The Softswitch Situation

Remember Taqua, Tekelek, and Coppercom? How about Cypress Communications that used Nortel for phone service in office buildings?

Lucent 5ESS switches are housed in Central Offices and at one time were attached by copper to every household in America to provide phone service. Today, copper is going away and the need for the 5ESS is going away as well.

Cablecos provide more voice service than telcos. Cellular is the primary voice service for many people.

The CLEC industry boomed due to the Telecom Act of 1996. Switches getting installed in every POP and CO with space. Integrated T1 sales brought revenue to many CLECs.

Broadband kind of killed the T1. Also 1.5MB was not enough anymore — or so the buyers were told.

Telecom architecture changed. Cablecos don’t have a CO. They have POPs.

ISPs had POPS (Points of Presence) usually data centers. But last mile circuits often came from the ILEC, so it kind of came through the CO anyway.

VoIP Providers use data centers for their POP or CO. The age of the Central Office is declining. Telcos needed a solid, secure building to house the switch and terminate all those copper lines. Now the copper is replaced with fiber. The switches are just servers on racks. Things changed.

The age of the softswitch ushered in UCaaS. Broadsoft, Metaswitch, Ribbon, Netsapiens, 2600Hz, Freeswitch and others powered many a VoIP Provider out of a data center rack.

Broadsoft sold to 450+ providers globally. Netsapiens is in 200+ providers. Metaswitch is inside the network of thousands of telcos. But today BSFT and Meta have been closeted inside Cisco and Microsoft, respectively.  Now that Microsoft is NFV-ing the SBC and the Metaswitch, what will telcos do?  Get a huge pipe to Azure? Or go another route?

It all depends on what you need the switch for. Many smaller cablecos wholesale voice from a provider like Momentum, because they just need cheap residential dial-tone. Lumen chose Alianza as a wholesale softswitch.

The PE-backed FTTH providers will need a way to provide digital voice to residential customers and perhaps later to business customers.

Much of VoIP and UCaaS backends into a CPaaS shop like The CPaaS provider is really handling the DIDs (phone numbers), texts/SMS, and perhaps CNAM, E911, inter-connection and more. is the provider for both Google and Microsoft.

There isn’t that much TDM inter-connection left. Now it is inter-connected VoIP. That means that when a customer of Provider A makes a call it can connect to 100% of the phones (and cell phones) out there in the US.

So if Residential Voice is your primary reason for a switch, what do you do?

What if the ISP has 10K  business voice lines? What will they use?

Getting a big pipe to Azure for 10K B2B seats might be cost prohibitive. Might require too much expertise.

With the average business having 12 employees, what kind of B2B offering do you need? Or do you have to be like FTR, VZ and AT&T and have multiple offerings for small, medium and large businesses?  Depends on your geographic market.

This is what providers are going through today. Join a webinar that RAD-INFO Inc is doing with ECG and Award Consulting on May 30 titled:  BroadWorks, Metaswitch, NetSapiens, Ribbon: What does the future hold?


Alianza’s CEO on telcos needing to make a switch from legacy (TDM) gear to cloud softswitch that Alianza and Intermedia are actively selling:  Brian Beutler says: “So transitioning legacy communications networks to cloud seems to be increasing in priority and urgency, and we’re excited to talk about it in more detail. I think over the course of the last year, even the course of the last six months, just feels like the winds have changed. And service providers, large and small, that used to be questioning maybe what their communications platform strategies are now all looking to the cloud. It’s becoming the de facto solution for… we call it the landing zone.”

Join us on May 30 to get help sifting through the options and questions that need to be asked and answered for your voice product portfolio.

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