy.
P.O. Box 13010
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

  • Acting as the Internet telephony gateway for Nortel’s IP Connect solution, the CVX 1800 is a multiservice platform offering conversion of voice and fax traffic to IP packets and vice versa, as well as support for modem and ISDN dialup calls.
  • By supporting service level agreements and policy management, the switch is able to provide consistent service despite increases in traffic. It offers wire-speed switching, speech compression, echo cancellation, support for a variety of codecs, and silence suppression.
  • Each shelf of the CVX 1800 supports 1,344 lines, and the seven-foot rack can accommodate up to four shelves, for 5,376 lines. Other carrier-class features include robust DSPs, a redundant architecture, hot-swappable components, and NEBS compliance. The switch also offers network and service management, and supports T1, E1, and T3 interfaces, as well as broad standards complianc.

Nuvo 500
Mockingbird Networks
10050 Bubb Rd.
Cupertino, CA 95014

  • The Nuvo 500 Hybrid IP Telephony Switch from Mockingbird starts off at 48 ports, and is scalable up to 10,000. It offers a Sun UltraSPARC IIi processor running Solaris, as well as a certifiable SS7 call control server for interfacing directly with the PSTN.
  • The media gateway can scale to 576 ports in one 19" 4U system, and a fully configured system can scale up to 20 media gateways. The switch also provides ISUP to ISUP signaling so IP networks may act as the long-distance gateway for PSTN voice and fax circuits. H.323 to ISUP signaling offers call control between PSTN circuits and H.323 clients.
  • Other features include T1/E1 trunking interfaces, a 10/100Base-T Ethernet connection, and G.711, G.723.1, and G.729a voice compression.

Salix Technologies, Inc.
904 Wind River Lane, Ste. 101
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

  • Salix’s ETX5000 service creation and delivery platform sits in the network layer and offers toll-quality voice over TDM, IP, and ATM networks, as well as data, fax, and virtual private network (VPN) services.
  • Features include the ability to deploy class 4 tandem switching over circuit and packet networks, and the ability to offer class 5 services to link IP and ATM core networks to local exchange carriers. The ETX5000 can also offload data services from existing PSTN switches, add enhanced services, and combine features with maximum flexibility to match customer demand.
  • The switch offers dense-scale processing (DSP) of up to 768 calls per DSP module, as well as hot-swappable equipment, NEBS-3 compliance, and SNMP and CLI management features.

Siemens Information and Communication Networks
900 Broken Sound Pkwy. NW
Boca Raton, FL 33487

  • Siemens’ SURPASS voice/data switching architecture offers interworking capability between legacy intelligent network systems, PSTN/ISDN networks, and packet-based networks using H.323 and the session initiation protocol (SIP). It is made up of the hiQ signaling controller and call feature server, the hiG media gateways, and the hiA access platform.
  • SURPASS offers scalability from one to 2,048 processor units, and can handle up to 120,000 parallel voice connections. A NetManager is also included for performing operating, maintenance, and administration functions.
  • Other features include support of the Intelligent Network Application Protocol (INAP), the Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP), and integrated radius and gatekeeper functionality. The platform is hot swappable and redundant, and features distributed processing of signaling and call features handling.

Nokia IP Telephony Gateway
555 Legget Dr., Ste. 400
Kanata, ON K2K 2X3 Canada

  • Nokia’s IP Telephony Gateway offers toll-quality voice through compression techniques and echo cancellation. The gateway offers phone-to-phone, Web browser-to-phone, fax-to-fax, and PC-to-phone connectivity. The latter is enabled through Nokia’s my.way IP Telephony Client Application.
  • Features include packet reconstruction for lost or delayed packets, silence suppression, G.165 echo cancellation, and DTMF detection and generation. Voice conferencing, dynamic routing of calls, call load balancing, and network configuration and monitoring are also enabled.
  • Gateway models are scalable from 24/30 to 72/120 ports, and may be stacked together to offer hundreds of ports and accommodate thousands of users. T.38 fax capability is also available as an optional component, and up to 96 simultaneous fax calls may be handled by one gateway.

