SPOTLIGHT: Killing Me Softly

Mobile networks center around a digital voice switch or MSC (for mobile switching center). The MSC, a circuit-switched voice technology, will soon be a thing of the past, repalced by layered soft-switch architectures based on an IP core network. The mobile soft-switch in effect breaks the more traditional MSC into two functional components: centralized MSC servers to handle mobile call control, and media gateways (MGWs) to process user-plane traffic. Ericsson is currently dominant in the soft-switch segment, but the growing interest of operators in adopting softswitching has led others to enter the soft-switch fray, among them Alcatel, Motorola, Nokia, Nortel, and Huawei Technologies. Report