Siemens Calls Cablevision

Two weeks ago, Siemens Carrier Networks received PacketCable certification from Cable Television Laboratories Inc. for its call-management server, or softswitch, for voice-over-Internet protocol applications.

Meanwhile, the company continues to make inroads into the U.S. cable market. When Cablevision Systems Corp. launched VoIP late last year, the MSO deployed Siemens’ SURPASS hiQ 8000 softswitch and the SURPASS hiG 1200 media gateway to handle calls.

The MSO, Siemens’ sole operator client, is adding thousands of subscribers a week as an adjunct service to its cable modem deployment.

“We clearly designed this for this kind of capacity,” said Siemens vice president of marketing Susan Schramm.

“There are a lot of lessons to learn,” she added, including “scalability, and making sure you have the right performance monitoring.”

“We created a performance monitoring system [to] look at voice traffic. Everybody is going to have to manage the balance.”

The SURPASS hiQ8000 product provides integrated functions, including a call-management server, media gateway controller and signaling gateway, and it is compatible with the Solaris and Linux operating systems.

It’s scalable to more than 1 million access lines and supports up to 16 SS7 telephony links, as well as standard PacketCable protocols. In Cablevision’s case, Siemens is integrating with modems from Motorola Broadband Communications Sector and cable-modem termination systems from Cisco Systems Inc.

The system allows Cablevision to offer a host of typical phone features, including three-way calling, call waiting, call recall and call forwarding. Coming soon, Siemens said, is support for voice mail, directory assistance, international dialing and a Web portal, where subscribers will be able to use a log of telephone-usage and activation features.

Siemens also signed a five-year deal in February with SBC Communications for the telco’s business services subsidiary, which will provide IP services to the enterprise market.

Schramm expects the market to heat up as both telcos and cable operators look to offer VoIP service and add future applications to the platform. “Everyone will offer bundled low-cost service,” she said.