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Video services

Alcatel Launches Service Manager

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – Alcatel (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) today became the latest major vendor to highlight the growing importance of policy control as carriers adopt triple-play strategies, with the launch of a new piece of software, the 5750 Subscriber Services Controller (SSC). (See Alcatel Launches Its 5750 SSC.)

The SSC is being integrated into various Alcatel metro node products, namely the 7450 Ethernet switch, the 7750 Service Router, and the 5620 Service Aware Manager (SAM). It allows the carrier to manage subscriber services, and also enables customers to self-provision services from customer profile Web pages -- for example, increasing bandwidth or switching to a high-definition video stream to view a sporting event on TV.

Service creation and management, especially involving service delivery platforms (SDPs), is a hot topic here at Supercomm, as carriers look for ways to better manage and control the multimedia services they're starting to deliver to their broadband customers.

Policy control is one of the key elements in an SDP, the emerging multi-element architecture that is gaining carrier traction and pulling major names from the IT sector into the telecom sector (see AT&T Adopts Microsoft's SDP, SDP Costs Get a Grilling, and Carriers Buy Into SDPs).

That in turn is bringing policy management specialists such as Tazz Networks Inc. and Bridgewater Systems Corp. more into the limelight (see Tazz Welcomes May in June, Acme Supports Policy Servers, Bridgewater Unveils Authorization Server , and Tazz Pockets Another $6M).

And it's Bridgewater that's providing the guts of Alcatel's SSC. Its Dynamic Broadband Manager and AAA Service Controller, which enables access to services across multiple access networks, provide the centralized management of subscriber and services profiles and, by communicating with multiple network elements, such as DSLAMs B-RASs, and video servers, offer network policy control of bandwidth, security, and QOS.

"Carriers need to be able to manage the distributed intelligence they now find in their Ethernet aggregation switches, broadband routers, and DSLAMs from a central point," says Lindsay Newell, marketing VP at Alcatel's IP division.

"This is a new development for us from a triple-play perspective," adds Chad Holliday, director of product marketing, network and service management, at the vendor's IP division. "It allows the customization and personalization of services, and the ability to target certain services and advertising to subsets of the customer base."

It's also highly scaleable: It can manage up to 50 million subscribers and handle about 9,000 transactions per second, says Holliday, who adds that the product will become commercially available in August.

The product launch spells good news for Bridgewater, which is already experiencing significant growth and which announced a number of relationships with deep packet inspection vendors today (see Bridgewater Revenues Up 43% and Bridgewater Teams With DPI Vendors).

"This relationship is important to us, but it's of greater importance to Alcatel," says Tyler Nelson, Bridgewater's VP of business development and marketing. "One of the challenges Alcatel has faced has been in persuading the market that they can control subscriber access and bandwidth management. The SSC is vital to its triple-play solution."

He says the SSC was jointly developed by the two companies, which have a history of working together. "Alcatel is already a reseller of our whole product line," says Nelson, adding that his company has similar relationships with Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), Starent Networks Corp., and UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSIE).

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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