Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Interview with Rich Terani

I was recently interviewed by Rich Terani, the CEO of TMC. The text of that interview is below.

[RT] What is the most significant trend in communications today? Why?

[JD] The growth in apps for mobile phones is the most significant trend. Mobile apps on the Internet are providing more value than just plain old voice service. Users are finally realizing the benefits of the data network, not just a wireless voice networks. As a result, it will be harder for carriers to resist the demand from customers for simple IP bandwidth instead of services that are bundled with the network.

[RT] What is the one product or service the market is most in need of?

[JD] A security mechanism that was decoupled from the network. For example, e-mail is totally non-secure and VoIP suffers the same problem. The market needs a secure way to authenticate the parties with whom they communicate. Relying on fax as the only secure way to transmit documents is ridiculous. The technology to solve the problem (public key cryptography) has been around for years, but no market mechanism has been able to drive wide spread adoption.

[RT] How is your company leveraging the growth of social media to enhance your own business?

[JD] Our products are technical and serve a small niche. We have not yet identified how social media can benefit our business.

[RT] Nearly every phone manufacturer is now incorporating support for wideband codecs. Will we finally see widespread HD voice deployments in 2011?

[JD] No, wideband codes will have to be widely deployed for 3-5 years before they are be used. Adoption always lags availability by several years.

[RT] What are your thoughts on the viability of mobile video chat or conferencing?

[JD] Mobile video chat and conferencing are inevitable.

[RT] Which wireless operating system (Android, iOS4, Microsoft, etc.) will see the greatest success over the next three years? Why?

[JD] Android – because it is the most open OS.

[RT] Some have suggested wireless networking will soon replace wired networks in the enterprise. Do you agree? Why or why not?

[JD] There will always be a mix of wired and wireless networks. I cannot foresee wireless completely replacing wired networks.

[RT] What impact has the growth of cloud-based services had on your business?

[JD]No impact.

[RT] If you had the opportunity to decide the Net neutrality debate, how would you rule?

[JD] If you want the Internet to grow and be vibrant, then it must be completely competitive and everyone must be able to make money from traffic that traverses their network. Networks must offer equal access to all other networks and must be able to charge those networks for the traffic they generate. The critical challenge is to make certain that pricing is applied equally to all participants with no subsidies or price discrimination.

[RT] You are exhibiting at ITEXPO West 2010. What is the most exciting thing attendees will see at your booth?

[JD] We will be releasing OSPrey-32 at the ITEXPO West 2010. OSPrey-32 is the 32-bit version of our commercial routing and CDR collection server. OSPrey-32 is a free software package and it perfect for enterprises that need a centralized routing and accounting platform to manage an enterprise VoIP network with multiple branch offices. OSPrey-32 is a really powerful package for enterprise VoIP managers, it is easy to use - and its free.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

FreeSWITCH supports OSP

TransNexus has contributed a new module, mod_osp, to FreeSWITCH. The new module enables FreeSWITCH to use the Open Settlement Protocol (OSP) to query an external route server and to report XML based Call Detail Records (CDRs). The new module uses the OSP Toolkit available from SourceForge.

One of the advantages of OSP route queries over SIP redirect messages or ENUM queries is that OSP was designed as a route query protocol. OSP is not limited to single protocol, such as SIP, or just to route discovery. OSP is designed to support all the information elements that might be needed for a fully intelligent query/response. For example, a standard OSP response can include rich details about all possible destinations such as which protocol to use (SIP, H.323. skype, SMS, MMS) calling and called number translations, all the number portability elements (LRN, SPID, alt-SPID, MCC, MNC), bandwidth requirements and even pricing information.

Likewise, XML based CDRs defined by the OSP standard define a large set of data elements and since the CDRs are XML based they can be easily extended to meet any need.

