Colorado Springs, Colo. Texas Instruments Inc. will embed specialized logic and firmware in virtually all communications-oriented DSP architectures, allowing OEMs to provide carriers with automated configuration, provisioning and bandwidth adjustment for Internet Protocol-based networks.
While many protocols in the Piqua suite are based on Session Initiation Protocol clients, TI had to remain transport-agnostic, since a variety of time-division multiplexed and specialized traffic types are carried in IP networks, said Tom Flanagan, director of technical strategies for DSP systems.
TI has developed line-monitoring hardware along with software protocols to adjust service links. They are designed to be implemented without adding more than incremental expenses to chip sets for voice-over-IP, packet video and other multimedia systems.
Piqua will be deployed in evaluation systems for such end-user access points as residential gateways, IP set-top boxes and multimedia terminal adapters. The company hopes the protocols will eventually be used in such aggregation systems as cable TV headends and DSL access multiplexers. “In the future, we see every system-oriented processor including this set of software and dedicated silicon,” Flanagan said.
TI will work with the developers of simpler network and element management systems, as well as carrier-oriented operation-support systems, to make sure the methods of probing the network are both standardized and easy to interface with existing management software suites. Debbie Greenstreet, director of service provider marketing at TI, said that proprietary tools for such functions as queue allocation can be used, as long as the interfaces to carrier environments comply with standards from groups like the Internet Engineering Task Force and IEEE. The end result is that network equipment using TI chip sets will perform many of the remote probing functions usually associated with test equipment.
IP-based calls and video sessions can be monitored in real-time by a carrier's network operation center. The TI software can distinguish call-degradation problems related to packet loss from those related to jitter. If the problem is jitter-related, buffers are adjusted automatically. If a particular low-latency voice-over-IP flow experiences packet loss, the session will switch to a robust voice mode. The point in continuous real-time monitoring is to let the carrier respond to customer-specific degradation before a customer calls a help desk.
While many carriers were once reticent to discuss monitoring and configuration details with semiconductor companies, many in the telephony and cable TV realms will do so today, Flanagan said. TI also must work with software providers. Its Piqua technology will be featured in Microsoft Corp.'s next partner program for its Connected Services Framework, to be announced later this month.