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Subject: SIP in higher education

List archive Call Notes - 7/13 ("NewNet ITSP Access")

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  • From: Ben Teitelbaum <>
  • To: "" <>
  • Subject: Call Notes - 7/13 ("NewNet ITSP Access")
  • Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2006 10:48:24 -0400 Conference Call July 13, 2006


Dawn Augustino, University of Pennsylvania
Dennis Baron, MIT
Ed Carey, Level 3 Communications
Vincent Celindro, Northwestern University
Paul Claig, Indiana University
Alan Crosswell, Columbia
Rick Cunningham, PAETEC Communications
Tom Dorey, Avaya
Jeremy George, Yale University
Jerry Keith, UC Riverside
Jeff Kuure, Internet2
Walt Magnussen, Texas A&M
Michelle Markovich, University of Pennsylvania
Scott Pohlman, Level 3 Communications
Ben Teitelbaum, Internet2
Ted Sanfilipo, PAETEC Communications
Christian Schlatter, UNC Chapel Hill
Mike Van Norman, UCLA
Garret Yoshimi, Hawaii


Today's call begins with Ben discussing Internet2's plans to replace
Abilene, the current network, with a successor currently referred to
as NewNet. At the recent Community Design Workshop in Indianapolis, a
number of potential new services were discussed. One of these
services is referred to as ITSP Access (Internet Telephony Service
Provider Access), which would allow campuses to use their NewNet
connections to access the commercial voice services of ITSPs who peer
with NewNet. Much of the workshop in Indianapolis was concerned with
the core packet and optical R&E services and a proposed NewNet
commodity service. There was little time to talk specifically about
the ITSP Access proposal. This call aims to provide further
background on ITSP Access and an opportunity for more in-depth
discussion of technical and business considerations.

Ben mentions that the notion of ITSP access predates the planning for
NewNet. Walt Magnussen previously chaired the Voice Services Advisory
Committee (VSAC), which investigated a broad array of voice services
that Internet2 might provide to members, including ITSP access. The
VSAC presented its recommendations to the NPPAC in January 2005, but
concerns about CALEA compliance and conflict with the Abilene
conditions of use (COU) arose. NewNet will have a more relaxed COU
and the environment around CALEA issues has changed. NewNet provides
an opportunity to push ahead aggressively with services like ITSP
Access if there is community support.

Walt Magnussen says that the Internet2 Technology Evaluation Center
(ITEC) at Texas A&M is working with Level 3 Communications to
investigate IP trunking and is examining reliability, voice quality,
and disaster recovery. As NewNet does not yet exist, the ITEC is
currently using commodity networks for testing, but could expand its
testing program to include NewNet services as they become available.

Walt discusses some of the advantages of IP trunking, including the
speed of provisioning, cost savings allowed by the replacement of
existing PRI trunks, and disaster recovery (as IP traffic is easily
re-routable). In addition, ITSP Access would provide participants

* The ability to purchase existing services from a wider range of
vendors (some of whom may not currently have a local presence);

* The ability to purchase new services that are not currently
available locally from any vendor;

* And, a more competitive market for services that would reduce
costs relative to existing contracts;

Ben asks the group about concerns regarding reliability. Do
participants believe that there will need to be a special SLA or QoS
applied to ITSP Access? Reaction is mixed.

Scott Pohlman of Level 3 Communications speaks next, and provides an
overview of Level 3's involvement. They provide long distance and
local products, including voice termination and E911. They are
interested in providing reliable IP traffic, and would like to provide
more local services but need to partner with companies to do billing
and other services that they don't currently provide. (Level 3
currently has a number of partners that do provide these services.)

Ed Carey from Level 3 talks about their product line and provides some
technical details about IP trunking. Their "3 Voice" termination
service allows organizations to migrate to IP phones for long distance
service. A class 5 softswitch or media gateway converts TDM traffic
to IP before handing it off to Level 3's network. A SIP-aware
firewall is also recommended. SIP edge proxies talk to the firewall
and traffic is passed. Most customers use this for long distance, but
some also terminate local traffic. Ed says that for local termination
it is important to understand your organization's call patterns. With
Texas A&M, Level 3 is doing long-distance voice termination.

Level 3 also offers a service called "Local Inbound". A customer is
provided with a number or bank of numbers, and SIP signaling is
provided by an edge proxy. This product is useful for call centers,
for example. They also offer E911 Direct service for clients who host
their own traffic, and an Enhanced Local service which provides
inbound and outbound service, 911, and 411 service. This service is
often used by resellers (for example Sprint's government division uses
this at several military bases). This allows VoIP service at bases
without IP PBXs on site, and allows Sprint to combine voice and IP
traffic onto one platform without separate T1 lines for each service.

Alan Crosswell asks about Level 3's requirement for certification of
the softswitch or proxy. He is curious because Columbia uses OpenSER.
Ed says that there should be no issues, and certification is only done
to make sure that everything works with Level 3's network. Walt
mentions that they are testing several commercial and open-source
proxies and should be able to provide details about any potential

Dennis asks about the use of a session border controller, which seems
to be unnecessary in this application. Ed replies that the border
controller could also provide NAT functionality, but mainly is
recommended as many organizations are paranoid about exposing their
services to the commercial Internet and this provides an additional
level of security.

Ed also mentions that they have tested both Asterisk and OpenSER, and
both work fine. But each installation of Asterisk is different, and
Level 3 has specific requirements for addressing. For example, they
require a 1 and + in the From field, and some products cannot do this.
Additionally, SIP extension headers must be supported, as Level 3's
Lucent gear requires this.

Alan asks if SRTP or SIPS are supported. Ed says that. as of now,
they are not, due to technical limitations in the Lucent TNTs and
Apexes, but they will be able to support these in the first or second
quarter of 2007. Ed mentions that these have to be discussed as a
business offering which is the more difficult part. Should they be a
standard feature, or an extra service?

A question is asked regarding CALEA compliance. Scott mentions that
they have discussed this, and feel that it is not a major issue. They
feel that since they are just a middleman for traffic, there shouldn't
be any major problems. This might change as they acquire more retail,
as opposed to wholesale, customers, but Level 3 is working to be fully
CALEA-compliant by May of 2007.

Another participant wonders if SIP is the only protocol supported.
Scott says that it is.

Scott finishes by saying that Level 3 is excited about this endeavor,
and is eager to provide voice services for Internet2 participants.
They don't have everything figured out yet but are looking forward to
working with the community to hone in on a set of desired services.

Jeremy asks a final question about disaster recovery. Walt says that
with IP traffic, trunks can easily be re-routed across Internet2 if a
campus is lost. Garrett asks if this will be tested at Texas A&M, and
Walt says that they are looking into it, and are investigating any FCC

Finally, Ben asks if there should be another call for ITSP discussion.
Alan suggested that a discussion at the upcoming Joint Techs would be

The next calls will be:

* July 20th - "SPIT-Prevention";

* July 27th - "Live from ACUTA" (Garret Yoshimi)

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