The VoIP Peering Puzzle�Part 49: SBC Architectures�Cantata

Equipment from this global behemoth is used to enable voice—and just about any conceivable communications-related application—worldwide

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Oct 2, 2007
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Cantata Technology, Inc.—established in 2006 through the combination of Brooktrout Technology and Excel Switching Corporation—provides enabling communications hardware and software that empowers the creation and delivery of anytime, anywhere IP-based communications applications. Leveraging more than 20 years of experience, Cantata offers a very broad range of products, along with a worldwide network of partners that allows service-provider and enterprise customers to develop new products, introduce new services, and cost-effectively transition networks to IP.

Headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, Cantata provides sales and support to its customers and partners around the world through many locations throughout the United States, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, and Japan.

The firm has strategic partnerships with leading technology companies to ensure interoperability and performance at the system level, working with leading platform vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Red Hat, and Intel to ensure that they support the operating systems and form factors that meet the needs of their customers.

Further, Cantata takes active role in the development of industry standards—with Cantata's employees having contributed to more than 25 IETF RFCs and Internet drafts, as well as many other standards from the ITU (www.itu.int), Worldwide Web Consortium (http://www.w3.org), and PacketCable (http://www.packetcable.com) organizations.

Cantata's proven, open-standards–based technology is used extensively by both enterprises and service providers to enable applications ranging from voice and video, messaging, IP call centers, fax document management and compliance, prepaid, and speech-enabled services.

Cantata claims that its products are deployed in more than 80 countries around the world and at 90 percent of the Fortune 500, including companies such as AT&T, MCI/Verizon, Comcast, Bank of America, Deutsche Telecom, and Alcoa. The products supporting converged networks include: the Integrated Media Gateway (IMG) 1010, an intelligent, integrated media and signaling gateway; the Excel Multi-Services Platform (MSP) 1010, a cost-effective, multifunctional IP/TDM platform for voice and signaling; the Excel MSP 2090, a carrier-grade enhanced services multifunction platform for IP/TDM, and the SnowShore IP Media Server, an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) media processing software resource.

Of particular note is the IMG 1010, which is an integrated media and signaling VoIP gateway that provides any-to-any network connectivity, enabling delivery of SIP services into legacy SS7/PRI networks, as well as IP-to-IP transcoding for network peering applications. The IMG 1010 is a carrier-grade gateway that enables service providers to quickly add VoIP services to their business.

In an IMS networking architecture, the IMG 1010 combines signaling gateway (SGW), media gateway (MGW) and media gateway control functions (MGCF) to provide "any-to-any" interworking functions for connecting and delivering IMS services across legacy and IP fixed and wireless networks. This any-to-any design means that the unit can connect TDM-to-IP, IP-to-IP, and TDM-to-TDM—as well as just about any IP or TDM protocol you can think of, including SIP, H.323, SS7, T1/E1, DS3, PRI and CAS. Cantata claims that more than 55 carriers in 20 countries, spanning five continents, have deployed the IMG 1010.

The IMG 1010 also offers an impressive list of features in its compact, 1U form factor. In the routing area, the system supports call routing and translation based upon Automatic Number Identification (ANI), Dialed Number Identification Service (DNIS), and Nature of Address, plus Time of Day, or Day of Week/Year.

Voice calling features include support for a number of codecs, including G.711, G.723.1, G.729 and others; voice activity detection, comfort noise generation, and symmetric network address translation (NAT) traversal.

The Quality of Service capabilities include an adaptive jitter buffer, packet loss compensation, and a configurable type of service (ToS) field for packet prioritization and routing. Supported interfaces include T1/E1 or DS3 for telephony, Fast Ethernet for control and signaling and Gigabit Ethernet for VoIP payloads. The system can handle up to 1,024 channels per unit, with up to 16 of the gateways monitored and configured by a centralized element management system. That management system is also compatible with the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP).

The IMG 1010 has also been successfully tested for interoperability with XConnect, the world's largest provider of peering services based on ENUM, and operator of the XConnect Alliance and the XConnect ENUM registry (see www.xconnect.net). Service providers that subscribe to XConnect's peering services can use the IMG 1010 to bridge between the PSTN and VoIP traffic, thus enabling new hosted and dedicated softswitch-based applications. This process has been dubbed "plug and peer," as these interconnections enable multilateral peering services, which claim to yield a higher quality of service at a reduced cost, and leverage the millions of telephone numbers contained in the XConnect registry.

Further details on the Cantata architecture and products can be found at www.cantata.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors' SBC architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2007 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved


Author's Biography
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.

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