SWITCHES: Solutions for Small Markets

VoicenData Bureau
New Update

Service providers targeting small towns and rural communities across the

world face a common problem: how to offer a viable service (in new areas) and

get new value-added services to small communities in places where some kind of

basic telecom services are already being offered? The same is true for India




the kind of business model a service provider follows is important in this

context, also important is the choice of the right technology or solutions.

Overall, most service providers want two things–any solution that they deploy

should involve low capex and opex (so that cost of failure is low) and the

solution should be scalable enough to let them start on a scale (starting low

should not mean too high per subscriber opex) they want and grow as the demand

grows. Here, we have listed solutions from three vendors who claim to address

the problem:

Lucent Technologies: The company recently introduced three new small

switching solutions specifically targeted at service providers who need less

than 5,000 lines. According to the vendor, service providers can use the

offerings–the VCDX 2400, VCDX 4700 and the 5E-XC Remote Line Unit–to

supplant existing switches that need replacement or to enter new markets to

provide residential and business voice services to small towns and rural

communities. It also claimed that the new solutions would make it possible for

service providers to provide advanced telecommunications services including IP

Centrex, Web-based contact centers and Internet Call Waiting to business and

residential customers in small communities. Both VCDX 2400 and VCDX 4700 provide

the service provider with turnkey solutions (hardware, software, engineering

services, installation services and program management services) and enable them

to serve approximately 2,400 and 4,700 subscribers respectively. These offerings

complement the current product models that serve up to 28,000 subscribers. The

5E-XC Remote Line Unit supports up to 3,000 subscribers and runs off a host

5E-XC switch. The remote line unit can now provide emergency standalone

capability, allowing the unit to continue to switch 911 and intra-community

calls if there’s an interruption in the line to the host switch.

Nortel Networks: Earlier, in December 2002, Nortel Networks, under its

network evolution roadmap for rural markets, had announced deployment of

additional functionality for the DMS-10, Succession Communications Server 2000–Compact,

Succession Media Gateway 9000, Passport 7480, and Pasport 15000 multiservice

switches. The additional functionalities, it is claimed, would offer service

providers in rural markets a logical, cost-effective evolution to voice over

packet, when ready, while still getting the latest and greatest revenue

enhancing feature sets for the existing TDM-based networks. With the migration

to a proven packet solution, rural subscribers can be offered the same

high-quality, high-speed Internet services available in neighboring urban

centers. The DMS-10 system is a carrier-class central office switching platform

offering service options ranging from simple dial tone to advanced voice and

data networking services. Designed for small to medium applications, the DMS-10

can provide 320 ISDN PRI links or more than 20,000 lines. When needed, the

DMS-10 can evolve from TDM to next-generation packet networking.


UTStarcom: UTStarcom’s IP-based mSwitch is a cost-effective, flexible, and

highly scalable switching infrastructure that supports voice and data services

over wireline and wireless networks. As the switch is highly scalable (it can be

deployed to support 10,000 to 10 million subscribers), service providers can

also try it out in rural areas and small towns. Service operators can also use

it to migrate their traditional voice-based TDM networks to next-generation,

IP-based packet switching architecture. By supporting PSTN and softswitch

protocols, the mSwitch seamlessly bridges the gap between existing

circuit-switched platform and next-generation packet-switched network


The mSwitch is often bundled into UTStarcom’s IP-based Personal Access

System (iPAS) wireless-access network, which enables operators to offer a

complete set of wireline services while migrating to an IP-based wireless

network. However, the mSwitch can also be deployed as a separate system and is

getting significant interest from service providers to be used for additional

applications. "UTStarcom has found great success in deploying its mSwitch

product to developing telecommunications markets that require flexible,

cost-effective solutions," Kevin Mitchell, directing analyst (service

provider networks), Infonetics Research, an international market research and

consulting firm covering the networking and telecommunications industries, said.

The product is widely deployed in China and many other emerging telecom markets.

Ravi Shekhar Pandey