XConnect Expands, Automates Global Alliance Federation

Enhanced Web-based tools will make it easier for VoIP and other IP communications providers to join forces.

By Ted Stevenson | Posted Apr 24, 2009
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Things have been busy at London-based IP peering, interconnection, and number registry service provider XConnect. Just over a month ago the company announced the certification of the TITAN addressing and numbering engine from Massachusetts-based NetNumber.

This week XConnect, founder and home of the 100-plus-member Global Alliance Federation (a federation in this context is a partnership between or among independent network operators for the purpose of interconnecting their communications traffic, and/or sharing number and routing data), announced extensive enhancement of the Alliance facilities in a move that will streamline what is essentially self-service peering.

According to XConnect CEO, Eli Katz, the launch "adds a deep layer of Web-based control and policy choices to meet service providers’ emerging needs."

Indeed, at the core of the announcement is the new Global Alliance Community Web Portal—a central clearinghouse for Alliance members to seek interconnection partners on the basis of location, business model, or technical service features supported, and establish their own policy requirements.

"The Global Alliance lets service providers replace tangles of peering arrangements with a neutral, trusted, and secure third-party hub that links one to many and provides interworking, security, and complex numbering management," Katz added.

Alliance members will be able to use the Web Portal to identify suitable interconnect partners and to form private subsets of the Alliance community—making their own policies regarding settlement, ENUM data sharing, types of traffic exchanged, and signaling and media security settings.

The overarching goal of the Alliance is to "bridge the VoIP islands," bringing down the cost of IP communications through mutual-interest-based partnerships, and to grow members' revenue streams by increasing their traffic and making it cheaper easier to support advanced IP technologies gaining traction in the marketplace, such as HD voice, video, instant messaging, and presence.

"The new Global Alliance will simplify our interconnection process; reduce our transit charges; and enable us to introduce new, rich multi-modal, real-time communications services, such as our video phone calling with HD voice," said Alan Duric, CEO of Alliance member Telio.

"We are excited by the partnering opportunities and the peering competence and flexibility XConnect brings to the table, which enable us to create custom peering relationships with other, comparable networks in Scandanavia and globally," Duric continued.

As mentioned, the Portal will make available tools for putting together policy agreements, including, now, an option for 'settlement-free' peering. Alliance Out and In options will let members route their outbound traffic via XConnect, based on a standard per-minute billing model, and/or accept and terminating incoming traffic from the PSTN for increased revenue flow.

Finally, the Alliance has added a "Web 2.0 and Voice over IM" peering option that lets service providers extend subscribers' free calling reach into VoIM communities, such as GoogleTalk.

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