Verizon Joins Packet-Voice Hunt


Verizon Communications is jumping into the packet-switched voice pool,
deploying Nortel Networks gear in its New Jersey and Florida switching centers
to handle call traffic.

A first step for the Baby Bell in deploying packet-switching in its voice
network, the deployment is also the largest application of the new technology by
an exchange carrier in North America, according to Verizon.

So far, the New Jersey packet-switching deployment has successfully completed
more than 1.8 million voice phone calls.

The packet network directs voice-traffic asynchronous-transfer-mode switches
in a process called trunking over ATM, or VToA. With its ability to flow voice
and data traffic over the same transmission line, packet switching can be more
bandwidth-efficient and less costly to operate.

The voice calls are being transmitted through major regional call- and
data-switching centers located in Newark, N.J., and Tampa, Fla. The two
switching centers use products from Nortel -- 'Succession Communication Server
2000' soft switches, 'Succession Multiservice Gateway 4000' and 'Passport 15000
Multiservice Switches' for ATM transport.

'It is very important to us that this network transition be absolutely
seamless to our customers and that it enable the delivery of mission-critical
services with very high reliability,' said Phil Harrington, Verizon's VToA
program manager.

'We're also planning to deploy this technology at a number of new locations
over the next 18 months,' he added.