Who Makes What: Evolving SIP Application Servers
A couple of the most recent Who Makes Whats – Who Makes What: Telecom Service Brokers and Who Makes What: RESTful Service Delivery Platforms – cover two closely related aspects of Light Reading’s latest breathless discovery: Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT). To help round off that call to arms, this Who Makes What takes a look at another related and very topical part of the telecom application/service story: the SIP Application Server (AS).
“Interest in SIP Application Servers is definitely taking center stage now, given that most telecom services are being pushed due to market dynamics and technology evolution to all-IP networks,” says Shubh Agarwal, VP of marketing at Mavenir Systems Inc. “That is definitely pushing a need for operators to look at deploying services in an IP environment. And whether we love or hate SIP and IMS, that seems to be the only global standard that provides all the capabilities to deploy a telco-grade network.”
What the SIP AS does
The SIP AS can serve in a number of roles in the telecom environment, providing advanced services across legacy and NGN architectures. For example, Nortel Networks Ltd. CVAS (now part of Genband Inc. ) notes the following:
- SIP AS as a telephony application server for traditional voice services but with capabilities for advanced multimedia/FMC services.
- SIP AS as an overlay to legacy TDM networks. For example, the company’s Converged Desktop configuration allows unified communications services to be offered to TDM Centrex customers while retaining their TDM phones.
- SIP AS as an overlay to 2G/3G mobile networks to provide advanced multimedia services where the customer uses his mobile phone for voice. For example, controlling and enriching mobile voice calls with a laptop client in parallel, irrespective of the mobile phone model used. The SIP AS can also be used to handle voice call continuity between cellular circuit voice and fixed or mobile broadband VOIP.
- Evolution to IMS AS. The Nortel CVAS architecture, for example, allows the SIP AS to provide a transition path to IMS because the underlying Adaptive Application Engine can serve both SIP AS and IMS AS lines simultaneously.
- SIP AS for Web services/programability by providing the environment to enable communications functions (such as Click to Call) to be embedded in Web pages or third-party applications. An example is the ability for third-party applications to access triggers within the SIP call flow.
“It’s all over the place, really. Europe is much more advanced in terms of saying we have full-IMS-types of networks. In the US the only wireline one that I am aware of that talks a really good IMS story right now might be AT&T’s U-verse solution,” says Steve Gleave, Carrier Systems Division Marketing, Metaswitch Networks . “In cable, we are obviously seeing it with our PacketCable 2.0 guys, but, with our incumbent customers, most of them are IMS-aware but are not deploying a disaggregated IMS model right now.”
As Caroline Chappell pointed out in her Light Reading August 2009 Services Software Insider, "Telco App Servers: NGIN Revs Up for a Serious Run at SIP":
- At one point, it looked as though CSPs [Communications Service Providers] would redevelop communications services and network assets using next-generation technologies and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) app servers to facilitate their exposure to Java EE and Web 2.0 developers... As a result of the global economic downturn, many operators are looking at ways of leveraging their existing IN services and legacy network assets, making them available to third-party developers without having to redevelop them in SIP... The longevity of Intelligent Network (IN) services, legacy network assets, and growing operator emphasis on service interoperability between networks is leading several key vendors of service-layer technology to re-evaluate their market offers. Alcatel-Lucent and HP, for example, are redoubling their efforts to support legacy IN customers with new service platforms that can support operators as they migrate to an NGN.
Here’s a hyperlinked contents list:
- Page 2: Some Environmental Points
- Page 3: Vendors & Products
- Page 4: Vendor Angles & Activities I
- Page 5: Vendor Angles & Activities II
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