Terayon Communications Systems Inc. took another step toward becoming more than just a player in the digital-video and high-speed data realm with its introduction of "BandLeader," a switched voice-over-Internet protocol architecture.
For those cable operators that currently provide traditional circuit-switched voice services, BandLeader offers a migration path to VoIP in the access network, Terayon said.
Once the technology matures, the platform will be used to foster end-to-end VoIP services over hybrid fiber-coaxial networks, the company said.
"For Terayon to achieve long-term growth, we had to go beyond high-speed data over cable," vice president of technical marketing Golan Manor said. The acquisition of Imedia Corp. and its "CherryPicker" technology enabled Terayon to enter the digital video business, he added.
"Voice really completes the package, because cable operators are delivering video, data and interactive television, so voice is becoming an important piece of the puzzle for them to become a one-stop shop for their customers."
Terayon has rivals in the field. AT&T Broadband has confirmed it will test Motorola Broadband Communications Sector's "CentriQ" VoIP equipment in a pair of major markets. The MSO gets most of its circuit-switched equipment from Arris Interactive LLC, whose "PacketPort" offers a circuit-switched-to-IP migration.
Golan said Terayon's new VoIP system will become commercially available in early 2001, following trials with undisclosed cable operators.
BandLeader has two components: the carrier-class "AG3000" access gateway and the "Embedded Media Terminal Adapter" (eMTA), also called a Broadband Telephony Interface, or BTI. Terayon stuck the "carrier-class" label on the AG3000, which means it is designed to adhere to five-nines (99.999 percent) reliability, key for a lifeline service.
The AG3000, which can co-locate at the headend or at the central office next to a Class 5 switch, is also based on DOCSIS (Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification) 1.1 and PacketCable 1.0 standards, Golan said. It interfaces with the Class 5 switch to offer CLASS (custom local-area signaling services) features such as caller ID.
The PacketCable portion will also allow cablers to use back-office systems for billing and operational support.
In July, Cable Television Laboratories Inc. said it completed the second round of PacketCable interoperability testing. It is presently conducting the first certification and qualification wave involving products based on DOCSIS 1.1, a complicated specification designed to integrate voice and data over the same channel.
Test results from that wave are expected by Dec. 14. Terayon submitted a cable modem product for that round.