Neutral Tandem talks about HD voice interconnect service

Founded in 2003, Neutral Tandem (www.neutraltandem.com) routes over 10 billion minutes of traffic per month and as a neutral exchange platform, it moves traffic for over 110 major wireless, CLEC, cable service providers on an all-IP scalable network. The company was kind enough to provide a briefing last week under embargo to HD Voice News on its HD Voice Interconnection service and what it all means.

“We started with the Registry mindset 2 year ago,” John Butz Senior Director of New Product Development for Neutral Tandem said. “There were a number of complications in that, not only activating, provisioning, maintaining the processes were difficult.  Plus dipping on every single call.”

A big concern among service providers with uploading intellectual property – all the customer phone numbers the carrier possesses. Once uploaded, the number registry would have to be updated and kept current – more overhead to deal with, and a regular management task.

Registry overhead headaches lead to a revised and simplified approach being offered today.

“It’s an end-point negotiation product. If you’re already interconnected with us, all we do is apply a codec negotiation policy,” Butz said.  “It’s not just for wideband, it can be any kind of codec, video on the future.”

Via SIP trunking, if the two end-points involved in setting up a call can freely negotiate, then the call will be connected directly.

“It’s a welcome breath of fresh air,” Butz stated. “It doesn’t require provisioning, route tables are already established.   There are no dips at call setup time, just a SIP invite, with a request for wideband as the top priority.”

Everything is handled as “business as usual” through routing, established rate tables, and operational procedures. There’s no incremental cost per call and no dips needed for overhead.

Butz said there are a small number of carriers who have already gone through Neutral Tandem’s certification process for HD voice interconnection.  The 8 page test plan works through vendor interoperability issues, the variety of SIP protocols, then establishes routing and let the calls go through.

“Our service is available at no incremental cost, and it’s easy to apply,” Buts stated.

Working with IP and SIP as the interchange mechanism provides advantage to providing more services in the future to wireless carriers around the globe.

“We’re a de facto IPX provider,” stated Ian Neale, Vice President and General Manager New Services at Neutral Tandem. “We have an IP core.  Today we’re adding HD, tomorrow we can add any number of types of services to move to IP. What interests me, when we look at the IPX model, looking at HD services today, the similarities are striking.”

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