Juniper adds more voice-related services to portfolio

Juniper Networks is adding more voice and multimedia services to its routers and gateways through plug-in cards and software updates.

For service providers trying to provide better voice over IP service, it has come up with software-based session border control and security for the modules that plug into its MX-, M- and T-series routers.

In addition, it has built new hardware and software features for Juniper gear to help organizations shift from TDM to IP-based systems.

The VoIP solution for service providers is dubbed the Integrated Multiservice Gateway, according to Tom Dimicelli, a Juniper product marketing manager.

“In order to have a good VoIP deployment, you need session border control equipment (SBC)within the network, which provides setup and tear down of calls as well as call transport,” he said in an interview. In some networks these functions have to be run from separate border control appliances, which can be inefficient. In addition, providers may also have a security device to protect that appliance, he said, which increases complexity.

Juniper has combined SBC and security functions in software for previously released blades that can be plugged into three of its routers. The MS-DPS blade is for the MX-series Ethernet services router, while the MS-PIC is for the M-series multiservice edge and T-series core routers.

Adding services to blades is a strategy that a number of infrastructure manufacturers are adopting, including Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard ProCurve.

The advantage of using a blade module is that the added functions don’t take away processing cycles from the routing or forwarding planes, said Dimicelli. The cards “permits an efficient way to reduce the risk of new service deployment,” he said. “If a service provider wants to introduce a new service like session border control or VoIP in a traditional [network] model, they would have to qualify another vendor, another piece of equipment [an SBC appliance] and have to dedicate interfaces and interconnects to accommodate the new device.” Arguably, he said, over time what could start out as a small deployment becomes something that takes a lot of time as service scales up.

As with other software on the modules, such as a stateful firewall, Juniper’s session border control and security features are separately enabled and can be expanded in increments as demand increases. Pricing starts at US$5,000 for each service and goes up from there, based on the number of sessions and subscribers.

The company also announced help for organizations still using legacy voice infrastructure and time-division multiplexed (TDM) circuit-based networking equipment who want to shift to an IP-based network.

“The number of folks using circuit-based infrastructure is actually quite large,” said Dimicelli. But “as more of the world goes to packet-based networks and the leased lines and circuits have become much more expensive to operate, there is a benefit in many cases to moving over to the packet-based networks.

Instead of replacing their Juniper gear, the company has come up with hardware and software bridging alternatives. For those using the CTP series routers, which enable a pseudo-wire-service across the IP network, Juniper has created new Voice Modules and software updates providing analogue voice, voice compression and echo cancellation. These allow the transport of voice, serial data and TDM-based services over an IP/MPLS network.

Similarly, the M-series gains Circuit Emulation Physical Interface Cards, while the BX series Multi-Access Gateways now includes support for TDM voice and data transport over an IP/MPLS network.

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