Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Thomson Acquires Cirpack for its Softswitches

Thomson has acquired Cirpack, a privately-held developer of class-5 softswitching solutions based near Paris. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Cirpack claims 45 telco and ISP customers in 15 countries. The customer list includes Free, a subsidiary of the Iliad Group and the second largest French ISP, which is using a joint solution from IBM and Cirpack to deliver a consumer VoIP service over unbundled DSL lines. The residential VoIP is provided as an add-on to the company's ADSL service in the areas where Free has deployed its own DSL infrastructure.

Cirpack's softswitch platform can host a range of high-density network interfaces (IP, ATM, TDM) and supports multiple local signaling protocol variants simultaneously (ISDN, SS7, VoIP, VoATM). It can be configured to manage voice transit services (Class-4) as well as subscriber services (Class- 5). The company partners with IBM Global Services.

Cirpack was established in 1998 and funded by Siparex Ventures, Iris Capital and Endeavour L.P. It has approximately 60 employees.

Thomson said the acquisition would complement its existing offerings in IP telephony, remote management and access products and gateways for triple play services. Just last month, Thomson acquired Inventel, a European supplier of home gateways for fixed broadband operators and wireless operators. Cirpack will be part of Thomson's Access Platforms & Gateways Business Unit within the Systems & Equipment Division.

Among its broadband activities, Thomson is a leading supplier of DSL customer premise equipment (CPE) and set-top boxes.

  • In February 2005, CIRPACK released software enhancements for its Class-5 telephony platform enabling wireline telecom operators to deploy TISPAN-compliant architectures. This allows migration of legacy PSTN to global VoIP networks capable of delivering new voice services such as fixed-mobile convergence according to 3GPP's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). The TISPAN committee is the ETSI core competence centre for migration of fixed networks from circuit-switched to packet-based networks with an architecture that can serve in both. In a TISPAN architecture, Cirpack switches control IMAP (Integrated Multiservice Access Platforms) using H.248/Megaco to deliver POTS and ISDN telephony from the same access platforms as DSL services.

  • In November 2004, Thomson acquired EADS DCS' Video Over IP integration business. Based in Lyon, France, the EADS DCS team has expertise in the design, systems integration and management of IT infrastructure above the IP layer (system administration, messaging, portals and web services), with an emphasis on TV and Video On Demand (VOD) over xDSL solutions.