The VoIP Peering Puzzle�Part 36: SBC Architectures�Comverse NeoTIP
Comverse SBCs scale from SOHO to carrier capacity, and are available on a variety of platforms.
Comverse Technology Group, headquartered in Wakefield, Massachusetts, is a multinational firm established in 1984, with a current staff of 4,500 employees spread across the United States, Europe, and Asia. The company is a provider of enhanced communication solutions, including Netcentrex, which provides IP-based voice and video solutions that enable communication service providers to deliver VoIP and fixed/mobile convergence services for both consumer and enterprise markets. Netcentrex is widely recognized for its leadership in the worldwide market for Class 5 application servers, with 5 million VoIP lines in commercial service, and for its rich portfolio of Telco grade VoIP, IP Centrex, Triple Play, Quad Play, and IMS solutions.
Another Comverse holding is NeoTIP (www.neotip.com), which they acquired in May 2006, thus adding one of Europes leading SBC developers to their conglomerate. The team responsible for the creation of NeoTIP previously worked for France Telecom Research and Development Laboratories. These experts have directly contributed to various patents and worked on many of the software developments now being used in telephony and videoconferencing services.
The NeoTIP range of Session Border Controllers (SBC) provides the required technology for both fixed and mobile networks, as network operators migrate their systems toward IMS support. The NeoTIP SBC family includes two product offerings, the NeoGate, designed for the enterprise market, and the NeoXBC, designed for the network operator, carrier, and Internet service provider market.
The NeoGate is a session border controller designed to address the needs of private companies and government agencies that are migrating from TDM to VoIP infrastructures. This system ensures that the private network is protected and that the performance and reliability are not affected by other applications and equipment when an IPBX is interconnected to the Internet.
The NeoXBC is a high-end, carrier-class, fault-tolerant platform that manages up to 100,000 concurrent sessions with load balancing and call distribution. This SBC is composed of three main elements. The Application Layer Gateway (ALG) is responsible for the management of signaling, including Network Address Translation (NAT), call context, and customer management. The Media Proxy (MP) handles media stream routing and filtering, with multiple MPs (either co-located or distributed) permitted within the architecture. Finally, Proxy Software Development Kit (PSDK) is a powerful application programming interface (API) that enables a high level of customization, a feature that Comverse claims is unique on the market.
In addition to these main elements, the NeoXBC includes an Access Registrar, supporting both SIP and H.323, an SNMP Agent for network management functions, a Quality of Service (QoS) Analyzer, which performs IP network analysis and voice quality reporting, a Legal Intercept Function, and a Policy Server, which authorizes calls.
The NeoTIP product line is based upon the RedHat Enterprise Linux Operating System (see http://www.redhat.com/), and can run on Linux and Intel servers. Four different hardware platforms are available.
- The NeoGate system can run as integrated software on an appliance server, designed for multi-site companies and Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) applications, with a capacity for up to 150 simultaneous voice calls or up to 30 simultaneous video calls.
- A high-capacity 19-inch rack mounted Linux server can be deployed for either the NeoGate or NeoXBC models, designed for larger enterprises and network operators, with a capacity for up to 4,000 simultaneous voice calls or up to 2,000 simultaneous video calls.
- High capacity IBM blade servers can also be used to support the NeoXBC model for network operator applications, with the option of adding more blades as system capacity requirements increase.
- Crossbeam Systems blade servers are a fourth option for the NeoXBC model, designed for network operators that require both a high capacity and a high availability solution.
Two elements of the NeoXBC are worthy of additional discussion.
First, the powerful Software Development Kit makes it easier to develop advanced functions (such as call admission control, authentication, call control, and so on), and registration features (H.323 Gatekeeper, SIP Registrar) for the three main signaling protocols, H.323, SIP and MGCP. This SDK provides a software library written in C++ that enables developers to interface the NeoXBC with external applications. The interface provides extensive information about each call, enabling the NeoXBC to be linked with external applications, such as a policy server, legal interception systems, billing servers and operational support systems.
Second, the Quality of Service Probe delivers a variety of performances metrics such as delay, jitter, latency, and packet loss, as well as complete knowledge of the call context: codec, terminals, length of the calls, caller, and so on. The probe can be integrated to the Network Management System for troubleshooting purposes, and report for Service Level Agreements.
Further details on the Comverse architecture and NeoTIP products can be found at www.neotip.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors SBC architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2007 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.