MCI is moving from circuit-based telephone service to voice over IP-based service in 51 of the largest cities in the US, allowing the telecommunications company to provide services such as video calling and multimedia services over phone lines.
MCI has deployed Nortel Networks' Passport Packet Voice Gateways in 36 major US cities since January, as well as Succession superclass softswitches.
The company aims to install the IP networking equipment in 15 more cities by the end of June, said Rick Price, MCI's vice-president of network engineering.
Price said customers should expect services to be rolled out as part of what MCI is calling its convergence strategy.
MCI plans to have 25% of its voice traffic moving over the IP core network by the end of 2003 and all its traffic on that core by 2005.
The move to an IP core makes sense, Price said, because that is the direction voice services will be heading in the future.
"IP is the dominant data communications protocol and well be the basis for all communication services in the future," he added.
MCI sees services such as application collaboration becoming available on the IP network, as well as video calling and multimedia services, Price said. MCI's deployment will be the largest commercial deployment of Nortel Networks voice over IP equipment in the world, according to Nortel.
As part of its transition to voice over packet, MCI will gradually replace Nortel Networks DMS circuit switches with Succession Communication Server 2000 superclass softswitches.
A superclass softswitch allows circuit-to-packet migration, including local, tandem and long distance capability on a single platform, plus full business and residential telephony service sets, third-party interoperability and carrier-grade scalability.
Grant Gross writes for IDG News Service