Special Delivery: Four Letters Inspire Niche Providers

VoIP - and increased interest by carriers in providing it - has prompted the development of specialty wholesale network services and even companies that cater to the needs of nextgen communications companies.

Take Mzima Networks Inc. The company, founded in February 2002, offers direct terminations to more than 300 domestic and in-country international partners over an all- IP network. Its target: VoIP providers.

“We have built an IP-only network designed for voice traffic,” says company founder and CTO Grant Kirkwood, who has an IP background rather than telephony. “So, it’s designed for low latency, low jitter, no packet loss. It’s completely performance-based.”

Mzima’s secret is proprietary routeoptimization software. Kirkwood says most available programs for routing change routes frequently - on an hourly basis sometimes - risking dropped calls and packet loss with each change. Instead, Mzima’s software “looks at where the traffic is going and tries to make some long-term predictions about what routes are going to be congested, what routes are going to be consistently better,” Kirkwood explains. “Even if there might be a route that performs really great at one time of the day and really poorly at another time of the day, we will prefer a route that is more consistent even if it is not as good at its best times as the other one.”

The system works so well that even video streaming companies and online gaming providers are coming on board with Mzima, Kirkwood adds.

In January, the company completed a route from New York to Los Angeles over wavelengths leased from Level 3 Communications Inc. and WilTel Communications LLC. It now has routes interconnecting six cities - Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose/San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “They are all interconnected. That’s the other thing that makes us unique; from any city on our network, it’s one hop to any other city on our network,” he says, explaining a lower number of hops increases quality control. London is scheduled to turn up by the end of the second quarter while Hong Kong is set for a third-quarter launch.

In April, Mzima planned to announce the expansion of its New York City presence with additions to its original 60 Hudson St. location. New PoPs are in 111 Eighth Ave. through an agreement with NYC Connect LLC, and in 25 Broadway and Equinix Inc.’s Secaucus facilities.

DCI Voice Solutions is another specialty wholesaler that is servicing VoIP providers. The company has been terminating traffic over its VoIP network since mid-2002. Like Mzima, DCI’s roots are in the IP industry. DCI, a technology unit of the 30-year-old media and real estate company Draper Holdings Business Trust, has been an owner, operator and manager of ISPs since 1995. The company owns 17 ISPs, including Delmarva Online. The company’s foray into voice services began in 2001 when DCI was formed as a switchless reseller to shore up expected losses in the dialup business. The company quickly moved to a facilities-based strategy. “Coming from the ISP market, it was easy,” says Neil Rosenblit, executive vice president of corporate sales, of running an IP network.

DCI aggregates relationships with multiple carriers on behalf of its customers. Its initial targets have been ILECs and CLECs that don’t want to negotiate and maintain one-onone agreements with multiple carriers but want the benefits of least-cost routing down to the NPA-NXX. “Now we are looking at VoIP players who need to pass ANI,” Rosenblit says, explaining DCI passes ANI exactly as it is presented by the customers.

The company accepts traffic as IP (H.323 or SIP) or TDM, and converts it to the appropriate format for the customer or supplier using its gateway services. In February, DCI rolled out VoIP origination offerings, Elite Inbound Toll Free and Elite Local DID. The services can be bundled with VoIP termination services or provided standalone.


DCI Voice Solutions
Equinix Inc.
Level 3 Communications Inc.
Mzima Networks Inc.
NYC Connect LLC
WilTel Communications LLC

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