New Products Aimed at Better, Cheaper IP

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Three technology providers are rolling out products aimed at making data and voice traffic more efficient and less costly.

General Bandwidth Inc., an Austin-based provider of broadband voice equipment, is introducing a new application called Converged Service Delivery. It will allow cable and digital subscriber line providers to use their existing networks to create voice and data offerings for small- to medium-sized businesses.

Backed by General Bandwidth's G6 packet-voice platform, the Converged Service Delivery application provides the tools to create high-speed data and voice systems that can run on the same packet network. The system makes better use of available bandwidth by creating data and voice subchannels, and dynamically adjusts the data bandwidth to fit the voice traffic.

On the cable side, General Bandwidth is involved in Cable Television Laboratories Inc.'s PacketCable voice-application specifications. As part of that process, the company will take part in voice gateway testing later this year, according to executive vice president of voice operations Brian Hendrichs.

Separately, Texas Instruments Inc. is taking aim at such telephony vendors as Tellabs Inc. and Arris Interactive LLC with its new voice codec, said broadband communications group product manager Angela Raucher.

The four-channel programmable codec links with Intersil Corp.'s subscriber line interface circuit and gives service providers a low-power, full-featured voice-over-broadband solution, she said.

One advantage of the codec is that it combines hardware and software elements, said Rauscher. It boasts a low, 3.3-volt-input rate of power consumption, which means that companies such as Arris have greater flexibility in offering cable operators line power or battery power solutions. Raucher said TI's codecs work with both circuit-switched and IP telephony architectures.

In addition to cable operators, TI is targeting traditional phone companies interested in offering second-line service, competitive telephony providers who want to avoid RBOC leasing costs and small business that want to avoid the expense of leasing T1 lines.

For its part, Microtune Inc. is introducing a new single-chip silicon tuner (MT2050) that cuts radio frequency costs by 25 percent, board space by 20 percent and power by 11 percent, the company said.

Reducing costs is a key factor in cable modems, said Microtune chief strategy officer Jim Fontaine. That's because manufacturers have been hammered to slash expenses.

"We're trying to cut down costs of the bill of materials," he said.

Microtune said the tuner is designed for DOCSIS 2.0 modems, and can handle integrated video, voice and data traffic. The MT2050 will be available this summer, Fontaine said. "We expect moderate growth this year," he said.

Microtune's tuners are present in computer-controlled cable modems now in the DOCSIS 1.1 certification process. Fontaine also sees growth prospects for Microtune in the video-on-demand and set-top box markets. nCUBE Corp. uses Microtune tuners in VideoCaster servers.

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