Genuity Scales VoIP Net with NetSpeak Call Routing

Genuity Inc. announced this week it will install IP telephony call routing software from NetSpeak to scale up and improve the voice-over-IP network it maintains and resells to service providers.

As a result, users of such services as unified messaging, IP fax and VoIP-based long distance could see improved service quality from carriers who buy wholesale network usage from Genuity, formerly GTE Internetworking.

Genuity sells wholesale VoIP network access to voice application service providers (ASP) such as Dialpad, an Internet-based PC-to-phone service provider, and Pagoo, which sells VoIP applications such as IP call forwarding and voice mail.

Genuity will use NetSpeak's Infrastructure Gatekeeper and Router Server products in 800-plus Cisco-based points of presence (POP) around the country.

The Router Server references incoming calls to a routing database for completion, while the Gatekeeper product manages network resources for the Router Servers. Both products run on dedicated Unix servers in Genuity's POPs.

A key challenge for Genuity's network is that it uses direct inward dial (DID) numbers for its VoIP customers to make the dialing pattern and other user interfaces natural. The system is analogous to the way a corporate PBX establishes DIDs for multiple individuals behind a single phone trunk, allowing them to be reached directly by outsiders without going through the switchboard operator or using extra digits. But Genuity's setup means its network must route hundreds of thousands of customer DIDs on its network in order to complete Internet phone and fax connections.

"One of the things the NetSpeak Gatekeeper will do is enable us to deal with a very large number of DIDs," says Bob Olshansky, technical director of IP telecom for Genuity. The ability to boost its subscriber volume with the NetSpeak software will also help Genuity to develop more advanced services down the road, he adds.

Since it was launched last year, Genuity's VoIP network has grown rapidly. The network now averages over 100 million minutes of use per month, making it the largest VoIP network in the country, according to Genuity executives. The network is expected to handle over a billion minutes by year-end.

Most businesses that subscribe to voice ASPs and VoIP services want the level of service that comes with a dedicated VoIP network, says Pete Dailey, a partner and telecom analyst with Frost and Sullivan. While Genuity doesn't have a separate network for each of its wholesale customers, he says, the NetSpeak software will allow the company to offer services that approach that level of quality.

According to IDC, a Framingham, Mass., research company, business users worldwide will use about 1.2 billion minutes of VoIP this year. That amount is projected to grow exponentially to 33.2 billion minutes of use worldwide by 2003.

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