Convergence is a competitive market, especially at the high end. Organisations want to be guaranteed that the systems they are investing in will rapidly deliver a return, and that they will never regret having left their legacy voice systems behind.
It was with such requirements in mind that Ericsson approached U4EA Technologies last year. It asked the quality-of-service (QoS) specialist to develop software that would give customers full control over concurrent data and voice services.
U4EA's work on the project won the UK arm of the company the October CRN/Syscap Approved Technology Innovator of the Month award.
Ericsson needed to develop the QoS software for its multi-service edge device, the HL 950. The company wanted to ensure that incoming and outgoing traffic streams could be managed and prioritised. It examined U4EA's Guarantee of Service software model, and subsequently contracted the company.
It was a considerable challenge, according to Peter Thompson, commercial director at U4EA. "Ericsson was bringing out a state-of-the-art appliance on an aggressive time scale," he said.
"We had to work very closely with its engineers to master aspects of the platform they were using and the other components they were integrating. It certainly stretched our skills and resources."
U4EA's system performs several functions. It controls different parameters for throughput, loss and delay at the same time, instead of managing a single bandwidth stream, and provides predictable performance for various classes of traffic, instead of giving priority to just one class at the expense of others.
U4EA has also designed the system to be easy to configure, future-proof and scalable.
Torben Warming, vice president of marketing for Ericsson, said: "U4EA provides a simple answer to a complex QoS problem.
"Our focus is to sell it as an element of our solution, and we've made good progress with lab and field trials. We already have three commercial contracts and three or four pilots."
U4EA developed the software by conducting detailed research into the behaviour of converged packet networks.
Thompson said the company had focused on fully converged multi-service networks from the start instead of just adding 'features' to single-service networks.
"We went back to first principles using advanced mathematics to fully understand network QoS behaviour," he said.
"Then we developed robust engineering solutions based on mathematical principles to deliver predictable network QoS."
U4EA said the built-in Guarantee of Service technology gives the edge devices complete control over packet stream characteristics, even during sustained overload, thus avoiding the risk of outages for applications such as voice over IP.
The Innovator of the Month is sponsored by Syscap and backed by Computer Reseller News and its sister title Computing. The 11 monthly winners, including one more to come this year, will be shortlisted for two annual awards, one for the private sector and one for the public sector.
The names of the two overall winners will be announced at the Channel Awards event in London on 19 November.
U4EA (0117) 373 6750
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