TransNexus has long been involved with open source VoIP projects such as SER, OpenSIPS, Asterisk and now FreeSWITCH. We see a lot of growth and innovation occurring in the FreeSWITCH community and we are looking forward to becoming more involved with the growing number of creative entrepreneurs using FreeSWITCH.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Acme Packet Interconnect 2010

TransNexus will be one of a selected group of Acme Packet Pinnacle Partners participating at Interconnect 2010 in San Diego CA on May 16-19. A product demonstration planned by TransNexus will be the new SDReporter software for Acme Packet SBCs. The SDReporter is a easy to use, low cost solution for quickly collecting Call Detail Records from Acme Packet SBCs and generating near real time reports with call statistics by source, destination, time of day and dial code. TransNexus will also be demonstrating NexOSS, its complete least cost routing, number portability, traffic reporting, profit analysis and wholesale billing solution for Acme Packet SBCs.

Please contact to schedule a meeting with TransNexus at Interconnect 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

ITW 2010

International Telecoms Week (ITW) 2010
May 24-26, 2010 Washington, DC

TransNexus will be exhibiting at the ITW 2010 show at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington DC. TransNexus will be exhibiting NexOSS, the Least Cost Routing, Number Portability, Traffic Reporting, Profit Analysis and Wholesale Billing solution for VoIP carriers worldwide. TransNexus will also be demonstrating SDReporter a simple and low cost CDR collection and reporting platform for Acme Packet Session Border Controllers (SBCs). In addition, TransNexus will also being demonstrating its international number portability feature based on the GSMA's PathFinder service.

Please contact to schedule a meeting with TransNexus at ITW 2010

Metaswitch Forum 2010

I am looking forward to attending the Metaswitch Forum 2010 in Nashville, TN on May 19th. At TransNexus, we are very pleased to be a MetaSwitch partner. TransNexus has been a Metaswitch OSS/Network Management Partner since 2007. The NexOSS Least Cost Routing, Number Portability, Traffic Reporting, Profit Analysis and Wholesale Billing solution is an elegant solution for managing interconnection between the Metaswitch and other carriers. TransNexus will be providing demonstrations of its NexOSS platform at the Metaswitch Forum from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm on Wednesday May 19th.

Please contact to schedule a meeting with TransNexus at the Metaswitch Forum 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Least Cost Routing Challenges

Not too long ago, optimizing least cost routing was a relatively straight-forward exercise that could be managed part time by an industrious billing or switch technician. This is no longer the case and this article will describes the major developments that have increased the scope and complexity of least cost routing for the North American telephone network.

Routing Table Size
Area Codes were first established in 1947 with a total of seventy-eight area codes nationwide. Over the next 43 years, only thirty-six area codes were added. In the 1990s, the growth in wireless services drove the addition of 109 new area codes so new blocks of 10,000 numbers could be issued to carriers. These number blocks refer to the first six digits of a telephone number, or NPA-NXX where NPA is the area code and NXX is the switch code.

Faced with a dwindling supply of telephone numbers for new carriers to issue to their subscribers, the FCC in 2000 ordered that NPA-NXX number blocks be partitioned into 1000 blocks (NPA-NXX-X). Partitioning of NPA-NXX blocks, also known as number pooling, dramatically increased the supply of new numbers for expanding carriers which is good. But seven digit routing based on 1000 block partitions is more complicated than routing on six digit NPA-NXX blocks. In the Local Exchange Routing Guide (LERG) there are 166,431 six digit NPA-NXX dial codes. In contrast, there are 644,327 dial codes when routing based on seven digit one thousand blocks.

In telephone routing tables, a dial code matched with a destination (IP address or trunk group) is called a translation. Most least cost routing tables have an average of three destinations per dial code. This means that a basic optimized least cost routing tables for domestic US routing can have more than one and half million translations. Some TransNexus customers have 50 million translations in their routing table.

Jurisdictional Routing

Jurisdictional routing is another name for local, intra-state and inter-state routing. Call routing decisions are based on both the calling and called number. How a call gets rated depends on where the calling party is located. Paradoxically intra-state calls cost more than inter-state calls. For a service provider to optimize their least cost routing, they must have two routing tables, one for intra-state calls and a second for inter-state call.

