Standards facilitate voice over IP

As the use of voice over IP (VoIP) continues to gain momentum, moves are being made to facilitate trunking processes between traditional and modern telephone networks.

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By  Zoe Moleshead Published  October 14, 2003

As the use of voice over IP (VoIP) continues to gain momentum, moves are being made to facilitate trunking processes between traditional and modern telephone networks.

With an increasing number of people investigating the merits of internet-based phone calls, the MPLS/Frame Relay Alliance has approved the I.366.2 Voice Trunking Format over MPLS Implementation Agreement. Essentially, this will allow compressed voice traffic to be transferred over a converged MPLS backbone using existing ATM Adaptation Layer 2 (AAL2) technology.

The alliance, whose members include the likes of Cisco Systems, Marconi, Nortel Networks and Ericsson, also says that the IA will facilitate the design of carrier or provider edge routers, multi-service edge switches and dedicated gateway equipment.

"This agreement provides an efficient means of transporting voice and related traffic from integrated access devices and wireless telephony networks over MPLS infrastructure networks," says David Sinicrope, Alliance applications & deployment working group chairman and system manager at Ericsson.

"Drawing on an established bandwidth-efficient voice transport mechanism, this new IA exploits existing AAL2 technology, simplifying the migration path from ATM to MPLS," he adds.

Although the IA is not compulsory, the Alliance does expect most of its members to adopt the standard. And while VoIP and internet-based phone calls are still a subject of contention in the region, with many telcos prohibiting the use of the internet to make international voice calls, the standard is expected to have an impact on the technology choices of both vendors and service providers.

The I366.2 IA defines MPLS transport of AAL2 Common Part Sublayer Packets (CPS-Packets), which provides the necessary frame formats and procedures for carrying encoded voice, dialled digits, fax, signalling information and data, explains the Alliance.

"This new implementation agreement complements the Alliance's existing TDM-over MPLS work that enables transparent transport of TDM traffic," adds Ron Isler, editor of the MPLS/FR Alliance IA and the R&D manager at RAD Data Communications.

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