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Round Up

Session Border Controllers


VoIP service providers, network operators, developers, and really anyone with a role in the VoIP industry, has come to understand that, in order to successfully deploy a VoIP solution, a session border controller (SBC) must be part of the equation.

In very basic terms, an SBC acts somewhat like a doorman at a high-end hotel, who allows hotel guests to enter, while keeping unwanted and uninvited visitors out. The SBC performs the same tasks at the edge of the network, allowing authorized traffic to pass and rejecting the rest. It is a session-aware device that usually sits at the edge (border) of a network controlling real-time traffic as it crosses from network to network.

But SBCs are capable of much more than interconnecting networks or simple security functions; there are a variety of deployment options, which is why, in this months product round-up, we have attempted to describe the differences in products from the various players in the SBC market. What follows are brief overviews of SBC products from some 20 companies. Much more information can be gleaned by contacting the companies in person.

Acme Packet (news - alerts)

Acme Packet Net-Net SD is a high-performance, high-capacity, signaling and media control engine that steers signaled media flows over the best route and performs required security, service assurance, and law enforcement functions at network borders. It supports service provider SIP, MGCP and H.323 networks; complements IP edge and border routers and offers security, SLA assurance, L2 & L3 QoS marking, revenue and profit assurance, law enforcement, high performance, high capacity. Net-Net SD is also available in a configuration that satisfies security and SLA assurance requirements at enterprise network borders. Acme Packet Net-Net 9000, the next-generation session border control (SBC) platform, supports next-gen, converged fixed-mobile architectures being defined by 3GPP IMS, ETSI TISPAN, the Multi-Service Forum, PacketCable and the DSL Forum. It supports both subscriber access and network interconnect border requirements in wireline, cable and wireless networks. As a next-generation platform the Net-Net 9000 offers the industrys highest levels of performance, capacity and availability in a single SBC platform. Acme Packet Net-Net PAC is the industrys most scalable, full-featured session border control solution that optimally delivers premium interactive communications across wireline, wireless and cable IP network borders. Designed for large-scale, Tier 1 service provider deployments. Net-Net PAC sets new levels for SIP performance, availability and capacity that are three times to sixteen times better than the nearest competing session border controllers.

Cisco (news - alerts)

The Cisco XR 12000 Packet Services Card (PSC-1) provides the session border control (SBC) functions on the Cisco XR 12000 Series Router product line, making it the first carrier router with integrated SBC. The SBC application builds on the secure virtualization, continuous system operation, and multiservice scale provided by the Cisco XR 12000 Series. With the seamless integration of SBC functions into Layer 2/Layer 3 services provided by the Cisco XR 12000, the Cisco XR 12000 SBC eliminates the need for overlay networks and standalone appliances. The Cisco XR 12000 SBC provides an open and flexible architecture for all service provider deployments, whether for peering or for customer access. With its ability to handle unified and distributed signaling deployments, the Cisco XR 12000 SBC provides superior deployment flexibility to cable, wireline, and wireless service providers. An element of the Cisco Systems IP Multimedia Subsystem portfolio, the Cisco XR12000 SBC further accelerates network convergence while providing investment protection. With its comprehensive suite of features and high-availability hardware and software, the Cisco PSC-1 helps enable a broad range of SBC applications on Cisco XR 12000 Series routers for cable, wireline, and wireless service providers. The SBC application incorporates the security, QoS, and secure virtualization capabilities of the Cisco XR 12000 Series to enable support for service provider-to-service provider interconnect and service provider-to-access interconnect.

Data Connection (news - alerts)

Data Connections SBC is a portable software solution designed especially for equipment vendors that is deployable immediately, delivering dramatic cost and time-to-market savings. The solution also includes many of the essential control functions required in an IMS environment, and the Session Border Controller architecture is designed for unparalleled modularity, flexibility, scale, and reliability. DC-SBC is available to OEMs as a complete solution or can be modularized to incorporate individual components. Both solutions are highly portable and can be integrated seamlessly with any hardware and operating system as well as with existing, field-deployed systems including softswitches and routers. Data Connections SBC software can also be used to provide many of the essential control functions required in an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). DC-SBC is built on a foundation of proven and field-hardened VoIP signaling technology. These products have been shipping for the past five years, and have been field-hardened and deployed in a wide variety of VoIP devices. Data Connections SBC architecture is highly modular. The logical areas of functionality are broken down into separate subcomponents that do not share resources, and communicate using open, asynchronous, message-passing interfaces. This allows components to be distributed and even completely replaced or removed from the system.

