Sonus Networks is adding wireless support to its packet voice gateway in an effort to expand the market for the product.
The company unveiled the GSX 9000 Mobile Switching Center (MSC), essentially a wireline Sonus GSX 9000 with software added to support IS-41 and GSM-MAP wireless protocols. The MSC has four applications that Sonus says will help make the landline portion of wireless networks more efficient and less expensive to set up.
In one application, the GSX 9000 MSC translates voice traffic between the public phone network and landline gear in wireless networks, also called mobile switching centers.
In current networks, calls to cell phones that originate on landline phones must be routed to the mobile switch nearest the cell phone's current location. That is done by the wired phone switch routing the call to the cell customer's home MSC, which then looks up the phone's current location and transits the call to the MSC closest to the wireless handset.
That process eats up two ports on the home MSC.
Sonus says it would be less expensive for all calls from the wired phone network to hit a single GSX 9000 MSC in a region. That device would then find the MSC nearest the destination handset and route the call to it, relieving MSCs of transit switch functions and freeing up ports.
In another application, Sonus says the GSX 9000 MSC could simplify the trunking among MSCs for wireless-to-wireless calls. Rather than each MSC having a direct circuit to every other MSC, each would have a single, larger trunk to a GSX 9000 MSC, which would switch calls among all the MSCs.
This architecture reduces the number of trunks. In large metro or regional areas, multiple GSX 9000s could be connected via packet trunks, creating a less expensive backbone than those supporting traditional voice networks, Sonus says.
If wireless carriers used GSX 9000s to convert voice to packets for long-distance calls, they will be able to save money on their leased long-distance networks because packet services cost less per minute than voice, Sonus claims.
Sonus says the GSX 9000 MSC, in conjunction with softswitches, will support IP services that integrate voice and data more quickly than existing MSCs because it is easier to write service software for the packet devices. Existing MSCs could be left in the network.
Sonus' architecture for migrating wireless networks to packet and using devices such as GSX 9000 MSC fit with a Yankee Group report on improving wireless network efficiency with softswitches and media gateways, says X. J. Wang, wireless and mobile technology senior analyst at the Yankee Group.
The problem is that carriers might not want to adopt the technology.
"Operators are very used to what they're doing right now. There is a training curve for technicians and engineers to go to IP," Wang says.
He predicts most media gateway vendors will develop similar wireless adaptations for their gear.
GSX 9000 MSC is being tested by providers. Price depends on configuration.