Lucent adds packets to circuit switch

Lucent Technologies this week broadened its circuit-to-packet migration offerings with a switch and components designed to enable service providers to evolve Class 5 networks to IP.

Lucent's 5E-XC switch for its 5ESS circuit switches nearly triples the capacity of the venerable Class 5 system while requiring considerably less floor space. The switch also features Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), which enables the 5ESS to support new services in addition to existing telephony services, according to Lucent.

SIP is an industry standard protocol used in IP networks to communicate among existing and next-generation call control elements and application servers. SIP also simplifies the process and reduces the cost of developing and delivering services, Lucent says.

The 5E-XC supports up to 256,000 trunks, compared to 92,000 trunks on a 5ESS switch. The 5E-XC can save service providers up to 50 percent annually on the total cost of owning a switch, including office space, power, cooling, installation, maintenance and software-upgrade costs, Lucent claims.

The switch can be deployed as a standalone system, or its components can serve as incremental adjuncts or upgrades to a 5ESS. These components include:

A communications module, combined with new software, that can enable a nearly threefold increase in capacity with one-twelfth the space and one-tenth the power An optical interface unit that, at 120,000 trunks, enables a tenfold increase in the number of trunks per cabinet or rackA signaling platform that uses 40 percent less power and supports larger call volumesThere is also switch software (5E16.2) that features call-forwarding to five different numbers simultaneously, and a Centrex call transfer feature that identifies the individual initiating the call rather than the individual transferring the call. 5E16.2 can be enhanced through software downloads at a savings of 75 percent over previous software upgrade options, Lucent says.

SBC is deploying the 5E-XC in its local network to interconnect with wireless and long-distance carriers in an access tandem switch application. SBC also offers an IP Centrex service based on Lucent gear.

The 5E-XC components are all available now. An IP card that runs the SIP software will be available in the fourth quarter of 2003.

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