Jurisdictional routing is determined by the ANI (Automatic Number Identification), or telephone number, of the calling party. With VoIP calls, it is common for the ANI to be an invalid value, such as a random number that is not a telephone number or the SIP URI of the calling party. Calls with an invalid ANI are rated at the higher intra-state rate if they are completed. Most major carriers will block calls that do not have a valid ANI. However, some service providers will accept calls with an invalid ANI so this creates an optimization for a third least cost routing table. One for inter-state, one for intra-state and a third for calls with invalid ANIs.

Local routing is another form of jurisdictional call routing which is determined by the NPA-NXX-X of the calling party and the called party. Interconnection of local calls is usually charged at very low rates, much less than intra-state, and offers another least cost routing optimization. A challenge with local call routing for most VoIP providers is the size of the table which defines the source and destination NPA-NXX-X combinations for each local calling area. Unlike Local Exchange Carrier switches that serve limited geographic areas, a VoIP service provider’s softswitch can serve customers anywhere in the US. A table that defines all the local calling areas in the US would have over a billion NPA-NXX-X combinations.

Deciphering Rates by LATA, OCN and Tier
Least cost routing is all about analyzing dial codes and the rates carriers charge to complete calls to those dial codes. Unfortunately, most carriers to not quote rates for US termination by dial code. Instead they quotes rate in terms of OCN, LATA and Tier. So the first step in least cost routing analysis is to normalize carrier rates from OCN, LATA and Tier to E.164 dial codes. OCN stands for Operating Company Number and is a four digit number in the LERG. The LERG lists all the dial codes (NPA-NXX-X) for each of the 3,936 OCNs. LATA stands for Local Access and Transport Area and is a regulatory relic of the AT&T breakup in 1984. The LERG can be used to determine all dial codes for each OCN within each of the 223 different LATAs. Tiers are the last abstraction used by carriers to quote rates. Carriers often have six to eight rate tiers per LATA. Tiers are not standard and every carrier’s tier structure is different. Manually normalizing carrier rates using the LERG is too big a task for even the most industrious technician.

Number Portability Correction
In 1996 the FCC ordered that telephone companies must let subscribers switch service providers and keep their telephone number. When you switch phone companies and keep your telephone number, your number is ported to the new service provider and added to the number portability database. Today, every call in North America starts with a query to the Number Portability Administration Center (NPAC) database to determine if the telephone number has been ported to a different service provider. If the number has been ported, then the NPAC returns the Location Routing Number (LRN) for the ported number. The call is then routed using the LRN, not the dialed telephone number.

Today there are 197 million ported telephone numbers in North America. TransNexus customers report that 40% of their calls are to ported telephone numbers. This development has a dramatic impact on least cost routing. If least cost routing is based on the dialed telephone number then 40% of all calls will not be routed to the lowest cost provider! TransNexus customers have found that number portability correction can decrease their total termination costs by over 15%.

President Clinton to speak at ITW

The Annual GTM conference in Washington, D.C. every May was a must attend event for international telecom carriers for years. But as the show became more successful, the managers of the Intelsat who ran the show became increasingly arrogant. The GTM show had become a very lucrative franchise and its organizers, like all monopolists, gleefully gouged its sponsors for everything they could get. Three years ago, the ITW show was hastily convened, just blocks down the street from the GTM show, as a competing conference for international telecom carriers. The faithful GTM attendees moved down the street in mass to the upstart ITW conference and the GTM show was gone for good. The rapid collapse of the GTM conference is a stunning business case study of franchise destruction caused by arrogance toward customers.

Since that initial start, the managers of the ITW conference have run their conference like any well run business. They provide good service at a reasonable price. The result has been rapid growth and a major success story for ITW (International Telecoms Week). This year ITW is expanding its exposure and having President Clinton as a keynote speaker. TransNexus will be exhibiting at the ITW conference which will be held May 24-26 in Washington, D.C. Please stop by the TransNexus booth to say hello.

For more information about the ITW conference go to: