VoIP access gateway marks AudioCodes' entrance to cable
As cable providers continue on their path toward offering more and more telco-related services-i.e. adding telephony to their service bundle-new players from traditional telecommunications vendors will be looking to cross-pollinate into the cable market.
Voice-over-packet technology provider AudioCodes can be counted among them, and the company is announcing a family of media gateways dedicated to the burgeoning cable telephony market. AudioCodes has unveiled its Mediant Cable Access Gateway family, a line of standards-based V5.2 and packet cable telephony media gateways, which offer to operators a platform to do telephony services over either legacy circuit-switched or softswitch environments.
The new Mediant family of gateways is divided into three distinct platforms, from an entry-level 1U chassis system to a full-scale, carrier-class packet telephony solution for high-density operator applications. To meet varying demand for the differing kinds of cable telephony platforms operators initially are offering, the entire family allows for migration from V5.2 to softswitch controlled voice networks.
"There are basically two parts to this market. MSOs that either have class 5 switches or access to class 5 switches that want to take advantage of that … They'll go with packet telephony and leverage our V5.2 solution," explains Ben Rabinowitz, vice president of the systems group at AudioCodes. "Then, in more of the greenfield build-outs, we're seeing more and more acceptance that the softswitches are just about ready, and the MSOs want the Media Gateway softswitch solution."
Support for legacy and future telephony platforms is key in solutions tailored to cable operators today. While IP-based telephony certainly is the wave of the future, some MSOs will be doing telephony over class 5 switches for some time to come.
"We don't expect an MSO that owns a class 5 switch and is operating telephony services through that switch will replace it at this point," adds Walter Shallev, AudioCodes' vice president of sales for cable access systems. "The switches tend to last a long time and have a long amortization period. And from an operational point-of-view, (MSOs) tend to be a bit conservative, and because of other operational and back office considerations, they would consider offering telephony, but through their class 5 switch."
After launching the Mediant family publicly, AudioCodes hopes to test the platform with select MSO partners later this year, though no announcements of MSO partnerships could be made public so far.