VocalTec Telephony Gateway Series 2000
VocalTec Communications, Ltd.
One Executive Drive, Ste. 320
Fort Lee, NJ 07024

  • VocalTec’s Telephony Gateway Series 2000 features a built-in networking switch and router for processing up to 1440/1152 calls. The DSP-based gateway offers advanced audio capabilities like packet handling, redundancy, and reconstruction. Jitter buffer, a voice activity detector, a comfort noise generator, and a 16/32 ms G.165 echo canceler are also included.
  • Open architecture in the series offers the option of interfacing to third-party systems, and development kits are available. The series can support up to 16 E1/T1 trunks, and as many as 480/384 ports per shelf with three terminals per cabinet.
  • The series is H.323 compliant, and uses industry-standard codecs. Other features include alarms, which are sent to the PSTN exchange, a time-slot for monitoring activity, and an optional connection to selected trunk bitstream for enhanced problem detection without an impact on traffic.

Tempest Data Voice Gateway (DVG)
Franklin Telecom
733 Lakefield Rd.
Westlake Village, CA 91361

  • The Tempest DVG from Franklin Telecom now offers scalability from four to 96 ports. All ports may be used interchangeably to switch voice, fax, or data, and the Tempest can switch up to 24 voice channels over T1 or analog lines.
  • The gateway comes in a rackmount chassis, with a DSP board that includes multiple vocoders for auto detection and control of voice and fax calls. Voice compression is enabled through the G.729b and G.165 vocoders for silence suppression and echo cancellation respectively.
  • Other features include fax relay and detection, as well as T.38 compliance. The gateway features an Intel PCI Bus PC interface, with processing power of 40 Mips per DSP or 480 Mips per board. In the latest configuration, a seven-foot rack can hold approximately 768 ports.

Cisco DE-30+
Cisco Systems, Inc.
170 West Tasman Dr.
San Jose, CA 95134-1619

  • Cisco’s DE-30+ digital gateway connects the Cisco architecture for voice, video, and integrated data (AVVID) packet telephony network with the PSTN or a PBX using PRI-ISDN trunks. The gateway can support 30 voice channels on an E1 interface.
  • The DE-30+ offers a PCI-based card with integrated DSPs, a 10Base-T Ethernet network interface, a control processor with communications software for connecting to the Cisco CallManager over a TCP/IP Ethernet link, and a remote boot procedure with DHCP and TFTP software download.
  • Features include G.711 encoding, DTMF detection and generation, line echo cancellation, and signaling. Multiple gateways may be treated separately, or aggregated with others to form a common pool of channels. The number of gateways installed in a PC is limited only by the number of available slots.

Unified Services Exchange (USX1000)
Lara Technology, Inc.
2345 N. First St.
San Jose, CA 95131

  • This carrier-class solution offers a high-density class 5 or class 4 switch that integrates with existing PSTN services for transparent migration of voice to existing data networks. The system combines the Unified Call Exchange (UCX10) with the Unified Services Gateway (USG10) for high availability and scalability.
  • The switch system is powered by Lara’s MediaExpress technology for optimum network efficiency and low latency voice transport. The Unified Media Architec-ture (UMA) is incorporated for redundancy, as well as support for hundreds of thousands of calls.
  • Lara’s Unified Services Manager (USM) is a GUI-based management system, and the USX1000 can easily integrate with existing operational support systems for network services management, performance/policy monitoring, and provisioning. Open APIs are also featured.

Nuera Communications, Inc.
10445 Pacific Center Court
San Diego, CA 92121-1761

  • Nuera’s open, reliable communications architecture (ORCA) platform is made up of a gateway and call agent to provide a carrier-class switching system. The gateway communicates with the ORCA call agent using MGCP, and third-party call agents may also be used to control the gateway network.
  • The platform offers four to 136 DSPs per switch operating at 1600 MIPS per DSP. Using Hewlett-Packard’s OpenCall as its foundation, the call agent is built on the HP9000-D platform, and supports SS7, H.323, ISDN, R2, CAS, and Q.SIG signaling.
  • An open software architecture, combined with CompactPCI and H.110 hardware, provides APIs at numerous levels for easy integration of third-party applications. Additional features include dual-feed DC or AC power modules, common logic hardware modules, and dual fan modules.

