Acme Packet runs away with SBC service provider survey

Choice of multiple vendors could open market to other SBC vendors

Acme Packet (Nasdaq: APKT) is by far the top choice of service providers when it comes to session border control (SBC) vendors, according to the latest research by Infonetics.

Image source: Infonetics Research

SBCs are devices designed to control the calls or other media coming in and out of a service provider's or enterprise's VoIP network as well as ensure that VoIP service works smoothly.

A full 96 percent of the 51 service providers surveyed listed Acme Packet as the top SBC vendor, according to Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, unified communications and IP multimedia subsystems at Infonetics.

"Acme Packet has always been a strong market leader in this space and naturally comes out highly rated in the survey," Myers told FierceEnterpriseCommunications. "We are seeing other vendors starting to do well and pick up some momentum."

Many service providers are looking at multiple vendors for their SBC purchases, according to the survey. Around 41 percent of respondents use multiple SBC vendors currently, and Myers predicts this will increase to 67 percent by 2014.

This trend should provide opportunities for emerging SBC vendors such as Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS) and Metaswitch as well larger vendors such as Huawei, Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERIC), Alcatel Lucent (NYSE: ALU) and GENBAND, she noted. The larger vendors tend to sell SBCs as part of a larger package, such as an end-to-end solution.

The top SBC applications among service providers are SIP trunking for enterprise, interconnection to other service providers and hosted business VoIP.

Security continues to be a top reason for deploying SBCs: 88 percent of survey respondents rate security as the most important SBC function. In addition, a majority of service providers favor a network-wide licensing model over the current node-based licensing model for SBCs.

For enterprises, the use of SIP trunking has only started to take off over the last few years, Myers noted. "Enterprises are starting to use SBCs on their networks for a couple of different types of applications, one being SIP trunking. A business might put an SBC in for the security of traffic coming in on a SIP trunk. Another is translation… The SBC can be used to make sure the SIP trunk can talk to the IP PBX," she said.

In addition, a large enterprise could use SBCs to help facilitate unified communications or video conferencing deployments within the enterprise. The SBCs can help route the traffic and keep it secure, Myers explained.

In the enterprise, Acme Packet does not dominate the market in the same way it dominates the service provider market. In fact, Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) recently surpassed Acme Packet in the enterprise SBC market, according to the latest figures from Infonetics.

The increasing demand by service providers for multiple SBC vendors should make the market more competitive, driving down prices and increasing choice. This can only benefit enterprises looking to use SBCs as part of their SIP trunking deployment.

For more:
- see the Infonetics survey results

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Infonetics: Cisco steals lead from Acme Packet in SBC market
Acme Packet bolsters its APAC, North America, and enterprise sales teams