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Managing Editor

Excel Switching cuts the wires

Oct 06, 20033 mins
Cellular NetworksNetworking

Programmable switch takes on mobile network duty.

The company is adding support for wireless protocols to its Converged Services Platform (CSP) switch.

Excel Switching, a maker of programmable call control and media processing switches, is going wireless.

The company is adding support for wireless protocols to its Converged Services Platform (CSP) switch. This extension lets service providers offer applications and services that span second-generation, 3G and Wi-Fi wireless networks that support Signaling Systems 7, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP ) and wireless protocol signaling,Excel says.

The CSP can be configured as a proprietary service node or an standards-based Intelligent Network node. The wireless Intelligent Network protocols the CSP now supports include:

• ANSI-41, a messaging protocol used in Code Division Multiple Access and Time Division Multiple Access networks for intersystem hand-off, automatic roaming, authentication and supplementary call features.

• Wireless Intelligent Network, another messaging protocol that lets subscribers to an ANSI-41 mobile network access certain features while roaming.

• Mobile Applications Part, a messaging protocol used in GSM networks for user authentication, equipment identification and roaming.

• Customized Applications for Mobile Networks Enhanced Logic, which adds Intelligent Network functions to GSM networks so a subscriber’s “home” network can monitor and control calls while the subscriber roams.

These protocols let service providers develop new CSP-hosted wireless applications and services such as prepaid calling, mobile Centrex, personal access/follow me, Short Messaging Servicepresence, operator services and intelligent call screening. Carriers who use the CSP to develop and deploy wireline services now can use the same switch to deliver wireless applications and interconnect public switched telephone network and IP infrastructures.

Analysts say support for wireless protocols, applications and services is a natural evolution for the CSP, which is installed in 125 customer sites worldwide.

“Wireless is an area where operators are generating revenue-producing services beyond simple transport,” says Dave Passmore, research director at Burton Group. “It kind of makes you wonder why Excel didn’t do this sooner.”

The company will face competition from several start-ups, such as Megisto SystemsTahoe Networks and Watercove Networks, but these companies are struggling to gain momentum, Passmore says.

“Excel has a much easier job with its pre-existing relationships [with carriers] and a wide range of protocols,” he says.

Excel’s challenge will be in managing the transition to IP, Passmore says.

“Right now, they’re sitting pretty. But in a couple of years, systems based on the old [Intelligent Network protocols] may come tumbling down when everything moves to SIP and IP,” he says.

The wireless capabilities for the CSP are available now. Pricing for the CSP also was not available.

Managing Editor

Jim Duffy has been covering technology for over 28 years, 23 at Network World. He covers enterprise networking infrastructure, including routers and switches. He also writes The Cisco Connection blog and can be reached on Twitter @Jim_Duffy and at

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