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June 03, 2011

Role of Session Border Controllers May Be Changing as Revenues Increase

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor


Session border controllers (SBC) may be taking on new roles as revenues increase from the popularity of the devices.

SBCs are used in calls through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) networks. The SBC is often located on a “border” between the local area network (LAN) and the Internet.

Ian Kilpatrick, chairman of U.K.-based Wick Hill Group, says that SBCs were originally designed to be between the borders on two service provider networks. That has been expanded to be between an access network from the service provider and the backbone network used for residential/enterprise customers, he adds.

A Sipera (News - Alert) Systems company blog post explains that SBCs are sometimes thought to provide security for unified communications, but this is incorrect.

“SBCs do provide limited security, and there are many white papers detailing the limitations. For example, they provide DOS protection, but their response to a DOS attack applies equally to good and bad traffic. It can result in performance degradation and poor call quality. SBCs were never designed to secure networks and, as a consequence, cannot do so,” the blog post adds.

In addition, Bernie Dodwell, channel director for EMEA at Sipera Systems (News - Alert), said security functions of session border controllers are “where the misconception about them providing security for UC applications comes from.”

“But they are not appropriate or sufficient for protecting voice and converged applications from today’s threats. And they work at the network level, not at the application level, which is required for effective security today,” Dodwell adds.

In a related matter, TMCnet reported in December that global SBC revenues were projected to increase quickly through 2010 based on data from Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert).

Infonetics Research also predicted SBC compound annual growth rate (CAGR) will be about 44%, with revenues at $541 million by 2010.

TMCnet said the technology “is penetrating certain markets slower than others.”

In addition, ABI Research (News - Alert) predicts there will be a seven-fold increase in the number of residential VoIP subscribers worldwide between 2006 and 2012.

Frost & Sullivan also predicts that enterprise VoIP services revenues would increase to $3.3 billion during 2010 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31.4 percent, TMCnet adds.


Ed Silverstein is a TMCnet contributor. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein



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