Clarent brings voice over IP to the local loop

Clarent brings voice over IP to the local loop

Clarent Corp last week announced two products that could help put bundled IP voice and data offerings on service providers' menus.

The voice-over-IP equipment firm will introduce a new softswitch and customer premises gateways for delivering voice-over-IP services to small and midsize companies and into multitenant buildings.

The softswitch and gateways, deployed in a central office and customer site, can provide firms with voice-over-IP services over standard Ethernet wiring in a building, or over regular phone wiring through very-high bit rate DSL (VDSL) technology.

Clarent's Customer Premises Gateway is designed to sit in a multitenant building and connect users with IP voice through Ethernet, VDSL or cable modems. The gateways can connect up to four standard telephones with RJ-11 connections.

The softswitch combines Clarent's Call Manager and Command Center software products into a hardware platform that acts like a Class 5 telecom switch. The device would sit in a service provider's central office and connect customer sites to the public switched telephone network or other Clarent Trunking Gateways for connecting to the Internet.

Clarent has fared well in selling voice-over-IP gateways for use in the network core of packet telephony providers. The company's gateway products handled the most phone-to-phone IP telephony call volume in 2000, with 31.6 per cent of the 1.3 billion worldwide minutes, according to a study by research firm iLocus, beating out Cisco and Vocaltec.

One analyst sees Clarent's move into the local loop as a smart move, as more and more small and midsize businesses are starting to look for converged voice/data services from their carriers.

"Service providers are generally recognising that packetised voice will be the way for them to gain revenue" by selling voice minutes, says Christin Flynn, an analyst with The Yankee Group.

The OpenAccess equipment is available now and will cost between $US150 to $350 per end user, according to the company. More information is available from Clarent's Web

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