The competition is intense, ARPU (average revenue per customer) is declining, and technology is evolving each day. Service providers are now rethinking their business models and are in search of innovative ways to gain mileage commercially.
These service providers are looking for SIP trunking, 4G roaming, IMS/VoLTE services, etc. and are moving termination services to an all IP interconnection. In this scenario, a session border controller plays a pivotal role.
What is a Session Border Controller?
A session border controller is deployed in VoIP networks; it regulates the IP communication sessions and all types of real-time communications like VoIP, IP video, text messages and other collaboration sessions.
Out of the many reasons to deploy an SBC, security, interoperability and quality of service are the important roles played by an SBC. Other than these, migration to another network or infrastructure is also made easy by session border controller.
Let us discuss this in detail.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the use of SBC in peer to peer communication. Some defy the concept of SBC because they think that SBC lengthens the media paths and slows down communication. However, a session border is crucial because it protects VoIP networks from malicious activities. While a firewall only controls network data, SBC focuses on scanning and regulating SIP enabled traffic and audio/video streams. SBC offers a stricter protection and fortifies your network to prevent eavesdropping, identity theft, and ensures fair usage of resources by protecting over usage and pattern based blacklist/whitelist of customers.
A session border controller is an excellent way of ensuring that SIPs work smoothly with one another. Now one may argue that when there is gateway why use SBC? Gateway does the job of voice transcoding efficiently. The answer to this is that, while gateway provides conversion between a circuit session and a packet switched network, SBC works as a border between two packet-based networks. SBC has the expertise to provide interoperability function from Network Layer to Application Layer and enable communication between heterogeneous end points/peers.
• Quality of Service
An SBC implements the QoS policy for a network and handles the prioritization of calls. This means that an SBC defines and monitors the quality of service (QoS) status for all sessions and can prioritize emergency calls above others using functions like traffic policing, resource allocation, rate limiting, call admission control, ToS/DSCP bit setting, etc. SBC also helps in routing calls to the best quality destination and enables call handover process between access networks whenever the call quality drops below some threshold. The call priorities are not set based on the whims of managers for voice, data or communication, instead, the quality of service profiles are configured and marked on the data path - impartial decisions are taken by SBC.
You may need help for migrating to a SIP-enabled Unified Communication infrastructure, need interoperability with a different IP-PBX solution or have a co-existence scenario. In any case, an SBC provides translation, and allows unabridged communication during the transition period and beyond.
The emergence of SIP as the preferred signaling protocol!
Many service providers are now offering SIP trunking solutions because enterprises are increasingly migrating to a SIP-enabled Unified communication infrastructure. SIP has emerged as the preferred signaling protocol for IP communications. It is a cost-effective and a flexible alternative to the conventional circuits. It not only reduces expenses but also eliminates vendor lock-ins and offers wider choice in provisioning users.
An SBC enables secure SIP trunking, consolidated VoIP and UC networks, allows access to cloud and hosted IP communications services and provides higher security for communication across IP contact centers, remote work locations, and branch offices. Thus security, interoperability, migration, Call Quality Control and media policy enforcements are some reasons that make the use of SBC inevitable.
Next generation session border controllers provide robust security and simplified interoperability to service providers. They deliver great service quality for applications like SIP Trunking and Unified Multimedia Communications. For more information on SIP Trunking and Unified Communications solutions by Panamax.