and OMG Specifications Open Telecom Equipment Markets to Lower Costs and Faster Service
Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom,
and Sprint Operate Trial System that Validates CORBA-based Implementation of the TINA-C
April 29 1998, Framingham, MA In a drive to reduce
equipment costs and speed the development of new services, telecommunications carriers are
accelerating their transition toward open, non-proprietary platforms for computing and
telecom switching. In a move that will accelerate this transition, the Object Management
Group (OMG) and the Telecommunications Information Networking Architecture Consortium
(TINA-C) have formalized a collaborative agreement to promote common specifications for
emerging hybrid computing/telecommunications solutions. A trial system, based on the
specifications, is being tested by Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom, and Sprint. It is the
first transcontinental demonstration of interconnectivity across various carrier systems
and across a mix of computing and telecommunications technologies.
"One of the most important industry trends today is
the unbundling of telecom switching hardware from software," said Dr. Deb K. Guha,
Chief Executive Officer of TINA-C. "In the past, when telecom carriers bought
switches to run their network, they had no choice but to buy a combined package from a
single equipment supplier. But traditional switching software interoperates through
signaling protocols such as SS7, which are primitive compared to whats possible with
open systems. The industry is looking to OMGs CORBA (Common Object Request Broker
Architecture) to solve the incompatibility issues between switching systems."
William R. Hoffman, President and COO of OMG, added,
"The convergence of IT and telecom technologies will create a more flexible
architecture through which carriers can add new services and features not possible
previously. Competition is driving carriers to offer customers a greater choice of
services, including web integration, online billing, and more. Software is key to these
services. The common specifications developed by OMG and TINA-C will allow more
feature-rich software to enter the marketplace and ensure its interoperability."
CORBA establishes a middleware layer above the operating
system so that software applications become independent of the hardware and operating
system. "In essence, CORBA gives the telecom industry a single, universal operating
system," said Dr. Hendrik Berndt, Chief Technology Officer-designee of TINA-C.
"The TINA architecture builds on CORBA to provide a flexible service architecture
based on the session concept. This allows carriers to efficiently separate concerns
related to service access, delivery, and connectivity."
OMG and TINA-C have collaborated for several years to
ensure alignment of strategies and efforts. Today, the organizations announced an
expanded, more-formal relationship, in which an OMG staff member will participate in
TINA-C committees and a TINA-C member will participate in OMG technical committees,
including those within the telecommunications domain. The two groups may further expand
their relationship in the future.
Global One Alliance Validates TINA and CORBA Specifications
The Global One Alliance, a joint venture of Deutsche
Telekom, France Telecom, and Sprint, is currently conducting a trial that validates a
CORBA-based implementation of the TINA-C architecture. The system supports advanced
services including: call completion, universal access, and group communications. The trial
is scheduled to run through the end of 1998.
According to Berndt, who until recently served as Executive
Director of Advanced Technology at Global One, all of the services run on the same
infrastructure and share a set of computational objects. Universal access allows users to
reach their global service environment and services from anywhere in the world for the
cost of a local call. Call completion employs intelligent user agents to successfully
reach a user by office phone, wireless phone, or via an Internet account. Group
communication services include video conferencing and joint document editing facilities.
A dedicated kernel transport network integrates the
different carriers PBX systems and programmable switches. The kernel transport
network uses ATM and ISDN networks for trans-Atlantic connectivity and LAN technologies at
the edges of the network.
"The CORBA specifications from OMG complement the TINA
architecture, which together enable us to provide seamless services on an extensible
platform, and exceptional user and service mobility," said Berndt.
Such progress in open systems is of enormous importance to
telecom carriers, who no longer want to be locked into a single manufacturer.
"History has shown that open markets create new opportunities," explained Guha.
"Ultimately, we can expect more innovation from the equipment manufacturers, faster
overall industry growth, and more freedom for the carriers to meet the expanding needs of
Formed in 1992, TINA-C is an association of more than
40 of the worlds largest telecom network providers, telecom equipment suppliers, and
computing vendors. Member companies work together to define a common software architecture
to support an open telecommunications and information software component marketplace.
Existing TINA specifications enable network providers to easily create new services,
including advanced multimedia and information services, and to manage services and
OMG establishes specifications for distributed
computing based on the input of more than 800 member companies including major software
providers, computer systems vendors, and technology end-users. OMGs mission is to
extend its primary middleware specification, CORBA, into major vertical industries. The
telecommunications industry which oversees the worlds largest distributed
application represents one of the fastest growing segments of the OMG membership
and is a major user of the CORBA specifications.