One of the key factors that is often discussed that is required for WebRTC is integration into existing enterprise and service provider networks. This is often a requirement to enable enterprises to use WebRTC as either a contact center integration or for BYOD portals or external representation portals. For service providers, integrating with their SIP and IMS infrastructure is critical to leveraging WebRTC. In fact, while there are a number of gateway options, using existing platforms in place is particularly attractive.
Recently, Sonus announced a new strategy, the Sonus WebRTC Services Solution, to enable WebRTC sessions to be integrated into existing SIP and IMS-based environments and the PSTN. The solution adds a new product to the Sonus portfolio, the Sonus WebRTC Gateway (News - Alert). Sonus’ virtualized WRTC Gateway operates as a WebRTC signaling control point to enable WebRTC traffic to be integrated into the Sonus Session Border Controller. The gateway interoperates with the browser software and the WebRTC web server to terminate WebRTC sessions. It also provides signaling gateway functions to SIP/IMS and enables advanced SIP interworking capabilities. The SIP interworking services of the WRTC Gateway include maintaining WebRTC user registration and routing, performing user authentication, as well as policy and session management for web to web and web to SIP sessions. The gateway operates with an SBC for media processing and the integration with SIP.
In the Sonus case, the SBCs provide the actual codec translations and other functions. Compared with some other solutions that integrate both together, this abstraction enables scale. Oracle has announced a similar solution for the Acme Packet (News - Alert) line, confirming that this is a key market space.
For vendors with gateways, a key part of the offering is how the WebRTC to SIP gateway is interfaced to the web apps. For this, an API and SDK are generally provided. In the Sonus case, the SDK includes plug-ins for those browsers that do not currently support WebRTC (including Apple (News - Alert) Safari and Microsoft Internet Explorer) and APIs to support WebRTC communications across mobile applications (including both iOS and Android).
Another critical factor is where the WebRTC control code runs. In some implementations like Voxbone’s (News - Alert), the entire WebRTC code base runs in its servers, with only a click in web object on a page in the customer’s site. Others have taken the approach of having all of the code running in the customer’s server, with the API to the gateway. Sonus enables both, though it will be interesting to see what customers choose to use.
It is clear from the number of announcements of new WebRTC capabilities in early 2015 that the major telecom players see WebRTC as coming of age. Recent announcements have shown that enterprises and service providers are adopting WebRTC in large numbers. A review of new communications-enabled mobile applications rolled out in 2014 shows an overwhelming use of the WebRTC stack as the basis. From Amazon Mayday to Facebook’s (News - Alert) messaging apps, WebRTC is being deployed to millions of users. In addition, many service providers are actively looking at how to both enable the use of WebRTC to deliver value-added communication services on mobile devices or to enable their users to be contacted directly through the web using WebRTC.
I see the announcements from Sonus and other gateway vendors in two ways. First, the introduction of WebRTC capabilities by these vendors is yet another indicator that WebRTC is starting to accelerate. Second, it is clear that Sonus and others believe that a large set of customers will take advantage of WebRTC to SIP interworking capabilities. Based on the number of use cases and discussions I’ve had I see there is significant interest in the capability, I foresee an uptick in the number of WebRTC applications integrating to SIP.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino