Cisco and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are co-developing a multiservice controller for service providers to offer voice, video, and data traffic seamlessly over the public telephone network (PSTN) and the Internet.
The company's have combined HP OpenCall, an Intelligent Network (IN) platform, with Cisco IOS(R) software to create the Multiservice Controllers.
The family of platforms will enable creation and deployment of voice, video and data services from enterprise to public Voice-over Packet Network (VoPN), meaning not just voice-over IP but frame relay and ATM, with the capability to integrate with the PSTN. The family of platforms will enable multiservice applications to span the PSTN and VoPN, providing such functions as 800-number access and VPN that were previously available only from conventional PSTN and private branch exchanges (PBX).
Joe Frost, product marketing manager at Cisco, said: "HP is very successful at deploying management platforms and Cisco is able to make all new platform technology interface with whatever else is out there."
Since these services will behave identically across both PSTN and VoPN, service providers will be able to offer easy-to-use services to the broadest market at reduced development and operational costs, Cisco claims
"Vendors that provide a carrier-grade platform that will allow a service to be developed once and deployed across several networks will help service providers lower costs while giving them a competitive edge," said John Coons, principal analyst for Internet infrastructure in the telecommunications section of Dataquest.
The HP and Cisco approach is through an open service-creation environment, including programmes for third-party application developers, independent software vendors and systems integrators to create new value-added services and deploy them in multivendor networks.
Initially, the OpenCall Multi-service Controllers, expected to be available in the first calendar quarter of 1999, will be based on HP's market-leading Unix system(R) HP-UX1 operating environment and will provide value-added VoPN services to Cisco's network elements, such as Cisco SC2200 and products running Cisco IOS software. Future releases of OpenCall Multiservice Controllers will be available on multiple platforms.
In the second half of 1999, support for end-to-end voice calls between the PSTN and IP networks will be added. This allows PSTN and IP infrastructures to merge, so that a user on a traditional wireline or wireless phone can seamlessly and transparently connect with a user on an IP phone. It also permits services to behave identically, independent of the network on which the user resides. For example, a single VPN service could be developed to behave identically on plain old telephone systems (POTS), wireless and IP phones.
Cisco will incorporate the OpenCall Multiservice Controllers into its VoPN infrastructure. The service platforms will also be available from HP as a part of the HP OpenCall platform product family.
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