UK-wide multi-service network

Following an initial phase of deployment of four multi-service switches in London, Ilford and Reading in England and Glasgow in Scotland - each of which already handles 30-40m voice calls each week - British Telecom is to roll out UK-wide Ericsson's ENGINE Integral network solution (part of its Softswitch Solution Program).

Ericsson says ENGINE Integral provides a low-risk, rapid evolution from existing circuit-switched networks through packet-based multi-service networks to a single, all-IP network. It supports existing PSTN/ISDN services with full IN support while meeting real-time QoS and reliability needs, as well as providing other services based on its ATM, IP, Frame Relay, MPLS and X.25 capabilities such as IP-VPN and leased-line provisioning.

Its introduction in a "hybrid" configuration is the latest phase in BT and Ericsson's Next-Generation System (NGS) partner programme. This is part of a £270m frame agreement signed in 1999, starting with the migration of BT's backbone to the ENGINE multi-service network. The network also includes Ericsson's network management system.

Deployment is part of the on-going evolution of BT's next-generation network. ENGINE Integral will form the core of BT's multi-service packet trunk network and provide extra capacity to cope with traffic growth from services offered by both BT and its wholesale customers.

BT and Ericsson plan to deploy another 19 multi-service switches before the end of 2002. Once in full service, ENGINE Integral will carry more than 50% of BT's total trunk network traffic.

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