NexThings from NexTone

Infrastructure provider unveils latest specs for its session border controller.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Mar 16, 2007
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Gaithersburg, Maryland-based NexTone Communications this week announced updated capabilities for one member of its IntelliConnect System of IMS-compatible switching solutions the company calls session controllers—specifically, its "session border controller" (SBC, def).

The company's high performance IntelliConnect equipment is in use by many international carriers, as well as large enterprises, and transports as much as 50 percent of the world's international VoIP and other multimedia traffic.

According to NexTone vice president of marketing John Longo, the performance capabilities of NexTone's product line are a function of the basic platform design. "Ours is a software solution built on a Linux operating system platform, and it's deployed on industry standard hardware," he told VoIPplanet.com "What that means is that customers are able to ride the Moore's Law curve," Longo said.

It also, apparently, shortens the development cycle.

The gist of this week's announcement, is "Bigger, better, faster," according to NexTone vice president, enterprise markets, Larry Schessel. Longo preferred the phrase "fast, flexible, and future-proof."

Whatever the marketing-speak, the SBC upgrade sports some very impressive specs.

The system's overall processing capability has been clocked at 150 calls per second (CPS)—not only under lab conditions but also, the company asserts, as reported by customers in real-world operation. "It's one thing to be able to demonstrate [this level of performance] in the lab, but it's another thing to have your customer say 'I've seen that performance in live action," Longo said.

Another area of performance improvement is in interworking between the H.323 and SIP protocols. This is key "because majority of IP-PBXs are still running H.323," Longo pointed out, "and they will be for the foreseeable future."

The "policy enforcement engine" embedded in the SBC is another key component of the system. It collects more than 100 statistics on each call (or other media interconnect) and uses the information "to dynamically change the policy on a call-by-call basis," Longo explained.

In addition to stats typically tracked by routers and other network infrastructure—packet delay, packet loss, and the like—the NexTone policy engine actually calculates MOS scores for each call. "We're able to track how various parts of the network are performing and dynamically route the next call based on that information," Longo told VoIPplanet.com.

In partnerwhip with NexTone's Multiprotocol Session Exchange (MSX) element, the SBC can now enforce 5 million policies, which provide increased route selection and enable customer partitioning. The system is able to facilitate up to 2 million routes—up from 800,000. Big numbers.

The SBC's security functionality has been enhanced by the incorporation of IPSec encryption, and interoperability with an increased number of media gateways rounds out the list of update highlights.

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