The VoIP Peering Puzzle�Part 51: SBC Architectures�Oki Electric

This venerable Japanese supplier has long been a source of cutting-edge carrier-grade equipment.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Oct 16, 2007
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In 1881, a young telegraph technician named Kibataro Oki became convinced that his native Japan was about to enter the communication age, and founded a company named Meikosha, Ltd. as the country's first telecommunications manufacturer.

In 1890, Japan's Ministry of Communications opened telephone exchanges in Tokyo and Yokohama, making telephone service available in and between those cities. Later that year, the growing Meikosha company took on the name of its founder—becoming Oki Electric Works—and its catalog listed a number of "communications machinery" products, including carbon telephones, electric generators, lightning rods and testing equipment.

Before long, Oki's reputation as a private communications equipment manufacturer, combined with the government's interest in the telephone, led to expanded operations for Oki Electric Works, and its designation as Japan's top manufacturer of communications equipment. Today, OKI (as it now styles itself) continues to provide top-quality products, technologies, and solutions to its customers through its three major lines of business: info-telecom systems, semiconductors, and printers.

Within the information and telecom systems division, OKI is currently focusing on providing next-generation networks and ubiquitous service, enabling individuals to receive a variety of their required services at their fingertips. OKI provides a wide range of products, including from IP telephones, a carrier-grade fiber-to-the-home system for broadband service delivery, high-speed wireless broadband access systems (WiMAX), and video solutions. In particular, OKI currently is Japan's largest system vendor of IP telephony servers for telecom carriers, providing a system that supports 4.8 million subscribers.

In the enterprise market, OKI offers solutions that converge voice, video, data, and wireless with their IP mobile Centrex system, their video surveillance solutions, and their contact center solution, which holds the top market share in Japan. Net sales for the fiscal year ending March 2007 reached $6.09 billion U.S,, resulting from the efforts of over 21,000 employees in offices and subsidiaries all over the world.

OKI's line of carrier-grade communications systems is named the CenterStage NX series—designed for large-scale carriers, and optimized to serve as the foundation for next-generation network services. The series includes a security management system and security gateway, a service access gateway, an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-compatible switch and media gateway, and the NX3200 session border controller.

The NX3200 was announced in March 2007 in Japan, and started shipping in June 2007. This system is designed to facilitate the interconnecting of telecom providers' networks, process large volumes of traffic, and still maintain the ability to use both versions of the Internet Protocol—IPv4 and IPv6. The system's high-speed packet transfer capability, along with its IPv4-to-IPv6 conversion function, allows data to be transferred at wire speed, enabling seamless, low-latency communications.

The CenterStage line owes its high speed processing and high availability services to an OKI-proprietary middleware system called CenterStage HAPF. This system, which serves as the foundation of the CenterStage series of products, is built upon a redundant server architecture that supports four key pieces of operations functionality:

  • cluster functionality, which performs switching at high speeds among redundant, general-purpose servers
  • service relief functionality, which maintains service even when servers must be switched due to a failure
  • file update functionality, which allows the software to be upgraded without stopping the service
  • live patch functionality, where programs can be dynamically modified as they execute without switching servers, even while the service is live

OKI claims that this system delivers 99.9999 percent availability, which is the equivalent of 33 seconds of down time per year.

The systems also utilize the Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA), an optimized physical packaging system developed by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), a consortium of over 450 companies that has developed open specifications for high performance telecommunications and industrial computing applications (see http://www.picmg.org/v2internal/newinitiative.htm). The PICMG was founded in 1994, with the mission of extending the PCI standard for use in non-traditional computer markets, including industrial automation, medical, military, and telecommunications. The ATCA specifications are targeted at fulfilling requirements for the next generation of carrier-grade communications equipment, and incorporate the latest high speed interconnect technologies, next-generation processors, and improved reliability, manageability and serviceability.

The NX3200 operates as a component of an IMS network, implementing the Interconnect Border Controller Function (IBCF) and the Translation Gateway (TrGW). These functions enable secure connections between carriers, and simplify the introduction of new services, plus interworking with existing services. The NX3200 supports up to 200,000 subscribers simultaneously, enabling large-scale session control as these triple play services are deployed.

Further details on the OKI CenterStage architecture and products can be found at www.oki.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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