Unified Communications

AudioCodes Helps Lync Scale

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC  |  April 02, 2014

A little more than a year ago AudioCodes launched its One Voice initiative after coming to the conclusion that the Microsoft (News - Alert) Lync ecosystem was just too complex and contained too many vendors for most IT managers to comfortably navigate. The idea was to bring a wide variety of solutions under one umbrella to create a one-stop shop for Lync and, essentially, to give customers one throat to choke.

This approach has made a lot of Lync customers and resellers breathe easier, says Nimrod Borovsky, global vice president of marketing at AudioCodes. Around 200 resellers worldwide, including big names like AT&T, Dell, ScanSource, Verizon (News - Alert), and Westcon, already have signed on to partner with AudioCodes to deliver One Voice solutions.

“The message we brought to the market really hit the nail on the head,” he says.

Now AudioCodes (News - Alert) is rolling out new solutions to help its partners and customers scale their Lync solutions.

In January, the company introduced a session border controller called the Mediant 9000, which is the company’s biggest SBC yet. The Mediant 9000, which is in limited release and will be generally available by early summer, supports up to 16,000 sessions. That’s as compared to the company’s next-largest SBC, the Mediant 4000, which supports up to 4,000 sessions.

Targeted at very large enterprise and/or contact center applications, the Mediant 9000 was designed to address SIP trunking consolidation in large enterprises, which as a result have a need for larger SBCs, and to address the migration to SIP trunking in the contact center, which tends to involve high port usage. While the new product is comparable to large enterprise SBCs in the market from other vendors such as Oracle (News - Alert)/Acme Packet and Sonus, AudioCodes says that because it comes at the SBC space from the enterprise and not the service provider side, its per port cost is far lower than similar solutions.

Mediant 9000 is part of the company’s One Voice for Lync product portfolio, which also includes gateways, IP phones, other SBCs, survivable branch appliances, and services and support.

The company followed that product unveiling with another new solution that helps Lync scale. That solution is called the AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center, a suite of applications that enable the management of large cloud-, premises-, or service provider-based unified communications networks. They will be generally available starting in the second quarter.

AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center provides voice quality monitoring and assurance, including on-net and off-net calling via SIP trunks, and addresses operations, administration, maintenance, and provisioning for the AudioCodes One Voice network elements listed above. As a result organizations can now from any location remotely configure and maintain all One Voice for Lync or One Voice for Hosted Services network elements.

Borovsky says one of AudioCodes’ key observations about the economy is that while low interest rates make it easy to raise money, the slow economy makes some business models difficult to sustain. As a result, most organizations may be comfortable with spending right now, but want to control their operational expenditures. AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center addresses that reality, he says.

Here he offers an example of a large North American retailer whose IT manager gets a call for help whenever someone accidentally leaves a phone unplugged in the corporate conference room. The problem is simply an unplugged cable, so doesn’t require any technical know-how, he notes, and with One Voice Operations Center the IT staff can monitor IP phones to see that from a remote location. Of course, this is just one example of how AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center can simplify Lync management. Another is by allowing IT staff to do targeted remote software updates.

AudioCodes One Voice Operations Center also can be used to monitor quality of service and support SLAs. The Operations Center gives users a uniform view of the network, with links color-coded based on the quality of experience/MoS on that link. That way if, for example, a gateway in Hong Kong is having a voice quality issue, the network administrator can see that and see what’s causing that problem so he or she can address it.

“Now we can provide IT managers with a powerful set of tools to manage our One Voice portfolio of products in large scale, global deployments,” Borovsky says.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi