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Optical/IP

The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches

HANDOVER, Germany -- CeBIT 2004 -- The business case for deploying softswitches typically centers around cutting costs and generating revenues from new services. But what about the windfall gains carriers stand to make from selling off real estate?

The logic goes like this: A single softswitch can replace traditional telephone equipment in dozens of central offices, many of which sit on prime city sites. Selling off that real estate could raise a heck of a lot of money.

Softswitch vendor Veraz Networks says it knows of a big carrier that has conducted a study and come to the conclusion that real estate issues make the business case compelling for migration to next-generation networks.

The carrier in question, which Veraz declines to identify, hasn't gone ahead with the project, because it's government-owned and the consolidation of so many central offices would result in an embarrassingly large number of redundancies.

It's unclear whether it's wholly or partially government-owned, so it could be any number of operators. If you think you know, please use the message board to tell the world.

— Peter Heywood, Founding Editor, Light Reading

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fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 2:12:46 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches It's true that modern switches can save a lot of real estate. One rack of Sonus, Metaswitch, Taqua, Telica or similar switching gear can replace a roomful of 5ESS or DMS-class hardware. Having three DS3s on a board can save a lot of space compared to having one DS1 on a board!

But that's the trunk side of a switch. Home phones are still analog, and still have local loops which have to go somewhere. In a city, the lines end at a main distribution frame in a wire center. Those have to be connected to line terminators. A modern high-density line terminator may take less space than a 5ESS or DMS line module, but not anywhere near the savings that the trunk side shows -- it still needs the BORSCHT and a physical connector. Sure, they can be moved out to the field (remote DLCs) and they are, in suburban/rural areas, but in an urban area, the density's high enough to warrant a big wire center MDF.

Most ILEC CO buildings were sized for stepper or crossbar gear; a 5E is much smaller, so a lot of space has already been reclaimed. The move to softswitches will save a little more, not to mention some power, and maybe some space can be sublet, but the buildings can't go away.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:12:44 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches Even ISDN was described in this way. It was capable of bandwidth sharing that would reduce the need for centralized equipment. DQDB was a dual bus and Orwell a ring that both were proposed for operation in the MAN environment to do exactly this. The bulk of the equipment and terminations would be on customer premises.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:12:40 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches If the advent of softswitches does result in the large scale redundancies in CO technician and other positions, I wonder if there will be endless threads on engineering boards deploring that eventuality.

In order to prevent this, all engineers working on softswiches, VoIP, IP PBXs ... should immediatly down tools. We cannot let technology cost jobs.
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:12:40 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches It doesn't sound desparate to me. It addresses a cost issue for telcos and shows how the new technology can reduce that cost.
jim_smith 12/5/2012 | 2:12:40 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches Wow! I didn't know things were getting that desperate!

Dear Service Provider,

We can't convince your technical team to buy our equipment, so now we are going to try and sell it to your real estate group. Not only does our device save space, it can also be used as futuristic office furniture.

Yours deperately,
VoIP scammer.
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:12:37 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches It doesn't sound desparate to me. It addresses a cost issue for telcos and shows how the new technology can reduce that cost.
Anyone who thinks a carrier is going to factor in reduced real estate costs when evaluating a softswitch is on drugs.
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:12:37 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches Wow! I didn't know things were getting that desperate!

Dear Service Provider,

We can't convince your technical team to buy our equipment, so now we are going to try and sell it to your real estate group. Not only does our device save space, it can also be used as futuristic office furniture.

Yours deperately,
VoIP scammer.

Jim, you're a man after my own heart. Nice post. Very, very nice post!
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:12:36 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches
Anyone who thinks a carrier is going to factor in reduced real estate costs when evaluating a softswitch is on drugs


Money is money. That is what nice about it. Reduced real estate and man power cost will always be attractive.
technonerd 12/5/2012 | 2:12:35 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches Money is money. That is what nice about it. Reduced real estate and man power cost will always be attractive.
For purposes of evaluating whether to buy the equipment, the real estate "savings" will be valued at $0.00
dljvjbsl 12/5/2012 | 2:12:32 AM
re: The Real (Estate) Value of Softswitches
For purposes of evaluating whether to buy the equipment, the real estate "savings" will be valued at $0.00


I doubt that very much. Money is money.

I know that there are bureaucratic elements within any organization that will resist change however beneficial. However they will have to come up with different reasons than the saving of money.
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