RealTime IT News

Intel Aids 'Carrier Grade' Linux

SAN FRANCISCO -- Intel is helping to introduce more Linux to the telecommunications industry these days -- not as an inexpensive edge system but as an extremely reliable cornerstone.

To prime the pump, the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaking giant unveiled a handful of software building blocks for equipment providers, including specs that support Carrier Grade Linux.

Intel said its software may help developers sell low-cost alternatives to proprietary systems and drive multi-media services such as VoIP , Video On Demand, and real-time gaming.

The new software release includes the Intel NetStructure Host Media Processing (HMP) Software Release 1.2 for Linux. The software-only solution eliminates the need for specialized telephony boards and provides media processing capabilities with off-the-shelf server platforms, Intel said.

Toshiba and Bridgetec, two communications companies, said they plan on incorporating host media processing software from Intel in future releases of their products.

Intel said the Carrier software scales up to 240 channels in off-the-self Intel Architecture-based servers and is compatible with the leading Internet telephony standards, including SIP, H.323 and H.450.2. Intel said its NetStructure Host Media Processing Software Release 1.2 for Linux should be ready to purchase directly in late October. The company said it could benefit authorized distributors for approximately $18-150 per port, based on the functionality needed.

"Carrier-grade Linux is becoming much more pervasive in Tier 1 telecom infrastructure, particularly for products like soft-switches and signaling gateways that support next-generation packet services," Ken Kalb, chief executive officer of Continuous Computing (a member of Intel's Computing Architecture group).

The news is just one in a series of high-tech announcements made this week at Intel's bi-annual Intel Developers Forum. Intel has been spending a healthy amount of time talking about the ways they can help clients think about its products in a whole new light. As for Carrier Grade Linux, Intel is currently working with IBM, and HP and others like Nokia, Sprint, Lucent, and MontaVista Software to help bring the open source operating system from the front to the back office.

"Over the next decade, we see the network evolving to one network architecture based on standard building blocks, protocols, and application frameworks -- a network that is modular, un-tethered, all-broadband and packet-based, which will deliver multi-media services to a variety of smart, mobile clients," Bubb said. "We plan to continue delivering interoperable components and building block solutions to further this approach, including our new Linux-based HMP software for IP-based media processing platforms."

Meantime, Intel is also talking a modular approach in its semiconductor platforms. "The direction advocated from Fujitsu Limited and UTStarcom provide further proof that telecommunication's transition to modular, standards-based designs is taking hold," Bubb said

Stacey Quandt, a senior business analyst with Robert Frances Group, told internetnews.com the promise of Carrier Grade Linux is sometimes not fully developed.

"There are certain carriers that are on the fence about carrier grade Linux," Quandt said. "For example, I'm talking with various vendors including Sprint this week about it. Many of them sound very interested but not overly so."

In general, Quandt said Intel is working about educed latency and five 9's availability for mission critical workloads and customer facing applications is pertinent to financial services and other vertical market segments. Quandt told internetnews.com. "CGL is a new technology with the potential to be a new design center, not only for the telco sector but for other markets as well."