New high density Prosody X PCIe media processing board hits the sweet spot for developers

Vanilla cupcake topped with strawberry ganache clever engineers have done it again – you’ve now got an even higher density, media processing board with which to play. The new PCIe board joins the Prosody X family of DSP-based boards that are used extensively in multimodal communications systems.

We could have just taken the existing 4-trunk Prosody X PCIe board and added further trunks and DSPs. Instead we took note of customer feedback and went the extra mile to further improve the original design. 

The result is a board with vastly increased channel capacities, giving our developer customers the components needed to readily craft large scale systems at a very cost-effective price-per-channel. Whilst many DSP boards top out at 240 channels, the new 8-port Prosody X PCIe board can support up to 720 channels.

Why such a difference?

Traditionally, DSP media processing board systems were constrained by their architecture, which was designed primarily to support TDM traffic. With 8 trunks and 30 channels per trunk (for an E1 TDM link) you achieve the 240 channels. Aculab’s ability to support much greater channel counts is due to the IP architecture inherent in the design of the Prosody X board.

Prosody X – a board designed for the old (TDM) and the new (VoIP) way


Figure 1 - Prosody X architecture

From the diagram above, it can be seen that the Prosody-X board is truly IP-centric, and the entire architecture centres around the Ethernet switch.  The TDM part of the circuitry is the legacy element, and is only used if there is a need to move media off to a legacy infrastructure.  The Prosody X board itself appears to the host server as a NIC, and command and control traffic can arrive at the card, either from the local host, or remotely, via the external Ethernet interfaces.

Gigabit Ethernet connectivity

One of the main areas of improvement with the new board was the addition of Gigabit Ethernet connectivity as an option. Earlier PCI and PCIe Prosody X boards were fitted with dual Fast Ethernet interfaces as this was appropriate for the channel capacities possible. Gigabit Ethernet was available only on the cPCI form factor Prosody X boards that, with up to 8 DSPs and 16 E1/T1 trunks, can exploit the bandwidth offered by such an interface.

To meet market demands, our team of engineers investigated how the board design could be optimised, and determined that they could open up the possibility for the board to support much higher RTP traffic channel counts. When the time came to test the hardware, the theoretical analyses were proven to be correct. A sample of the achievable channel counts are shown in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2 - sample of channel counts achievable with the new Prosody X board

As communications platforms increasingly become more IP-traffic centric, so the importance of communications hardware, such as Prosody X, that is highly efficient in dealing with VoIP, gains in importance. 

In conclusion, if you are looking for a way to build cost-effective, medium or large scale IVR, call-centre, fax server, conferencing server or similar enterprise/telco platforms then you should check out what Aculab and Prosody X can offer. You will be pleasantly surprised.

To find out more, visit the new 8 trunk Prosody X PCIe board page.

Look out for part 2 of this blog series on the design of the Prosody X board that will describe further advantages of the IP-centric design.

Andrew Nicholson

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