SnowShore Networks is introducing an appliance for service providers that processes traffic so it can cross between carrier networks without losing service-quality markers or being dropped altogether.Called the SnowShore A1-MF Media Firewall, the device is being teamed with NexTone Communications' Multi-protocol Session Controller (MSC) software to parse packets, analyze and alter them if necessary so payloads make their way across network boundaries intact.SnowShore's A1-MF hardware\/software media-processing and routing engine will power this processor-intensive session-controlling by the MSC software. The gear can perform network address translation so traffic whose private source address is changed to a public one so that it still can find its destination and receive return traffic. The equipment also could process traffic so it retains quality-of-service (QoS) markers that can be understood on another network, even if it passes through firewalls.Traffic such as IP voice faces problems as it crosses IP network boundaries because it must be treated with a high priority or the call quality will suffer. That means whatever QoS mechanism one network uses must be mapped to the mechanism that the next one uses. The session controller performs this work.NexTone software can run on Sun Netra servers, but the A1-MF is custom-built to minimize and has the capacity to support the traffic volume a carrier network could throw at it.The combination of the A1-MF with the MSC costs $110,000.