MERA Unveils High Capacity Session Controller

September 22, 2004

 

Fully Distributed Session Controller Architecture Provides Major VoIP Carriers with Greater Flexibility, Resiliency, and Scalability of Networks and Services.

Toronto, ON, Canada – September 20, 2004 – MERA Systems, Inc., a supplier of full-featured, reliable and scalable session controllers for carriers of any size, today announced the availability of its new fully distributed session controller architecture. The new architecture has been purpose-built for large telcos such as Tier 1, major national and international carriers and delivers enhanced scalability, reliability and simplified management of VoIP networks.

Distributed architecture: what’s the difference?
In today’s mature VoIP world, physical separation of the session controller components is becoming a critical factor, ever more so for carriers that sit on the top of the telecom food chain and operate complex networks based on multivendor technologies.

MERA provides a fully distributed session controller solution that delivers this “five-nines” reliability along with other benefits critical for a top-tier service provider. The MERA MVTS session controller consists of several interconnected signaling and media servers. The signaling servers share a single routing table and can therefore efficiently manage VoIP traffic throughout the entire network, irrespective of their physical location.

MERA’s distributed architecture makes a big difference for big carriers:

* Increased capacity, easy scalability and reduced CAPEX: the clustered architecture of MERA’s session controller allows a capacity increase up to 40, 000 concurrent calls. The solution easily scales by adding extra servers, and is significantly cheaper than several single-server session controllers put together for the same capacity.

* Added reliability: Along with regular backup redundancy, MERA’s distributed session controller is “redundant in itself”. Every signaling server is backed up by all the other signaling severs, and the same goes for media servers, which provides a new, unprecedented level of reliability to the carrier’s network with downtime next to none.

* Intelligent traffic routing and QoS enforcement: as all signaling servers in a MERA cluster share a common database on routes and policies, they efficiently distribute calls throughout the entire network irrespective of the geographical location of each server. Furthermore, MERA’s session controller delivers comprehensive, end-to-end signaling capabilities. MERA’s signaling servers perform real-time bandwidth mapping and allocation, and send media flows across channels with better bandwidth, thus providing for greater service availability and customer-centric QoS policies.

* Simplified configuration and management: The MERA Session Controller makes Tier 1 networks easily manageable despite their size and complexity. All components in a MERA cluster share a single set of configuration files, with all updates automatically synchronized between the servers. It means carriers only need to configure the system once, while a collection of separate boxes would require configuring each one independently, with inevitable delays in service rollout and the need for extra resources to administrate geographically dispersed network elements. In fact, MERA’s configuration is so easy that it can be performed by the carrier’s staff, unlike many other solutions that require on-site presence of the vendor to configure the system.

Customer Deployment
Infotel Communication S.p.A., an Italy-based VoIP carrier, has deployed the MERA MVTS session controller with distributed architecture in its nationwide VoIP network for delivery of real-time voice services in Italy and abroad. MERA’s cluster at Infotel Communication is composed of the MVTS signaling server and two media servers deployed in Milan, and handles VoIP traffic from 12 POPs in Italy and Europe, over 20 Tier 1 and Tier 2 international carriers, and a network of resellers and phone shops. All signaling flows are concentrated by the MVTS signaling server, which distributes calls between the media servers. With this architecture, media information does not have to follow the signaling flows, thus offloading the signaling server for higher traffic throughput.

“MERA’s distributed session controller is a highly efficient tool for providing high-quality termination, origination and wholesale services to our customers throughout the country”, says Luigi Ghirardi, Technical Director at Infotel Communication.” The convenient architecture of MERA enables us to keep our network simple and easily manageable, ensuring fast and easy rollout of new services. With MERA’s solution we can grow our network in no time: adding an extra server to the current configuration will take less than five minutes, increasing capacity by 1,500 concurrent calls. Along with its feature-rich functionality and ready scalability, MERA’s MVTS has saved us a lot of money: for instance, deployment of back-to-back gateways would have cost us from 100% to 200% depending on the functionalities needed, and the management overhead would mean a further increase of approximately 30% per year. Furthermore, a distributed and “clustered” solution is even more cost-effective – it’s the economy of scale that is at work here. The bigger your capacity, the more you gain, which is not always the case with multiple single-box units.”

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