IP Telephony news wrap-up for Feb 9 – 2006

The ITU has approved a suite of CableLabs’ PacketCable specs as standards for the international version of services including VoIP. PacketCable-based standards are known internationally as IPCablecom, and this recently approved suite covers such topics as architecture, network call signaling, call management server (CMS) to CMS signaling, QoS, support for multimedia and other functions necessary to provide time-critical interactive services over a cable television network using IP.

The ITU approval stems from work carried out in October by ITU SG 9, which is entitled Integrated Broadband Cable Networks and Television and Sound Transmission group. SG 9 is chaired by CableLabs President and CEO Dr. Richard R. Green. ITU approval came in late November after consultation with its member states and sector members.

The ITU also standardized on CableLabs’ contributions from DOCSIS and CableHome projects. J.128 is a set-top gateway specification for transmission systems for interactive cable television services. J.197 pertains to high-level requirements for a digital rights management bridge to a home network and a revision to J.192, a residential gateway to support the delivery of cable data services, which aligns it with CableHomeÆ 1.1.

A new Recommendation J.601, for Transport of Large Scale Digital Imagery (LSDI) applications, defines transport technologies for LSDI with resolutions 3840 x 2160 pixels and 7680 x 4320 pixels.

Recommendation J.280, Digital Program Insertion, or splicing application programming interface, was amended to add functionality that creates a new logical multiplex type that allows for multiple ports to be utilized. Previously when utilizing certain types of content servers over Gigabit Ethernet, it was not always practical to create a multi- program transport stream that would work using the original standard.

At the next SG 9 meeting, scheduled for May, the group will consider more CableLabs generated specifications for standardization including J.dti, DOCSIS Timing Interface Specification; J.bb, Battery Backup for Cable-based Devices; and J.161, audio and video codec requirements for provision of bidirectional services over cable television networks using cable modems.

Packet Cable
Ranch Networks has introduced a line of appliances (RN300, RN20, RN40, and RN41) to provide dynamic, protocol independent, per call authenticated network access for Asterisk-based systems.

The technology sends instructions to the firewall to open the ports on an as needed basis. Media streams can flow from one phone to another, then close ports when the call is terminated. Instructions are also sent to the appliance determining the amount of bandwidth needed. As calls come in, data is shrunk to allow necessary bandwidth on a protocol basis. The appliances support multiple phones behind any number of firewalls.

The RN products range in price from $750 to $20,000.

Ranch Networks
Future Entertainment Works is installing Nortel Networks’ VoIP solution at King Abdulaziz Endowment Project (KAEP), an urban development project in Mecca consisting of six residential and commercial towers and a hotel. The network will deliver VoIP, IPTV, video on demand, and advertising.

The network will include 65,000 ports. The system will include Nortel’s Communication Server 1000, 400 switches from the company’s 8300 and 8600 series, and 26,000 IP phones (initial deployment of 18,000 phones is already scheduled).

The Nortel infrastructure will be fully deployed early this year, with the full completion of the project slated for 2007.

Intrado, a e911 solutions provider for 30 VoIP service providers in the U.S., has deployed technology from Sonus’ IMS architecture to support the nationwide expansion of Intrado’s service. Sonus’ gear enables call to be routed within the existing 911 network and delivery of the static or mobile caller’s address to the appropriate PSAP.

TomatoVine, has launched a suite of IP-based business services in 18 U.S. cities. Services include secure IP trunking and hosted IP Centrex with video calling and video mail. The services are being driven by NetCentrex’s VoIP application servers.

Vonage is now offering its VoIP subscribers in the U.S., Canada and the UK, the option to add a secondary, virtual phone number based in Western Europe to their VoIP service. A virtual number would receive incoming calls that would ring a subscriber’s primary Vonage line. The new phone numbers available are based on area codes in Austria, France, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

The rate for a virtual number is $9.99 per month ($11.99 CAD, and pounds Sterling 5.99 GBP).

Quintum Technologies has introduced Remote Management Session Server (RMSS), a management solution for Tenor switches and gateways deployed behind NAT firewalls. The RMSS registers, configures and manages Tenors via telnet, FTP or a GUI. The device can register up to 5,000 switches and manage up to 100 simultaneously.

The RMSS is housed within the company’s application server, a 1U, rack-mountable chassis. The product, when configured to support up to 100 registrations, is available for $4,750. Configuration is also available for 500, 2500, and 5000 Tenors.

Quintum Technologies
PalTalk, a PC to PC VoIP service provider with 37 million registered users, has deployed SpiritDSP’s multi-point full duplex voice conferencing engine to improve the audio quality of online conferences that support more than 1000 users in a single room.

VoIPster has introduced OpenZoep, a communications protocol based on XMPP, to serve as an open source engine for use in the development of VoIP softphones. To promote the technology, the company has also established the OpenZoep Foundation.

The engine is available for Windows, with versions of OS X and Linux being ported.

OpenZoep Foundation
Skype has entered a licensing agreement with Warner Music Group that will enable the VoIP service provider to offer 30-second song snippets for ringtones for $1.50 each. Subscribers will be able to choose from any song that Warner Music makes available for cell phone subscribers.

The agreement is definitely not exclusive as Warner Music has acknowledged that it is in talks with other VoIP service providers and Skype has said that it is hoping to enter similar agreements with other music companies.

Sales of ringtones for 2005 generated approximately $733 million in revenues.

Warner Music Group
Axtora has introduced 3 new IP PBX systems designed to support businesses with 10 or fewer, 40 or fewer, or 250 or fewer users. The systems are based on IBM eServer xSeries architecture along with Novell and Axtora software.

The IP PBX 100 provides support for up to 10 users. The analog and ISDN integrated ports provide a maximum of 3 voice connections to the PSTN and a maximum of 10 IP internal extensions.

The 200 series IP PBX supports up to 40 users. It has 4 analog and ISDN ports, allowing a maximum of 12 PSTN voice connections and a maximum of 40 IP internal extensions.

The 300 series system supports 250 users. It has 4 analog ports and 2 E1 primary connections allowing a maximum of 64 PSTN voice connections and a maximum of 250 IP internal extensions.

All systems support call transfer, call parking, queue management, call waiting, 3-way calling, call capture, conference rooms, music on hold, caller ID, least cost routing, and voicemail.

Charter Communications, a U.S. MSO, has entered into a multi-year agreement with Level 3, that calls for the CLEC to provide local phone numbers, LNP, fixed e911, and local trunking for Charter’s consumer and business VoIP services.

Charter already uses several other Level 3 services such as termination service, CrossRoads IP service, Dark Fiber service, and Link Intercity Private Line service.

Charter Communications
Level 3

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