Remember the toys called transformers that were popular with our youngsters a decade or so ago? You would start out with a toy that looked like a vehicle, move some of the parts such as the doors, hood, trunk or wheels, and presto—you end up with a new toy in the shape of a robot, and all of the parts still fit together, but in a much different shape! Tekelec, of Morrisville, North Carolina, is an example of a high tech firm that transformed itself from one area of technology and has emerged in another—next generation switching products.
Tekelec was founded in Santa Monica, California, in 1979 as a provider of electronic test and measurement equipment for telecommunications operators. Nearly a decade later, it added SS7 (definition)diagnostic systems capabilities and established its global signaling operations in Morrisville, North Carolina. In 1992, Tekelec launched its EAGLE® 5 platform, the industry’s first built-for-purpose Signal Transfer Point (STP). Tekelec expanded into the call center and switching center arena in 1999 with the acquisition of Dallas-based IEX. In 2002, the company sold its network and diagnostics division to Catapult Communications, finalizing its evolution to a network equipment provider. Soon after, Tekelec established its switching center in Dallas, Texas, with a series of strategic acquisitions that provided a deep portfolio of next-generation products, including Santera (2003), Taqua (2004) and VocalData (2004).
Today, Tekelec’s next-generation signaling, switching, and value-added applications solutions are widely deployed in traditional and next-generation wireline and wireless networks as well as contact centers, worldwide. Tekelec equipment carries more than 4 billion calls a day to more than 300 million subscribers around the globe. Tekelec’s combined switching, signaling and applications portfolio provides a unique position in the marketplace, and their transition solutions provide a clear evolution path from SS7 networks to the SIP-based networks of the future, and the deployment of the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).
The Tekelec product line focuses on three areas: next-generation switching, next-generation signaling, and communications software. Four key products are included in the switching line:
- Tekelec 9000 Distributed Switching Solution (DSS): supports the delivery of integrated IP, ATM and TDM services on a single high-capacity platform, which includes Session Border Controller functions. The platform provides an extensive suite of Class 4 and Class 5 voice and data services, and supports SIP, MGCP and MEGACO/H.248. The 9000 DSS is comprised of three separate building blocks, the 8000 Multimedia Gateway, the 3000 Multimedia Gateway Controller, and the Netscan Element Management System, that can be seamlessly integrated or function independently.
- Tekelec 8000 Wireless Multimedia Gateway: a dual-fabric wireless solution designed for migration from 2G voice networks to 3G, by starting with TDM interfaces and migrating to VoIP as the packet network grows. The gateway supports GSM, CDMA and UMTS wireless technologies, while handling both packet and circuit-switched voice traffic. Interfaces supported include T1/E1, T3, OC-3c and OC-12c.
- Tekelec 7000 Class 5 Packet Switch: is an innovative “switch on a card” design that enables operators to deploy a fully-functional Class 5 VoIP and TDM switching system with a single card. Each circuit pack provides all of the functions required for a Class 5 end-office switch, including the call processing, service logic, switch fabric, media processing and signaling. By minimizing the common equipment, the network operator can incrementally expand their network as their customer base grows.
- Tekelec 6000 Application Server: a hosted VoIP application server that enables both small and large service providers to offer advanced and web-based features to their IP Centrex, PBX, and residential VoIP subscribers.
Other products from Tekelec’s signaling and communication software lines complement the switching line described here. Further details on the Tekelec architecture and products can be found at www.tekelec.com. Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ architectures.
Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2006 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.