GENBAND, which won defunct Nortel Networks’ carrier VoIP division at auction earlier this year, has announced its 2010 plan for the combined GENBAND-Nortel product line.
The company is investing $150 million in R&D to create new product lines, with some new products coming in the next several weeks. For now, the portfolio consists of the A-series applications suite, the C-series with call control, softswitches and media gateway controllers, the G-series media gateway line, the S-series security session border controller line, and an underlying element management system, dubbed GenView. GENBAND has also introduced a “GENiUS” platform — an ACTA platform with middleware that can be utilized across a number of product portfolios, to allow clean support for product development across that common platform. Having a common middleware also allows service providers to innovate and deploy solutions much faster.
The Genius approach sums up the company’s overall mission of open innovation. The new, post-acquisition roadmap is “centered around innovation on an open architecture, built around turnkey services,” said Sanjay Bhatia, GENBAND’s director of product marketing. “We have a focus on simplifying the migration from TDM to IMS and all-IP.”
GENBAND is supporting all Nortel legacy products going forward, regardless, including the A2 app server (built on the Nortel CVAS) and the C20 (formerly the C2000 family), among others. The vendor is leveraging the services portion of the equation as well: Nortel CVAS had a large services offering that GENBAND has incorporated into end-to-end turnkey services.
The installed base aside, GENBAND is firmly focused on growth. But of course, when it comes to going forward and making the shift to IMS, carriers are approaching that network transformation with varying degrees of urgency. “Some operators have made significant investments in TDM and are trying to move to new services at the same time,” explained Natasha Tamaskar, GENBAND’s vice president of product marketing. “They want the ability to continue to deploy services on the existing transport layer while also having a migration path to IMS, and they’re looking for the IP cost reduction.”
Meanwhile, on the access side, carriers are upgrading 3G networks, moving to 4G and LTE, and deploying DOCSIS 3.0 and fiber — all of which begs for an end-to-end IP network story. Bhatia says that in countries like India and China in particular, operators are laying out IP networks more rapidly because these are countries with huge underserved populations and large numbers of subscribers demanding more services, leading to significant pent-up demand.
They’re also just now starting to give out 3G licenses, which is why “in the mobile space we have seen operators like China Mobile and VSNL upgrading the core networks first to IP, and then moving into the access side,” he noted. “They have traditionally been TDM and ATM-based, but quite a bit of the core has moved to IP. It is quite different in different market spaces. It’s really a customer-by-customer basis in terms how fast that migration is happening, but it is happening.”
In the U.S., operators are looking to a cap-and-grow strategy. “In talking to our customers like AT&T and Verizon, they’ve spent a lot of dollars on legacy infrastructure, and that has a lot of life left in it, so they want to know how they can leverage that and go forward. If you have to deploy completely new stuff that’s a chunk of dollars; they want cost-effective transition stories like a software upgrade to an SBC.”
Bhatia said that because Nortel/GENBAND is incumbent in a significant number of carrier networks, it “makes it easier for us to make those transitions smoothly. We can assure operators that our strategy is not to provide an overlay network. The feedback so far has been very, very positive.”