Siemens AG has joined the partnership already existing between Nominum Inc, an ISV that develops DNS and DHCP server software for carriers, and session border control, SBC, vendor Acme Packet Inc for the promotion of VoIP peering.
VoIP peering is technology that joins up individual islands of VoIP telephony so as to bypass traditional circuit-switched networks. Seamus Hourihan, VP of marketing and product development for Burlington, Massachusetts-based Acme, said the initial thrust behind it has been the cable companies that want to stop putting money in the RBOCs’ pockets by avoiding the need to go onto the PSTN network. He said this trend started in the US, but is also happening in other countries such as the Netherlands.
Taking PSTN networks out of the equation for VoIP traffic will mean knowing on whose network it is at any given moment, so that if a problem occurs it can be determined whose responsibility it is. It is for this purpose that all the VoIP carriers in the chain will need SBCs from a company like Acme, and since most of the callers and called subscribers will probably be using traditional phone numbers rather than the URIs that typify VoIP, there will be a need for an ENUM server to tie one to the other, which is where Redwood City, California-based Nominum comes in.
Without an SBC, the media traffic travels directly between the VoIP phones. Some SBCs also allow VoIP calls to be set up between phones using different signaling protocols such as SIP, H.323, or Megaco/MGCP, and transcode between different codecs.
ENUM meanwhile is an IETF standard resulting from a joint effort by Telecordia and VeriSign. It uses the domain name system to map telephone numbers to domain names or URIs. Its goal is to provide a single number to replace the multiple numbers and addresses for an individual’s home phone, business phone, fax, cell phone, and email. Tom Tovar, VP of worldwide sales and business development at Nominum, said that while ENUM began as phone number-to-URI mapping only, it has now evolved. It’s now about mapping directory functions for next-generation networks and an aggregation point for VoIP, MMS, and other IP services, as well as for traditional data services from third parties or incumbents, such as local number portability, he said.
Ray DeQuiroz, product engineering director at Siemens LCBU, said the Munich, Germany-based conglomerate has already been selling Acme’s SBCs for over a year, and its entry into the partnership brings both its softswitch technology (which will now become part of the Nokia Siemens partnership for carrier networking) and the technical support of Siemens Systems Support organization. The latter will not become part of Nokia Siemens, he said, because it supports both IMS and non-IMS networks, whereas Nokia Siemens is only for the former.
Tovar said the offering is immediately available globally.