Ditech Communications (news - alerts)

PeerPoints extensive feature set is aimed at making VoIP a reality in the service provider environment. PeerPoint C100s flexible modes and broad interoperability allow deployment in IP networks without requiring changes to the network or to the VoIP subscribers equipment configuration. Deployed at the IP network edge, PeerPoint helps reduce the cost of delivering broadband VoIP services. The most common problem service providers encounter when deploying hosted IP services is the inability of subscribers voice equipment to work seamlessly behind NAT equipment and firewalls. PeerPoint ensures that subscribers can connect anywhere, anytime, without having to reconfigure their equipment. PeerPoint C100 is the first SBC to solve the NAT issue in a Microsoft Live Communications Server (LCS) deployment. PeerPoint serves as an SBC interconnecting the LCS clients to the Microsoft Access Proxy, which, in turn, communicates with back end servers. PeerPoint enables service providers to deploy compelling integrated voice and video applications in parallel with secure instant messaging and presence. PeerPoint also helps service providers reduce costs and reach new markets by enabling seamless peering with other VoIP service providers. PeerPoint manages both media and signaling, which allows it to collect forensic data, such as QoS metrics, remote device information, and voice quality information to help isolate telephony issues or enforce Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with peering partners.

Emergent Networks (news - alerts)

When signaling control is not enough, the ENTICE Session Controller allows full access to all the communications flows (signaling, media, and media control) required to establish a media session in a packet network. This solution is designed to bridge the gap between two networks, offering protocol translation between H.323 and SIP, media access and control to solve security and vendor compatibility issues as well as providing call detail records for billing. Because of the E-SCs unique architecture, custom solutions can be easily created by modifying features via the built-in APIs to fulfill the exact requirements for a specific network without the need to release new software generics. This frees carriers from the gridlock caused by relying only on their vendors for new application and features and, enables them to control their own destiny while at the same time providing stable and reliable software in the form of well tested and field proven software generic releases. The ENTICE Session Controller also frees carriers from these problems and allows them to easily connect with networks from around the world, while providing the security features that they need to protect their current revenue and a path to add services to their network to enhance those revenues.

Ingate Systems (news - alerts)

Ingate Firewalls are the worlds first SIP-capable firewalls, making Ingate the only choice for enterprises that want access to SIP-based communications such as presence, instant messaging, audio/video conferencing, and VoIP. Ingate products include a SIP proxy and a SIP registrar, support NAT and PAT, have TLS support for encrypted SIP signalling which means that instant messages are automatically encrypted and have been cited by users and media for ease of use. Ingate Firewalls are cost effective and prevent unauthorized access to and from enterprise networks, while allowing SIP-based communications. All messages entering and leaving the network are routed through the Ingate Firewall, which examines each packet and blocks those not explicitly authorized to pass. Ingates VPN and SIP modules make it possible for enterprises to adjust the number of users with minimum investment. Compatible with all existing networks and operating systems, Ingate Firewalls come in a range of models to meet the needs of the entire enterprise market. However, for enterprises that want to preserve their previous firewall investment, there is the Ingate SIParator. The Ingate SIParator is a device that connects easily to an existing network firewall to seamlessly enable the traversal of realtime SIP-based communications. The Ingate SIParator controls SIP traffic without affecting the security provided by your firewall. Compatible with all existing firewalls, networks and operating systems, Ingate SIParators can support the needs of enterprises of all sizes. SIParators are cost efficient, easy to use, and have the flexibility and scalability required to meet the dynamic needs of todays enterprises.

Juniper Networks (news - alerts)

The highly scalable Juniper Networks VF-series session border controllers ensure service providers and enterprises a fast, expert delivery of IP communications services (voice, video, multimedia) and a cost-effective, competitive edge. VF-series session border controllers enable seamless and secure VoIP networking by resolving security, service assurance (QoS), address translation, and regulatory compliance issues at the edge of VoIP networks. Purpose-built to enable real-time IP services, VF-series session border controllers are deep-packet processing devices that handle all common VoIP protocols (SIP, H.323, MGCP). They support both signaling and media streams to classify, measure, and manipulate each packet for management and reporting of all VoIP traffic. Juniper has three SBCs with progressively larger capacities, each designed specifically for different classes of users. The 1000E is designed for service provider networks, managed services, large enterprises; the 3000 should satisfy service provider and carrier edge or core applications; and the 4000 is large enough to handle large service provider and carrier edge or core applications.

