Zhone Touts Gateway for Voice over Any Network

Zhone Technologies Inc., a network equipment provider founded by former executives of Ascend Communications Inc., today introduced its first product, a gateway designed to interconnect all types of networks with a local exchange carrier's digital voice network.

The Sechtor 300 Universal Voice Gateway is the first step in Zhone Technologies' strategy to address the voice demands of both carriers and service providers, Jeanette Symons, chief technology officer and vice president of engineering of Zhone Technologies, said in a press release.

Sechtor 300 is designed to optimize circuit, cell or packet voice services over any existing or emerging network, including ILEC (incumbent local exchange carrier) and CLEC (competitive local exchange carrier) networks, ISP (Internet service provider) networks and next-generation voice networks.

While Cisco Systems Inc., Lucent Technologies Inc. and Nortel Networks Corp. focus on the backbone, Zhone Technologies' plans are centered on the local loop between the central office and the customer, said Tim Donovan, a spokesman for Zhone Technologies.

"The local loop is a hodgepodge of technologies -- copper, fiber, coaxial. We want to supply technology that can take all those into consideration," Donovan said.

As consumers and commercial end-users become more sophisticated and demand more technologies, the ILECs, CLECs and ISPs will need to find ways to supply those services and content, Donovan said.

Service providers can deploy Sechtor 300 to provide voice-over-ATM (asynchronous transfer mode), voice-over-IP (Internet Protocol), and TDM (time division multiplex) voice services over any access infrastructure, Donovan said. The product interconnects ATM, IP and TDM networks with the existing digital voice network, allowing service providers to continue using their existing infrastructure while migrating to more advanced voice services.

Sechtor 300 also provides a gateway to the SS7 (Signaling System 7) network, allowing service providers to link their installed voice networks to advanced packet networks, according to Zhone Technologies.

Sechtor 300 uses GR-303 signaling to act as an extension to existing voice switches. It can dynamically assign up to 2,000 calls to a Class 5 local digital switch on a call-by-call basis, the company said. The product also integrates traditional 3/1/0 DACS (digital access cross-control systems) functionality at the edge of the network, enhancing a service provider's existing voice network by consolidating traffic over high-speed digital interfaces.

Symons and two other former Ascend executives, Mory Ejabat and Robert Dahl, founded Zhone Technologies in September of last year.

Sechtor 300 will be available at end of this month. The price will be around US$50,000 depending on configuration, Donovan said.

Zhone, in Oakland, California, can be reached at +1-510-777-7000 or found on the Web at http://www.zhone.com/.

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