In my blog from last week, I talked about today’s communications network environment and how Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are critical when it comes to interconnecting TDM and IP networks. This week, I’d like to talk about the specific benefits that SBCs offer service providers and enterprises.
Basically, there are many things that an SBC can do well. In terms of benefits for service providers, the SBC sits at demarcation points between the networks and provides a wide range of important functions for security, protocol translation, normalization and call handling. An SBC enables seamless communication between different service provider networks and end-user networks that are comprised of elements from many different kinds of equipment manufacturers.
SBCs can also help network operators manage calls, regulate data flows, fix or change protocols and syntax, and overcome obstacles that Network Address Translation (NAT) devices and firewalls may pose for IP calling. In addition, where SBCs are inspecting the sessions – both multimedia and control traffic – as they are entering the network, they are also able to play a major role in maintaining high availability by helping to mitigate potential system failures and network overloads that can result when networks are confronted by Denial of Service (DoS) attacks. What other solution can provide so many functionalities to service providers?
Another nice benefit of SBCs is that they can help expand the options enterprise organizations have when it comes to considering choices for communications equipment and solutions; for example, a premise-based IP PBX or hosted solution. Because an SBC compensates for potential incompatibility issues, customers have a wide variety of services and service providers to select from, and might no longer need to give a lot of attention to factors such as compatibility (that in the past may have limited their communications options). As a result, SBCs allow for enterprises to be flexible in terms of taking a “best of breed approach” when choosing a platform or solution that most fits their needs, and helps to remove or minimize the limitations or restrictions imposed by one service provider versus another. In addition, while SBCs deployed within service provider networks provide infrastructure protection for the operator, those deployed at the enterprise edge provide protection against malicious attacks for enterprise networks.
Next week, I’ll go into some of the new applications that SBCs can help provide.