Marconi Corp. (news - alerts)

The Marconi Impact IMS Session Controller XCD6000 Release 4.2.0 enables rapid deployment of new multimedia services to generate increased revenues while lowering the costs and risks of deployment. The Marconi Impact IMS Session Controller removes the constraints of vertically integrated networks: it provides an open, standardscompliant, carrier-grade IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Call Session Control Function (CSCF) that allows voice, video and data services to be converged on a single, horizontally integrated, IP network. You can quickly deploy enhanced multimedia services to customers, via multiple access networks without replicating core network components. Key benefits include: Rapid deployment of innovative services with low cost and risk; seamless integration of advanced voice, video, and data services over a converged IP network; increased revenue potential; ubiquitous communications services for customers from a range of terminal devices; integration of SIP terminals with existing voice networks; cost savings through improved operational efficiency; open standard interfaces to other IMS components; seamless integration with existing voice networks.

MERA Systems (news - alerts)

MERAs MVTS is a carrier-grade session controller that provides a single interface between multiple IP networks for delivery of end-to-end VoIP communications. It enables safe and secure interconnection with customers and peering partners, protects your network from unauthorized access and DoS attacks, and provides for reliable and cost-effective control of VoIP calls that go through your network. In brief, MERA Session Controller is a complete network management solution for VoIP carriers that combines smart routing, network protection and border control mechanisms all on a single platform. MERAs MVTS Session Controller is a full-featured solution for carriers and service providers of any size. It provides client networks with a single point-of-entry into the VoIP infrastructure to enable CALEA service, provide centralized authentication, authorization and accounting, as well as NAT Traversal. It supports interoperability with all major equipment vendors and provides enhanced network security through proxy functionality and DoS attack prevention. Meras MVTS can increase profit margins by 30% and improve ASR (Average Success Rate) by 50%. It will ensure PSTN reliability and quality, accelerate speed to market from weeks to minutes, reduce CAPEX by 50% and OPEX by 30%. With Mera, you will reach investment payback in less than six months, while being able to grow your network up to 40,000 concurrent sessions.

Netcentrex (news - alerts)

NeoXBC is a carrier-class SBC, a new breed of networking equipment specifically built to handle VoIP traffic in real time. NeoXBC makes possible for Telecom Operators and Service Providers to switch their voice services from PSTN to full IP networks and achieve superior profitability and customer satisfaction without compromising security and performances. NeoXBC enables Telecom Operators and Service Providers to handle SIP/H.323 interworking protocol issues, solve NAT traversal and security issues, manage their bandwidth, collect statistics for billing and safely interconnect with carrier partners via VoIP peering. NeoGate is a session border controller that answers the needs of private companies and government agencies (CPE). NeoGate enables companies to switch from TDM to VoIP and make substantial savings without putting the whole organization at risk. NeoGate is located transparently in the companys or end-users demilitarized zone, by avoiding the use of VPNs which are both expensive and difficult to configure. It adapts to a variety of configurations such as Centrex and PABX trunking, as well as video-telephony via specialized terminals (Polycom, Tandberg, Leadtek, etc.). (news - alerts)

NETs SHOUT platform provides superior session border controller functions within a scalable, voice over IP solution. SHOUT provides the control functions you need to route VoIP call signaling and media; converge separate VoIP protocols, including SIP & H.323; ensure quality and secure calling; and much more. A standout in the VoIP solutions industry, SHOUT offers advanced functionality that is uncommon to many session border controllers. For example, using SHOUTs session initiation protocol registration feature, an enterprise or vendor can enable SIP phones in a private network to work with an external proxy in the public network. Also, limitations normally associated with NAT traversal and multiprotocol VoIP environments are completely avoided with SHOUT. In addition to advanced session border controller functionality, SHOUT features include: SIP to H.323 Conversion SS7/C7 Signaling Simplified Provisioning & Maintenance Billing Record Generation Integration of Communication Networks onto One Platform. If your enterprise is making the switch to voice over IP network communications, NET can help integrate session border controller functionality into your current network. SHOUT is easily deployed into existing networks, which minimizes setup and equipment upgrade costs.

