Comcast Sets Key Vendor Lineup

Over the past two months, Comcast Corp. has identified 11 key vendors for its planned rollout of Internet-protocol telephony. Now its vendor lineup is nearly complete.

The Philadelphia-based MSO had tapped Arris Group Inc. for the Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification 1.1. cable-modem termination system gear; Syndeo Corp. as soft-switch provider; and Arris, Motorola Inc. and Terayon Communication Systems Inc. for the embedded multimedia terminal adapters.

In addition to Arris and Syndeo, IP Unity will supply its Harmony6000 Media Server platform for automated announcements and unified messaging.

Lucent Technologies' Vital-Access software will provision the customer-service equipment, while BayPackets Inc.'s RSI Mediate recordkeeping server will process calls and create records for billing and revenue assurance.

Nuera Communications Inc.'s ORCA media gateway will provide the interface for voice traffic between the cable plant and the public switched-telephone network, and Intel Corp. will provide its SS7 signal-interface unit.

Convergys Corp. will provide the billing system.

Sigma Systems' service management portfolio will automate the flow-through provisioning between Convergys, Syndeo, Lucent and IP Unity.

The Comcast deal is certainly a big win for Arris, and its C4 CMTS line.

"One objective of the early deployment is to make sure the math calculating traffic are correct," said Arris vice president of marketing Stan Brovont. "We'll know how to blend voice and data traffic on a common CMTS."

Syndeo was founded in 1999, and has drawn seed capital from AOL Time Warner Inc., Cox Communications Inc., Rogers Communications Inc. and Shaw Communications, said CEO Ted Griggs.

The Syndeo soft switch has 29 features, Griggs said. Calls flow through the cable plant CMTS and media gateway to Syndeo's switch.

"We get the message and see where the call needs to go," Griggs said.

The softswitch decides which trunking gateway to send the call over, signaling the public switched-telephone network to ring the phone at the other end.