SBCs are 'Swiss Army knives' of enterprise communications, says Sonus Networks

SBCs enable network interoperability, security and compliance
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MIAMI-- Session border controllers (SBCs) are the "Swiss Army knives" of modern enterprise communications, enabling enterprises to get what they want from their technology deployments, David Tipping, vice president and general manager for the SBC product line at Sonus Networks (Nasdaq: SONS), told a panel discussion here at the ITExpo East conference.

Instead of spending a lot of time and money on code upgrades so different vendor systems can interoperate, deploying SBCs is cheaper, faster and more secure for the enterprise, Tipping said.

Rob Popovic, vice president of enterprise solution marketing at Acme Packet (Nasdaq: APKT), agreed. He said SBCs are the keys to integration and security of enterprise networks. Acme Packet and Sonus are battling it out for the lead in the carrier SBC market, while Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) beat out Acme Packet for the lead in the enterprise SBC market in the first half of 2012, according to data from Infonetics Research.

SBCs can improve the interoperability and media handling of the network as well as aid companies in compliance with regulatory requirements, said Popovic, adding, "SBCs can keep you out of jail."

"I'd like to use BYOD as an example. Think about an environment where you have a lot of these smart devices coming in. You want to integrate these devices with your existing communications fabric... and the employees want to get access to corporate assets. The SBC becomes your media service [and] your interoperability service," Popovic related.

The Acme Packet official observed that the definition of the "border" that the SBC is supposed to control has changed. It used to be the border between the enterprise and service provider, but now it can be the border between different vendor systems, between the enterprise and mobile devices or between mobile devices and line of business applications, he said.

Jeff Dworkin, director of marketing for Sangoma, compared the SBC to the "front door" of a house. "From an access standpoint, it is where the enterprise meets the world," he related.

Alan Percy, senior director of strategic marketing for North America at AudioCodes, said the SBC "truly is IP-based technology that is there to help the enterprises and service providers to transform the network to IP."

Popovic concluded: "I don't know if we have ever been this close to true integration across different vendor platforms… SIP allows them to go horizontally as well as vertically."

As more enterprises adopt SIP trunks and all-IP networks, SBC will play a vital function in ensuring that systems work together and the networks are secure.

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