Netrake (news - alerts)

Netrakes session border controllers resolve the peering, latency, quality of service, capacity and control issues preventing widespread commercial deployment of VoIP. The nCite session border controllers deliver security, ease of management, media anchoring, session admission control solution, session detail record solution, and interconnection. Netrakes SBS offer unmatched scalability and are designed to more than satisfy the requirements generated by any economic model, from small to very large. nCite call capacity ranges from 1,000 simultaneous sessions up to 42,000 simultaneous sessions, all in a single compact system. Netrake provides unequaled support, thereby reducing infrastructure requirements by replacing multiple point solutions with a single, integrated (signaling and media) solution and reducing VoIP network complexities. The ultimate corporate benefit is a reduction in operating costs nCite SBCs leverage existing investments in networks and back office systems, offer high availability and reliability via fully redundant hardware and software architecture for system processor, switching fabric, and I/O modules, which ensures no loss of calls and the highest quality of reliability. Deployment of nCite session controllers does not require modifications and/or special configurations to existing network infrastructure including; routers, gateways, gatekeeper capabilities, or security systems.

Newport Networks (news - alerts)

The 1460 session border controller enables peering and interconnect between operators. It allows managed IP-based voice and multimedia services to be securely delivered to consumers and businesses. Key capabilities provided by the 1460 include: The ability to traverse corporate, consumer, and core network NAPT and Firewall devices for SIP services; Quality of Service enforcement via session admission control and policing; Security protection for the core network, for customers, and for service revenue; Regulatory compliance providing Lawful Intercept and Emergency Call Handling. Other feature include managing traffic volumes; prevention of fraudulent or faulty sessions from exceeding agreed bandwidths, protecting the QoS of other clients; limiting the effects of DoS attacks; enabling media flow differentiation based on a quality policy; enabling media streams to be routed directly between User Agents (UAs) in the same corporate network without transiting the 1460 and consuming access network bandwidth. The 1460 has no single point of failure, providing in excess of 99.999% availability. It has 1+1 resilience on all system modules, including power distribution units, fans and disks, and physical link aggregation (802.3-2002) providing link resilience and load balancing. The power is distributed into six power zones with front panel indicators displaying the health of each power zone. Management is via dual, independent management networks.

NexTone (news - alerts)

The NexTone SBC is a flexible and intelligent networking device that can be deployed on the enterprise premise or in the carriers network. Once deployed, it acts as an integrated real-time services firewall and network address translation (NAT) device providing secure connectivity between the carrier and the enterprise. The signaling intelligence of the NexTone SBC ensures protocol interoperability between IP PBXs with support for advanced calling features. The NexTone SBC also provides support for emerging IP PBX features, such as desktop video. With NexTones SBC, carriers are able to deliver secure real-time services with a level of device connectivity not possible with competing products. The NexTone SBC utilizes FlexControl technologies, NexTones unique suite of advanced capabilities which include FlexPeer, FlexRoute and FlexPolicy, to address the complexities of connecting carriers with the VoIP infrastructure of their enterprise customers. FlexPeer is NexTones signaling software that resolves incompatibilities between VoIP devices by adapting session signaling while also providing control to route, process and manipulate session media. FlexRoute enables carriers to leverage routing facilities such as ENUM to govern the routing of real time traffic between IP networks while FlexPolicy ensures carriers can manage and control real-time traffic. This carrier-class device can seamlessly scale from 500 to 30,000 sessions and comes with a hot standby configuration for redundancy which provides stateful call migration. The NexTone SBC is equipped to optionally utilize third party media firewalls to provide advanced features such as media processing.

Quintum (news - alerts)

Quintum offers two SBC product one for enterprise clients and another for service providers. The two feature the same technology and functionality, with the difference being in capacity (the Call Relay SP for the service provider market must have a higher call handling capacity). Quintums Tenor Call Relay provides a single VoIP portal between IP networks allowing for end-to-end VoIP communications across multiple IP networks. All calls are switched through multiple IP networks with just one single compression and decompression of the voice. The result is less latency and higher voice quality as the call passes from network to network. The Tenor Call Relay allows VoIP endpoints such as VoIP gateways, IP phones and IP soft phones which are behind a NAT firewall, to communicate with VoIP endpoints on external IP networks. This allows both enterprises and service providers to expand their VoIP networks to home offices, branch offices, customers, partners, and across the public Internet. Tenor Call Relay also provides a single point for call management, administration and security at the edge of your VoIP network. With this unique, intelligent VoIP network switching, the Tenor Call Relay makes expanding VoIP calling both easy and risk free. With its PacketSaver technology, the Tenor Call Relay reduces bandwidth consumption of VoIP calls by multiplexing multiple calls into the same packet, reducing the overall bandwidth utilization by up to 57%, beyond voice compression and silence suppression.

