NEW YORK, June 23 -- Verizon announced yesterday it is deploying advanced packet-switching technology to serve local business and consumer lines in California and Washington state. The new packet switches will replace existing technology known as circuit switches.
Packet-switching systems are being installed in five southern California communities: Temecula, Elsinore, Homeland, Baldwin Park and Azusa, and a sixth packet switch is being intalled in Mount Vernon, Wash. The six switches, provided by Nortel Networks, are expected to come on line later this year.
Verizon said customers served in those areas will continue to receive the same voice and data services at the same price, and they will not be required to change equipment.
The new packet-switching systems -- also known as softswitches - are based on the same technology used to send data through the Internet. Until now, circuit-switching systems have been the standard for routing calls in telecommunications networks. Verizon said packet switch technology can eventually be combined with innovative Internet service capabilities that will enable customers to monitor their incoming and outgoing calls, keep a log of calls, automatically route incoming calls to a cell phone or other location and manage their calling and e-mail traffic on a personal computer.
Verizon said the new switches will change the way Verizon's network handles voice traffic. Today, a traditional voice call relies on a distinct circuit for the duration of the call or transmission. While that call is going on, that circuit cannot be used for anything else. In a packet-switching environment, the call is broken up into chunks, or packets, and transmitted over links that are also being used to transmit packets of data information such as Internet access, as well as many other calls. This sharing of the network for voice, data and video means the network can handle far more traffic.
Verizon began using this technology in its network in 1999, in the form of voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) gateways to connect local customers with some long-distance networks.
The announcement follows Verizon's May 19 launch, in Keller, Texas, of a program to build fiber-optic networks to connect homes and businesses to its network via fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) technology. Verizon plans to deploy fiber systems to pass as many as 1 million homes and businesses this year.
For more information, visit: www.verizon.com