Newport Gets IMS

Session border controller vendor Newport Networks Ltd. (London: NNG) has joined the IMS fan club, and will be preaching the technology at next week's VON event in Boston.

The British firm, which sells VOIP gear, listed in London in 2004 before it had any product or customers (see Session Controller IPO Scores Success). It will announce on Monday that its 1460 session controller is "IMS ready," as it has physically separated the product's signaling and media functions, a requirement of the standards-based IMS architecture.

IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), in case you hadn't heard, has emerged as the carriers' great hope for fixed/mobile services convergence, and will likely be the acronym de jour amongst next week's Massachusetts throng (see IMS Guide and IMS Crunch Time).

And it's vital to be seen as part of the IMS set, says Newport's marketing chief Mike Wilkinson. "If you're talking to carriers these days, fixed or mobile, they all ask about IMS. There isn't an RFP that doesn't include it."

So what else has Newport been up to? For a company that has Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers as its target market, its customer list is, well, sadly lacking (see Itegranet Uses Newport's SBC ).

Wilkinson says engagements with major carriers are ongoing, but that with the firm's latest financials set to be announced on September 27, the London Stock Exchange's quiet period regulations mean he can't comment any further.

He says major opportunities are becoming more frequent now that VOIP uptake is picking up and service providers are having to deal with concurrent user calls in the tens of thousands, rather than just hundreds. That sort of pressure is, apparently, causing some VOIP operators a lot of problems (see SunRocket Misfires Again).

Well, what about the competition then? Who else is out there jostling for the big carriers' bucks? Wilkinson says Newport sees Acme Packet, Netrake Corp., and NexTone Communications Inc. the most. He adds that Kagoor Networks has dropped out of the picture since its acquisition, "so it looks like that technology's being assimilated into Juniper Networks Inc.'s gear." (See Juniper to Acquire Kagoor.)

Session border controllers are one of many bright spots in the VOIP equipment market, which is growing fast (see VOIP Equipment Revenue Up 18%). Infonetics Research Inc. estimates that the session border controller market will be worth $430 million a year by 2007.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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