Sonus Networks (news - alerts)

Media gateway functionality is critical in any next-generation architecture, providing voice over packet capabilities and serving as the key transitional element between legacy circuit-switched and packet networks. Media gateways are the primary hardware in a packet design, setting the foundation for voice quality, reliability, scalability and performance. The GSX9000 Open Services Switch is a revolutionary voice transport component so advanced that it defies definition as a typical media gateway. It provides advanced any-to-any voice transport capabilities and hosts the GSX-GC softswitch module, which provides the call control and signaling for the GSX9000. By supporting this functionality on the gateway, the need for additional computing platforms is reduced and performance is increased by an order of magnitude over alternative packet voice architectures. The award winning GSX9000 Open Services Switch operates in two key capacities: As a high capacity media gateway, the GSX9000 delivers toll-quality voice over high-density hardware that seamlessly scales in an efficient manner, maximizing cost effectiveness. The GSX9000 provides carrier-class reliability with a unique internal distributed processing design that optimizes system performance, providing advanced capabilities. As an integrated component in the OSA, the GSX9000 enables even greater advancements in packet voice solutions. Within this framework, the GSX9000 becomes an intelligent voice switch. This distributed approach that streamlines processing and data flows within the network to maximize performance and scalability, meeting the needs of even the largest global carriers.

Tandberg (news - alerts)

The TANDBERG network infrastructure products make it easier to connect with people outside of the company, enabling enterprises to seamlessly extend the benefits of video to suppliers, partners, and customers The TANDBERG Border Controller is a H.323 specific session border controller designed to simplify dialing and firewall traversal for all H.323 devices. This solution solves two of the industries biggest issues, traversing firewalls and global dial plans. This SBC utilizes an appliance-based architecture that allows for easy deployment and high reliability. It is designed to work with any H.323 device and any firewall and offers full multi-vendor support. Application features include: Embedded setup wizard; automatic registration of Expressway enabled H.323 devices; flexible zone configuration; support for inter- and intrazone bandwidth control; traversal of any number of firewalls; URI Dialing; device authentication using H.235; and a policy engine for processing calls. The SBC uses only solid state memory for high reliability, and supports up to 1000 registered devices and 100 concurrent traversal calls, as well as up to 100 neighboring zones and up to 1000 devices and 100 services.

Tekelec (news - alerts) (news - alerts)

The VocalData Session Border Controller serves two primary purposes: It provides normal firewall functions for the devices on the service providers private LAN, and it provides firewall traversal for IP phones and IAD (integrated access device for connecting analog devices to IP) devices located behind a business or residential customers existing firewall so their devices can function with the VocalData solution without any modification to the customers NAT (network address translation) firewall or PAT (port address translation) firewall. The V-SBC supports multiple control and signaling protocols between the IP endpoints and the VocalData application server. Supported protocols include SIP, MGCP, SCCP and MiNet. The V-SBC resides in the service provider network. No additional firewall components or special firewalls need be deployed on each customer network, nor do the customers data firewalls need any modification. Customers use private IP addresses for all their network-connected devices, including IP phones and IADs. Redundancy support is provided by deploying the V-SBC in pairs (one active and one standby). Since call state information is continually updated to the standby V-SBC, calls are not lost in the event of failure of the active V-SBC.

Versatel Networks (news - alerts)

With either of Versatels SBC solutions, as a service provider, you can deliver a complete spectrum of revenue-generating features including prepaid calling card, tandem, conferencing, voice mail, personal agent, call center, and IVR services, to both circuit-based and packet-based networks from a single EdgeIQ platform. You can save on network bandwidth by delivering full services on the network of origin without backhauling traffic for media processing. The IQ1500 is the ideal solution for businesses seeking high port density in a small footprint. The IQ4000 is the ideal solution for businesses seeking a fault tolerant carrier-grade solution with 99.999% reliability and no single point of failure. Either solution can be deployed in existing and new network infrastructures IP and PSTN. Versatels IQ-series session border controllers are the most advanced integrated voice services platforms in the industry, integrating softswitch connection control, media gateway, media server, and SS7 signaling gateway functionality into a single compact platform. IT

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