MCI Taps Nortel To Migrate Voice Network To Common IP Core

The company is in the process of consolidating its network to a common IP core. The partnership with Nortel marks the first service set to be delivered over the common infrastructure.

MCI intends to deploy voice-over-IP (VoIP) using Nortel's Succession Communication Server 2000 soft switches. MCI has deployed three Communication Server 2000s already, said Rick Price, vice president of network engineering at MCI, Ashburn, Va.

By the end of 2003, Price said 25 percent of MCI's long-distance voice traffic would be delivered over its IP core. By 2005, the company expects 100 percent of its long-distance voice traffic to travel over its IP core, he said.

Nortel's Passport Packet Voice Gateway is also being deployed at the edge of its network, Price said. MCI has deployed 36 Nortel gateways so far with another 15 expected to be in place by the end of this month.

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"Passport is truly a multiservice switch, and we will add additional applications to the same infrastructure such as frame relay, IP services such as IP VPN and private-line data services that will go over the same infrastructure," Price said.

Down the road, Nortel and MCI envision several new service offerings based on MCI's IP infrastructure.

"Our multimedia communications platform allows the user to pick how a particular communication reaches [him or her] independent of the device," said Al Safarikas, vice president of marketing at Nortel. "If someone sends you an e-mail, for example, and you're driving, why not have that e-mail sent to your voice headset? The idea is to put you in charge of your communication experience, and we'll be able to do that on that IP core."

MCI will realize "substantial operational and capital expenditure savings" as well as speed new services delivery by collapsing its networks into a common IP network, Price said.