Vendor Network Architectures�Part XVI: Emergent Network Solutions

This week we look at Emergent Network Solutions (ENS), a relatively new firm located in Allen, Texas, which was formed by the core engineering team that developed the Lucent ExchangePlus toll tandem, IP, and international gateway. ENS focuses on the carrier, service provider, and system integrator marketplace, and has developed a suite of software products for converged network applications. The ENS architecture is called ENTICE, an acronym which stands for Emergent Networks Telecommunications Infrastructure Control Environment, which is designed to interface with both existing and new networks, providing control services and application support. The ENTICE products are applicable to both existing TDM and IP networks, and provide a number of key services, including switching, protocol conversions, and gateway functions. These software applications run on almost any platform that support the SUN Solaris or Linux environments, and can scale to very large systems supporting over 100,000 ports.

Emergent claims to be the pioneer in combining softswitches and session controllers into a single solution, which allows calls to progress seamlessly through Network Address Translation (NAT) devices, firewalls, the Internet, and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The ENTICE product line consists of a number of different software modules which can be used separately, or combined into a larger system for increased functionality. The modules include:

  • ENTICE E-REV: the Residential/Enterprise VoIP module is a single solution that provides all of the capabilities that carriers require to deliver end-to-end VoIP services to their customers. The system includes support for Signaling System 7 (SS7), Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), Channel Associated Signaling (CAS), Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), plus the H.323 and H.248 protocols, and can scale to over 500,000 subscribers.
  • ENTICE Softswitch: provides carrier-grade call control, translations, routing, and element provisioning for a network that may include SIP, H.323, or H.248 elements, including endpoints, gateways, and gatekeepers. The system is designed to function as a standalone softswitch, or interoperate with other softswitches, and control a network of over 100,000 calls. The softswitch includes H.323 gatekeeper functionality, and can therefore interoperate with other H.323 gatekeeper/gateway devices, thus providing a full spectrum of routing, translation, and screening capabilities for H.323 traffic. It also includes SIP Proxy/Redirect services, which provide similar functions for SIP traffic. As a result, the ENTICE softswitch can translate both SIP to H.323 and H.323 to SIP, and provide interoperation between these protocols, and provide a unified environment for applications and services.
  • ENTICE Session Controller: is a carrier-centric system that addresses the challenges of building new VoIP networks, or interconnecting networks of VoIP equipment. Its functions include H.323 gatekeeper and gateway; SIP Proxy, Redirect, and Back-to-Back User Agent services; H.323/SIP protocol conversion and interoperation; media monitoring, grooming, and redirection; security and NAT services; and dynamic least-cost routing.
  • ENTICE Tandem/International Gateway: is designed for carriers that are deploying equipment that is equally capable in both the existing circuit-switched network using Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) and packet-switched networks using the Internet Protocol (IP). The gateway allows these two types of networks to be interfaced, with equal processing of TDM/TDM, IP/TDM or IP/IP traffic. The ENTICE gateway solution provides carrier-grade call control, translations, routing, plus administrative services for TDM/TDM and TDM/IP processing, with capacities ranging from 384 to over 28,000 ports. With the addition of the ENTICE Session Controller module, IP/IP traffic can also be processed, and the capacity expanded to over 100,000 ports. The gateway can interwork with any network that is controlled by SS7, ISDN, or CAS, or is an H.323 or SIP-based network.

    Further details on the Emergent Network Solutions ENTICE 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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