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Genband balances end-to-end, best-of-breed in post-Nortel product road map

A focus on pragmatic IMS and moving software apps to common ACTA hardware platform are among the highlights.

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Genband today teed up a now more complete, end-to-end IP multimedia subsystem product portfolio that also features what it believes are several best-of-breed elements that will appeal even to service providers that have already placed their IMS bets.

The product road map comes weeks after Genband formally closed its acquisition of Nortel’s CVAS – carrier voice-over-IP (VoIP) and app server – business, a move that nearly quadrupled the company in size while giving it a clear focus on helping carriers migrate their legacy TDM networks to IP.

Among the product highlights unveiled today is the Genband GENiUS platform, an all-IP ACTA server platform that will underlie its application, call control, session border and security solutions. Beyond that, Genband laid out its integrated product line in this way:

Nortel’s session initiation protocol application server, a key pickup in the acquisition, has been renamed the A2, while Nortel’s Wireless Call Continuity Platform was renamed the A6.

In the call control area, Genband’s existing C-3 platform is joined by Nortel’s softswitch platform, the CS 1500, and renamed the CS15, while Genband also introduced a new higher capacity switch based on the Nortel platform CS 2000, now called the CS 20. Both the CS20 and CS15 will support both access and media gateway control Functions (AGCF / MGCF) while the C-3 will support media gateway control functions.

In gateways, the vendor will offer the Genband G2 and G2 Universal Gateways and G9 Converged Gateway, as well as continue for the time being to offer the former Nortel CVAS MG 9000 and MG 15000 media gateways.

In the security area, Genband’s offers the S3 and S9 Session Border Controllers (SBCs) and the SR3 Session Router. Meanwhile, the S2 Security Gateway is targeted at fixed/mobile convergence solutions such as mobile data offload.

Beyond those product details, Genband executives stressed several key themes as the vendor moves forward, including balancing the need to serve existing Genband and Nortel customers – now 600 service providers worldwide – by continuing to maintain existing products, while at the same time focusing strongly on a goal of helping those customers simplify how they deploy IMS-based networks in the future, said Mehmet Balos, chief marketing officer for Genband.

Indeed, Genband’s challenge is to make the most of its new-found reach and service capabilities to challenge larger vendors like Ericssion, Alcatel-Lucent or Nokia Siemens Networks head-on for end-to-end IMS deals, while simultaneously innovating in key areas where it believes its individual products and the decoupled nature of the IMS architecture can help it win best-of-breed network element deals, as well.

“Our IMS strategy is something we have thought through over and over,” Balos said, noting that service providers in recent years have sought to balance the need for a strong, over-arching IMS vision with the requirement to move quickly to deploy IMS network elements that would support new services and deliver new revenues today.

To address that reality, Genband has focused on specific “IMS zones,” or areas within the larger IMS architecture where it believes it delivers solutions that the larger, systems integrator-style network equipment vendors don’t have. Balos pointed to three IMS zones in particular: the access zone, or the migration of Class 5 PSTN features to an IMS architecture; the media resources zone, where Genband has strengths in media gateways; and the interconnect zone, where it believes it can deliver best-of-breed SBCs to compete with other specialists like Acme Packet.

And while Genband will work that best-of-breed strategy to compete at the high end, it believes it now also has a more complete product set and most importantly new sales, marketing, and services strength and resources to beat its more traditional rivals – such as Sonus or Metaswitch – at the lower end of the VoIP/IMS market, as well, Balos said.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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