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 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 “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.”

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