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Intel Continues to Push HMP Envelope

By Greg Galitzine, Internet Telephony Magazine


Intel host media processing (HMP) solutions are helping customers of all sizes achieve results. Across the industry, different groups, including service providers, ISVs and enterprises alike are all benefiting from the latest HMP releases from Intel. Service providers are increasing their average revenue per user (ARPU) by offering exciting new enhanced services. ISVs are generating more for less, by increasingly offering higher-density applications while shortening their time to market with those apps. And enterprise customers are benefiting by deploying converged IP applications such as IP PBXs, and saving money in the process.

For those new to the term, host media processing is a technology used to perform media processing tasks on general-purpose servers with standard processors but without specialized digital signal processing (DSP) hardware. Host media processing technology provides media services that can be used to build flexible, scalable, and cost-effective next generation media servers. Because HMP is a software-only media processing solution, costs are lower for procurement, development, deployment, and maintenance. Since HMP is standards-based and does not require specialized hardware, solutions using HMP are faster and easier to develop and deploy, easily scalable, and very flexible.

Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software combines the flexibility of software-based IP media processing with powerful high-density multimedia capabilities that run on a server's host processor. In today's highly competitive marketplace, offering multimedia services can be a key differentiator for telephony solutions.

Release 1.5 for Linux
The company recently announced new hardware and software products for simplified deployment of IP services such as VoIP and multimedia services in pure IP and hybrid enterprise networks. The announcement centered on Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software Release 1.5 for Linux, as well as a reference design for a Converged Application Platform for distributed enterprises.

The Intel NetStructure Software enables up to 120 channels of video as well as revenue-generating services like video mail, video caller ID, video portals, and video color ringback.

When deployed in an IP network, Intel NetStructure HMP supports the initiation and termination of a multimedia (audio/video) call, which includes SIP-based call control and H.263 video format. Intel NetStructure HMP provides synchronization between voice and video streams for playback on IP video phones and video-enabled soft clients and connection to a 3G-324M gateway on a 3G network.

Service providers the world over are thrilled.

According to Suntek CTO Zhang Shaowen, "The release of Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software 1.5 will enable Intel customers to build video portals, voice and video messaging, and other value added services. Suntek deployed network KTV and video portal solutions over a NGN network in Chengdu China and achieved overwhelming customer satisfaction."

Tristan Dessain-Gelinet, preisdent of Asniere, France-based Tetco Technologies agrees. "TETCO Technologies has chosen Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing for its flexibility and easy scalability. Our Next Generation platform based on HMP from Intel has been able to provide hundreds of media channels for value added services such as Next Gen Voicemail, Video, Ring Back Tones, with lower CPU consumption and a limited footprint."

Since the solution is implemented as a software-only product, there are numerous cost benefits. There is a smaller up-front investment and lower development, deployment, and ongoing operational costs. Since the Intel solution is compatible with both the ITU's H.323 standard and the IETF's Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), developers gain access to a wide array of gateways, gatekeepers, and IP endpoints through standards-fueled interoperability. Speaking of interoperability, the fact that Intel HMP Release 1.5 for Linux supports streaming media over RTP (real-time transfer protocol) using a variety of codecs (G.711, G.723.1, G.729a and G.729ab) means that developers can create products that will work with a wide variety of industry standard IP gateways.

Release 2.0 for Windows
Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software is also being used to help enterprises move to VoIP technology while protecting their investments in legacy equipment. The company recently announced the Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software Release 2.0 for Windows and the Intel NetStructure Digital Network and Station Interface Boards to aid enterprises in deploying IP-based services in a hybrid network, combining legacy TDM with IP infrastructures.

Intel is also providing help for small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) interested in deploying multimedia services by releasing a reference design for a Converged Application Platform for the Distributed Enterprise.

The reference design for a Converged Application Platform for distributed enterprises will help SMEs in deploying multimedia services. The design uses processors and host media processing from Intel, enabling integration of separate pieces of equipment (like PBXs, switches, routers and VPN/firewalls) into one device. Service providers may offer the platform as a hosted service, allowing IT managers to easily deploy, maintain and upgrade their networks for support of a variety of multimedia applications like fax, instant messaging and multimedia conferencing.

According to Rusty Cone, President, Alliance Systems, "Alliance Systems is using the Converged Access Platform reference design from Intel to offer an integrated data and telephony network. Our customers will quickly be able to benefit from the combination of Intel processors and Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing, including scalability and high performance. With this approach, enterprise networks can be managed in a cost effective and simple way."

The Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing Software Release 2.0 for Windows supports up to 400 channels of rich media processing on various Intel platforms, including those under the Pentium (III, 4, and M), Celeron, and Xeon banners. The latest software release facilitates the development of many advanced applications such as conferencing and voice applications such as IVR and voice mail through support for such functionality as voice record/play with tone detection and generation and conferencing features such as coaching, active talker notification, tone clamping, echo cancellation, and scalability of up to 400 parties per system.

Intel HMP solutions - both the Release 1.5 for Linux and the Release 2.0 for Windows - enable a number of applications including the following:

IP media gateways
IVR and announcements
Video messaging server
Video server
Voice mail server
Unified messaging server
Converged PBX
Prepaid/debit card services
Enhanced services
Conferencing server
Speech enabled applications

Greg Galitzine is editorial director of INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine.

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