• United States
Executive Editor

Netrake unwraps its session controller

Oct 07, 20023 mins

NCite handles network address translation, firewall traversal for IP voice calls.

ATLANTA – Netrake this week is unveiling gear designed to let service providers more easily deliver voice-over-IP services.

The 2-year-old company’s nCite IP Session Controller hardware and software keeps track of complex IP phone call sessions as they cross firewalls. The product can translate private IP phone addresses so calls can be completed between sites and between companies that might use overlapping IP addressing schemes.

NCite is being demonstrated at the Voice on the Net conference this week in Atlanta where it will enable calls through a Cisco firewall. The company also will show how the device can gather call records needed to bill customers.

Sending IP voice traffic through a firewall involves opening multiple ports for each call to accommodate whatever protocol is used – Session Initiation Protocol, H.323 or Media Gateway Control Protocol. Many firewalls cannot handle opening and closing these ports dynamically as calls start and end, so controllers are needed to handle this, says Christin Flynn, director of communications network infrastructure for The Yankee Group.

In addition, most companies use private IP addresses for their IP phones that cannot be routed on public networks without translating these addresses to public addresses. NCite handles firewall port management and network address translation to deal with these situations.

Flynn says that Netrake’s hardware, which includes network processors of its own design, sets its gear apart from competitors in the potential to handle large numbers of phone calls. Netrake says a single chassis can handle 50,000 simultaneous calls using a G.729 coder/decoder. The number of calls depends on the codec used, the company says.

Netrake’s software also recognizes patterns in IP traffic flows and uses these patterns to route packets quickly rather than relying solely on more time-consuming deep packet inspection, Flynn says. Netrake says its gear injects less than 5 microseconds of latency into a session. A phone call can tolerate up to 150 msec of delay before the conversation becomes unintelligible.

When carriers need to send IP calls between their networks and use different protocols, nCite can handle the protocol interworking. The gear translates quality-of-service schemes between networks so a voice call gets preferential treatment as it crosses from one network to another, Netrake says.

Location: Plano, Texas
Founded: January 2000
Founder: Robert Maher, co-founder of chip maker Cyrix.
Product: nCite IP Session Controller.
Financing: $22.5 million from Austin Ventures and Trinity Ventures.
Fun fact: Company name comes from “Raking in profits from the Internet.”

Competitors include Acme Packet, Jasomi Networks, Kagoor Networks and NexT one Communications. The worldwide sales of session controllers this year will be $10.4 million and is expected to grow to $624 million by 2007, The Yankee Group says.

NCite is a 14-slot chassis that uses six slots for management, control and power blades. The other eight are available for I/O cards that include a two-port Gigabit Ethernet card that occupies four slots and a six-port Fast Ethernet card that takes up one slot.

The equipment is in beta testing and will be available in January.