Vendor Network Architectures�Part XV: Thomson-CIRPACK

For our next examination of vendor architectures, we stay on the European side of the Atlantic, but this time pay a visit to CIRPACK, a division of Thomson Telecom, located in Paris, France. The Thomson group provides technologies, systems, and services that are focused on their media and entertainment clients, with a special emphasis on the distribution and use of voice, data, and video content. Thomson’s customers are content creators, such as movie studios and game developers; content distributors, such as broadcasters, network operators, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and users of multiple play technologies. Thomson employs over 30,000 individuals in 30 countries, with annual revenues of €5.8B (approximately $6.9B).

Thomson’s CIRPACK business unit supplies softswitch solutions to service providers, allowing them to offer VoIP services and migrate existing legacy networks to next generation network (NGN) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based infrastructures. CIRPACK switches have been around since 1997. They are currently used by 70 telecom service providers in 25 countries, including in France, T-Online in Germany, and Telecom Italia in Italy, and presently carry several billion minutes of traffic per month. The CIRPACK switch has been widely deployed in multivendor networks and successfully integrated with systems from Alcatel, Cisco, Ericsson, Lucent, Nortel, Nokia, and Siemens, to name but a few. It has been approved in over 20 countries for interconnection with the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

The CIRPACK product architecture is based upon a Universal Telephony Platform that enables different switching products to support a number of local loop and core network technologies, including TDM, ATM, and IP. This design allows service providers to select the most effective technology for the application, and to scale that application for the greatest financial leverage. This platform supports the following CIRPACK products:

  • CIRPACK LEN: is a Class-5 Local Exchange Node (LEN)—a low-cost Class-4 plus Class-5 device that provides advanced subscriber services across any TDM, ATM, or IP local loop. The LEN offers a number of copper and fiber interfaces, including E1, SDH, ATM AAL1/AAL2, and Ethernet, and is designed in a shelf-mounting unit that can support up to 200 E1 circuits. It delivers POTS (plain old telephone service), plus Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) Basic Rate Interface (BRI) and Primary Rate Interface (PRI) services over TDM, ATM, and IP local loops, and includes native support for VoIP, VoDSL, and VoCable.
  • CIRPACK TN: is a Class-4 Transit Node (TN), used to interconnect Class-4 and Class-5 switches with either ISDN or Signaling System 7 (SS7) interfaces.
  • CIRPACK HVS: is a High Velocity Softswitch (HVS) that is capable of handling up to 5,000,000 Busy Hour Call Attempts (BHCA). The softswitch is based upon an IBM eServer xSeries cluster, and is designed to meet the scalability requirements of service providers that must address a large voice infrastructure with variable traffic demands. The HVS supports many telephony protocols, including POTS, ISDN BRI/PRI, SIP, MGCP, and H.323, using DSL, cable, wireless, E1, SDH, and Ethernet transport technologies.
  • CIRPACK Multinode: is a highly scalable next generation public telephony switch designed to replace existing TDM local exchange and transit switches. It can support from 500 to 6,000 E1 interfaces, with simultaneous support of IP, TDM, and ATM traffic and protocols.
  • CIRPACK G16S: is a carrier-class SIP Gateway to link a service provider’s SIP domain with the PSTN. The Gateway converts VoIP traffic to TDM circuits or ATM cells, and also connects those next generation networks to local loops or core backbone networks. It is designed for carrier-grade applications, with 99.999 percent availability, and support for key VoIP and telephony protocols and interfaces.

Further details on the Thomson-CIRPACK architecture and products can be found at 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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