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Natural MicroSystems (NASDAQ: NMSS), Framingham, Mass., has launched Signaling System 7 (SS7) Version 3.5 software, the most recent introduction to its family of SS7 software and hardware platforms for communications equipment suppliers.

Top communications providers such as Clarent Corporation (NASDAQ:CLRN), Lucent (NASDAQ:LU) and others, have already selected the new release to provide carrier-grade SS7 functionality in systems now under development. In order to provide equipment and service providers with the flexibility, reliability and interoperability they require, NMS' SS7 Version 3.5 features added capabilities that support new SS7 variants worldwide, enable increased reliability and expand operating system support for additional portability of new applications.

SS7, the principal call-handling protocol for the PSTN, provides the reliability and speed needed to handle all call control information in carrier-grade networks. In addition, the protocol enables delivery of high-value enhanced services such as voice messaging, fax messaging, one-number/follow me and pre-paid calling. Although SS7 is often associated with the traditional circuit-switched network, the industry's growing array of new packet-switched solutions such as voice-over-IP (VoIP), voice portals and wireless IP gateways also rely on this standard international protocol for dependable and seamless connections to existing telephone networks.

"SS7 support is a fundamental requirement for many carrier-grade communications products - whether the products are PSTN solutions or IP solutions that interact with the circuit-switched telecom network. And for developers, there is a lot of specialized knowledge and plenty of complexity involved in leveraging all that SS7 offers," stated Chris Burmeister, product marketing manager, of Natural MicroSystems. "NMS is prepared with proven SS7 software and the high-availability CompactPCI hardware platforms to match. It's a compelling combination for equipment providers who need to achieve standards compliance and high reliability, yet still get to market quickly."

World's Leading Communications Providers Call on NMS' SS7 Software for Carrier-Grade Features

NMS' SS7 technology is at the heart of many next-generation systems and networks being deployed throughout the world today. For example, Lucent Technologies utilizes NMS' SS7 Version 3.5 to SS7-enable its Messaging Link(TM) product to help keep Lucent the world's leader in voice messaging systems. "Carriers in the European market insist on SS7 for call control and we certainly want our products to work as seamlessly as possible," said Scott Rigby, engineering manager at Lucent Technologies. "SS7 Version 3.5 offers a pragmatic solution to our requirements. Version 3.5 enables Lucent to bridge its international customers between the Sierra(R) and AnyPath(R) platforms."

Clarent Corporation, a leading provider of scaleable, IP telephony products to mainstream carriers and service providers worldwide, has enjoyed a long-standing OEM relationship with NMS. Clarent has actively deployed IP telephony networks worldwide for over 300 carriers, including many of the world's largest long distance carriers, and deploys many of NMS' core technologies, including SS7 Version 3.5.

"NMS' SS7 software allows us to provide the added functionality, reliability and connectivity required by global carriers seeking to provide IP telephony and other premium enhanced services," said Mike Vargo, chief technology officer, Clarent Corporation. "We have NMS' SS7/C7 technology installed in the networks of mainstream carriers in many countries around the world. Proven technology, solid support, and worldwide expertise are some of the reasons why Clarent has selected NMS as an OEM supplier of SS7/C7 solutions. NMS allows us to quickly and efficiently deliver new technologies and services for today's burgeoning service provider market."

New Features Expand Global Reach, Boost Reliability

SS7 Version 3.5 software, an implementation of the ISUP call control and TCAP messaging SS7 protocol stacks, works with NMS' complete line of TX(TM) series hardware platforms, including the TX3220 (PCI) and TX3220c (CompactPCI) platforms released last March. This provides the standard protocol support required to interoperate with most carrier networks, as well as to enable hardware redundancy and hot-swap capabilities that can be used to meet rigorous reliability levels, and protect uptime for revenue-generating enhanced service offerings. In addition, NMS' Natural Access(TM) development environment provides an uncommon advantage that speeds implementation time: developers can access SS7 signaling as well as media functions from the same consistent Natural Access application program interfaces (APIs).

New features introduced with NMS' SS7 Version 3.5 include:

--Global Messaging Toolkit -- This powerful and unmatched set of software capabilities enables equipment providers to implement country-specific SS7 call control variants rapidly and on demand. As a result, service providers can deploy new, premium enhanced services throughout the globe with confidence, while ensuring interoperability with the PSTN and other networks.

--TCAP Single Point Code Redundancy -- NMS' SS7 software now supports the operation of redundant TX3220C hardware interfaces for Transaction Capabilities Application Part (TCAP) messages, in addition to ISDN User Part (ISUP) messages previously supported. Two TX3220C interfaces can share the same SS7 point code so that a remote switch sees the pair of redundant boards as a single entity, which allows one interface to take over if its partner fails.

--Expanded Operating System Support -- SS7 Version 3.5 adds support for the Solaris(TM) operating system on SPARC(TM) microprocessors, in addition to operating systems already supported: Solaris on Intel(R) x86 microprocessors and Windows NT(R).

About Natural MicroSystems

Natural MicroSystems (NASDAQ: NMSS) is the technology leader making it possible for the world's top networking and communication equipment suppliers to create and accelerate communications infrastructure and services. The Framingham, MA company designs, develops and supplies network-quality hardware and software components and provides design and customization services that are enabling a new era of communications.

Deployed in more than 65 countries, NMS' products and technologies are at the foundation of today's high-value communications systems, including network-based enhanced service platforms, media and access gateways, media servers, voice portals, web-enabled call centers, unified messaging platforms and wireless networks. NMS has a long history of technology innovations that advance the rapid growth of the communications industry worldwide, including breakthroughs such as the first complete open IP gateway, the first complete open packet media server and leadership in bringing open, scalable CompactPCI to the telecommunications industry.

For more information, visit or call 508-271-1446.
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Publication:Computer Protocols
Date:Sep 1, 2000

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