3Com Corporation
Santa Clara Site
5400 Bayfront Plaza
Santa Clara, CA 95052

  • The scalable CommWorks IP telephony platform from 3Com integrates with existing network infrastructures to incorporate VoIP, SS7/Intelligent Networks, fax-over-IP, and Internet call waiting capabilities. It also enables unified messaging and Web-based call center applications, as well as managed multimedia services.
  • CommWorks offers a standards-based solution for routing, call processing, network management, and easy addition of new services. It allows alternative local loop access and VPNs to be used for transport voice and fax traffic.
  • Features include PSTN-quality voice that can be compressed at six Kbps per call. If a call is silent, bandwidth is utilized for fax or data services for efficiency

Netspeak Gateway Exchange
NetSpeak Corporation
902 Clint Moore Rd., Ste. 104
Boca Raton, FL 33487-2846

  • Netspeak’s Gateway Exchange translates calls from PSTN to IP-based data networks, and can send calls over any TCP/IP packet-switched network. It also offers real-time fax switching, as well as H.323 fast connect capability for establishing point-to-point calls with as little as one round-trip message exchange.
  • The gateway provides toll-quality voice using the G.711, G.723.1, and G.729a codecs. It may be configured with a T1/E1 interface to the PSTN or a PBX, and also supports primary rate interface, MFC-R2, winkstart, loop start, and ground start.
  • The Gateway Exchange features a 96-port capacity, as well as a route server for defining call routing. Other features include support for ANI/DNIS for routing and accounting, DTMF detection and generation, echo cancellation, and jitter buffer management.

Intelligent Network
eXchange switch (INX)
World Telecom Labs
150 East 52nd St.
New York, NY 10022

  • The carrier-grade INX from World Telecom Labs provides a flexible telephony architecture built on standard hardware. The switch enables toll-quality voice transport over TDM, IP, and ATM switching, and may be deployed in any type of configuration.
  • The INX is remotely manageable, and offers an SS7 module for interconnectivity with the PSTN and transparent signaling over IP and ATM backbones. It also supports services like prepaid calling cards, VPNs, callback, operator-assisted calls, and one-number services. The INX features a payload switching module for frame building and intelligent multiplexing of VoIP packets, which is based on the company’s Network Optimization Protocol (NOP).
  • Features include a rackmount chassis, RAID controller, dual hot-swappable power supplies, RAID alarms display, and a master/backup database. The switch offers voice compression at 9.6 Kbps, and uses the standard G.729 and G.723 codecs.

MainStreetXpress 36100 Access Concentrator
Newbridge Networks Corporation
15036 Conference Center Dr.
Chantilly, VA 20151-3850

  • This scalable solution from Newbridge Networks was designed for the service provider market, and acts as the network collection point for digital and analog modem calls from the PSTN, which are routed over a data network.
  • The MainStreetXpress is available in chassis configurations with three, seven, or 11 slots, and includes high-density, multi-purpose DSP cards. It also includes hot-swappable modules which allow input/output cards to be exchanged without service interruption.
  • Other features include redundant DC power feeds or AC power converters, as well as two high-performance control cards, which are included with the 11-slot chassis. The gateway also performs authentication and accounting, access partitioning for assigning calls to a virtual private network (VPN), and network management is enabled through SNMP and the Virtual Port Service Manager (VPSM) software suite.

CallLogiX Voice/Fax Gateway
Infosoft Technologies
26 Avalon Dr.
Montville, NJ 07045

  • The CallLogiX gateway provides H.323-compliant transmission of voice and fax over T1/E1 interfaces, and is geared toward carriers, service providers, and the enterprise market. The gateway supports standard signaling protocols, and features high-density DM3/IP Link voice boards from Dialogic Corporation (an Intel company).
  • With scalability of up to 150 ports in a single rackmount chassis, the CallLogiX is robust and versatile. It monitors QoS and adjusts call control, and can route calls from an inbound port to a dialed number, or a predetermined outbound port.
  • The gateway offers an easy GUI configuration, and remote management is enabled through SNMP. Another feature is an alarm system, which is monitored through the Web-enabled CallLogiX Gateway Monitor. The monitor receives alarm events from the digital interface through an SNMP trap.

