Vendor Network Architectures�Part LV: Simton Technologies, Inc.

This product line uses custom ASICs and other purpose-built electronics to produce super-small, super-smart phone infrastructure.

By Mark A. Miller | Posted Dec 12, 2006
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Simton Technologies, Inc. is a Massachusetts company founded in September 2003, with a development team and a production lab in China. Simton researches and develops a series of telecom systems for the VoIP and convergence communication markets. The core team of Simton consists of a group of veterans in the telecom industry from Nortel, Lucent, Intel, Nuera, 3COM, and Sonus, who have been active in VoIP standards and system development since the early days of the technology. Simton’s mission is to provide individuals, small office/home office (SOHO) customers, and small and medium businesses (SMB) with easy to use, yet very powerful communication systems.

Simton’s flagship product is the IPX family of carrier-grade, hybrid IP PBX systems. These systems have been widely sold in China before being brought to the United States market. The system designers claim that the IPX is much easier to use and to maintain, and has a lower price point than competitive Asterisk-based systems. The IPX is built with a MIPS processor (microprocessor without interlocked pipeline stages), the same high performance technology used in many high-end video game consoles. Furthermore, the architecture incorporates a number of ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) engines that handle specific processing tasks, including digital signal processing (DSP), network processing, and encryption. The DSP array, network processing engine, and encryption engine work coherently for optimum performance. Both hardware and software redundancy are built into the system to improve overall business communications reliability.

The IPX is a true hybrid IP PBX supporting analog phones, IP phones, and virtual phones on the endpoint side of things, and analog trunks, digital trunks, and VoIP trunks on the service provision side. In addition to the base voice processing capabilities, every IPX has IP routing and firewall capability and can scale to support up to 500 IP extensions in a single unit.

Simton has developed three different platforms that are designed to address different-sized business requirements:

  • IPX/P100 series has one or two analog trunk ports and supports up to five IP phones. It is amazingly small—about that of a pack of playing cards—yet includes typical PBX features.
  • IPX/H500 series are small office IP PBXs. They provide from 4 to 8 analog trunk ports, and support up to 50 IP phones. This group includes a host of features, including those of typical access IP routers, VoIP gateways, and PBXs—for example, auto attendant, call transfer, caller ID, three-way calling, voice mail, and others. The form factor is about that of a textbook.
  • IPX/B2000 and IPX/B3000 are developed on a 19-inch rack mounted platform, and are highly scalable, allowing up to 112 analog ports, four T1/E1 ports, with support for up to 500 IP phones. Besides providing the capability of a hybrid IP PBX and IP router/firewall, they can also be used to serve other Simton IPX systems, forming a voice intranet and data VPN.

The IPXs can be deployed in two topologies. Theall-in-one system can be a standalone device, connecting every PC, analog phone, and IP phone within a SMB to the PSTN and to one or more Internet Service Providers, including VoIP service providers. Users are free to use different VoIP service providers at the same time. The distributed topology allows a group of IPX systems to form a Voice VPN (which Simton calls a V²PN). This topology could include a mixture of mesh or star connections as dictated by the enterprise’s specific requirements, without the need for other softswitches or dedicated servers. Thus, an enterprise VoIP network can be started small, and can gradually grow as the needs of the business increase. In addition, the IPX can seamlessly inter-work with legacy PBXs, effectively converting those systems into IP PBXs. The intelligent dialing plan and call routing in the IPX acts as an attendant to the connected legacy PBX, but the existing arrangement of the phones and extensions on the legacy PBX are not otherwise affected. The benefit of this arrangement is that the legacy extensions now have the ability to make a VoIP call.

Further details on the Simton Technologies products and architectures can be found at www.simton.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2006 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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