VoIP Systems

Genband Plays Name Game With Nortel Set

Genband Inc. is today unveiling its updated product portfolio following the $282 million acquisition of the Nortel Networks Ltd. Carrier VoIP and Application Solutions (CVAS) business. (See The New Genband: Day One, Genband Wins Nortel's Carrier VoIP Biz, Genband CEO Sees Opportunity in a Complex Deal, and Charles Vogt, CEO, Genband.)

A few Nortel products are being renamed under the Genband single-letter convention ("C" for call center stuff, "G" for gateways, etc.) Others are still being offered but will gradually be replaced. For example, Nortel's MG 15000 gateway media gateway will survive in "sustaining mode," eventually giving way to Genband's flagship G9, says CEO Charlie Vogt.

Table 1: Genband's New Product Names
Old (Nortel) Name New (Genband) Name Function
Adaptive Application Engine (A2E) A2 SIP application servers
WMG 6000 A6 Call center routing
CS 1500 C15 Softswitch
MG 9000 unchanged Media gateway
MG 15000 unchanged Media gateway
Source: Genband

One new product being announced is the C20 softswitch, an update of Nortel's Communication Server (CS) 2000. While the CS 2000 will still be offered, the C20 offers the usual next-generation benefits of higher capacity and a smaller box size.

The C20 also introduces Genius, Genband's AdvancedTCA (ATCA) platform that will be the basis of all future IP products.

Genband describes these products as a complete package for IMS, or next-generation VoIP networks. Much has been made of the additions Nortel brings to Genband, but Vogt says Genband filled a critical gap for Nortel as well -- meaning, Nortel lacked access gateways.

Genband officials have already delivered details of the new portfolio to sales staff in North America, who met in Plano, Texas, last week. The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) sales team was briefed in London the previous week, while the Asia/Pacific crew is meeting this week in Hong Kong.

What's harder to quantify, but still instrumental to Genband's future, is the range and depth of professional services the company plans to provide. Vogt describes services as a key piece of the Nortel CVAS deal, citing Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) as that business's star customer.

The CEO expects services to become even more crucial as carriers more aggressively migrate networks from TDM to IP: Many service providers lack the IP expertise needed to perform that switchover.

"Our services organization represents almost about 30 percent of our business," Vogt says. "We're going to put a huge emphasis on IP services."

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

cyber74 12/5/2012 | 4:31:29 PM
re: Genband Plays Name Game With Nortel Set

Nortel didn't have an access gateway because former CEO John Roth decided to divest Nortel's access business in 2001. Roth believed that the future of access was 100% fiber. That's just one of a hundred strategic mistakes that drove Nortel into bankruptcy.

Unless I'm mistaken, Genband isn't really in the access business -- except for the POTS-centric MG 9000 from Nortel CVAS. Genband doesn't have an organic IP DSLAM, MSAN, BLC, or ONT. Instead, Genband simply interfaces with the GR-303 northbound from one of those.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:31:27 PM
re: Genband Plays Name Game With Nortel Set

"Access gateway" doesn't refer access, as in PON or DSL -- Vogt is talking about the G2 and G6: TDM-to-IP trunking gateways. Genband calls them access gateways.

But your point about Nortel abandoning non-fiber access is a good one. Along similar lines, Vogt mentioned during the interview that Genband is in no hurry to drop media gateways in favor of session border controllers, because the media gateways (according to him) continue to set revenue records for Genband.

cyber74 12/5/2012 | 4:31:26 PM
re: Genband Plays Name Game With Nortel Set

Don't you love VoIP in the carrier space. 10 years later, and terms still mean different things to different people. A TDM-IP trunk gateway sized to handle a handful of DS-1's could be called simply a "small trunk gateway".

Nortel never developed direct GR-303 support on any of its large trunk gateways... yet another portfolio blunder. Instead the MG 9000 chosen for that. 

Large trunk gateways are cash cows. Every year somebody would stand up and say, "This is the year when SBCs will kill our trunk gateway sales". Hasn't happened yet.


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