Alcatel 1000 Call Server
1000 Coit Road CHB
Plano, TX 75075

  • This scalable platform architecture allows service providers to seamlessly transition their circuit networks to packet configurations for voice and data connectivity. The Alcatel 1000 Call Server manages all narrowband data and multimedia services separately, although they may be accessed through media-layer gateways at the edge of the network.
  • An independent platform centralizes call logic and simplifies service management, and allows providers to establish points of presence in new service areas through easy communication with other gateways, packet switches, and nodes.
  • In addition to supporting multiple interfaces, the platform will interwork with Alcatel’s service control point (SCP) platforms, as well as third-party SCPs. Other call features include follow me, intelligent call transfer, mobility management, unified messaging, location tracking, call filtering and programmed response/alerting, multimedia multicast services, and Web-based provisioning.

Array Series 3000
Array Telecom Corp. (a Comdial Corporation company)
Herndon Corporate Center, Ste. 100
1145 Herndon Parkway
Herndon VA 22963

  • Array’s Series 3000 VoIP gateways offer scalability from two to thousands of ports, and include a built-in, multi-lingual IVR for customized support of multi-language voice prompts. The series also offers superior voice quality through jitter buffer management and built-in global routing software for selecting the most efficient transport route.
  • The series comes an a PC running Windows NT, as well as specialized telephony hardware devices. It also includes a suite of software components that may be configured for specific connection capabilities. The series supports analog loop start, analog station interface, T1 robbed bit signaling, and ISDN-PRI connections.
  • Connection sizes range from two-line systems to multiple T1/E1 systems, and there are no size limits on scalability The series can also be used as a full-service prepaid calling platform and provides real-time billing, trunk-to-IP, and trunk-to-trunk switching.

IP Telephony (IPT) Solution
Ericsson, Inc.
Datacom Networks
77 South Bedford St.
Burlington, MA 01803

  • Ericsson’s solution offers a platform for enabling phone-to-phone, PC-to-phone, PC-to-PC, and fax-to-fax services over an IP network. The system offers least-cost routing, multiple IP network support, dynamic call routing, validated and unvalidated traffic, error concealment, silence encoding, and echo cancellation.
  • The IPT Solution also has powerful real-time billing features including RADIUS authentication for subscribers, central call data record collection, an open billing system interface, and itemized accounting. It offers IVR, multiple language and currency support, and SNMP management for remote configuration.
  • The platform can interface with E1 and T1 systems, and offers additional features including quality of service control, validation of traffic before it arrives at the IPT system, and a provision for unvalidated traffic to originate in any network. It also supports Ericsson’s Phone Doubler and Phone Doubler Quick Call desktop applications.

iServer 6d
Industrial CPU Systems, Inc.
111-D West Dyer Rd.
Santa Ana, CA 92707

  • The high-performance iServer 6d from Industrial CPU Systems is a platform designed for voice/data applications and services. The server can connect to the network backbone through a dual redundant 10/100 network adapter, and offers SNMP complied remote Web and LAN management, as well as remote maintenance capabilities.
  • The server can host an optional T1/E1 connection and multi-port digital voice cards for IVR applications. It offers a fiber channel host adapter and hot-swappable drives for fast and reliable storage.
  • Other features of the rack-mountable system include a dual 600 MHz Pentium III processor, redundant hot-swap power supplies and multiple hot-swappable media options, and high-capacity disk, CD, and DAT drives.

Faxport Virtual Fax Network (VFN)
LANSource Technologies, Inc.
21 Randolph Ave., 4th Floor
Toronto, ON Canada

  • By sitting on existing gateways, LANSource’s VFN software suite offers least cost routing, peering, provisioning, and billing modules for enterprise fax solutions. The solution’s back-office systems offer carrier-grade scalability for intelligent routing, load balancing, service and pricing plans, and network management.
  • Additional features include fail-safe redundancy, remote server configuration and monitoring, server and user account provisioning, management and status reporting, traffic tracking, fax call detail records, and customer care.
  • The software can be installed on a Windows NT server, and can support standard fax modems, intelligent fax devices, and other carrier-class fax systems. The platform also supports T.37, RADIUS, SNMP, SMTP, HTTP, HTML, and SSL standards.

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