Cisco Systems Inc has filled out its IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) offering for next-generation networks (NGN), announcing a session border controller function and a real-time VoIP monitoring, as well as IMS compliance on a number of existing products for the carrier market.
IMS is an integral part of an NGN, with a spec defined by the 3GPP to enable the end-to-end IP networking of NGN architectures to enter the mobile realm and, as such, to underscore fixed-mobile convergence. The San Jose, California-based networking vendor unveiled a framework for IMS in December last year, but is now putting flesh on the bones.
Cisco announced a number of specific functions in what it refers to as the service layer, i.e. the part of an NGN sitting between the network layer, where the actual transport, aggregation and access will take place, and the application layer, where consumer and business apps will run.
The service layer is therefore the link between the two, carrying out call session control, PSTN gateways for break-in and out to non-IP voice networks and SBCs, which resolve issues of peering, latency, QoS, capacity and control for VoIP.
The announcements are:
– the SBC function on the company’s XR 12000 Series router, which in reality means that the 12000 can now also run the XR version of Cisco’s IOS operating system, developed specifically for the carrier market, according to Paolo Campoli, its director of business development for wireline in the Europe and the emerging markets.
We developed our own SBC technology rather than acquiring [as Juniper did in buying Kagoor earlier this year] because we wanted to make sure it scaled, as well as enabling cost savings for our customers, he added.
– IMS compliance for the Cisco Call Session Control Platform, or CCSP, which is technology it acquired SIP application server vendor DynamicSoft last year for the northbound interface to applications, Campoli explained. We’ve now evolved it to IMS compliance in release 3.0.
– IMS and PacketCable (the equivalent of IMS for CATV networks) compliance of the Cisco MGX 8880 Media Gateway, which enables consolidation of wired, wireless/mobile and cable networks, as well as compliance for the PGW2200 PSTN gateway and the BTS 10200 softswitch, which enables voice-over-any-broadband access, such as T1/E1, cable ETTx (Ethernet to the X, i.e. home or business) and xDSL.
– A new release (version 3.0) of the Cisco Service Control Engine (CSCE), which uses deep packet inspection and app classification for app- and subscriber-aware services. The new release provides real-time monitoring of VoIP call quality and reports on individual subscriber experience on a per-call basis, as well as integrating with third party AV, security and IDS appliances and support for 10Gb throughput.
IMS products, which tend to be software packages on discrete servers, are offered mainly from companies coming from the voice telephony side of communications, such as Nokia, Ericsson, Lucent and Nortel. However, since NGN architectures imply a move to end-to-end IP, Cisco and its peers in data networking are rising to the occasion with IMS offerings of their own.