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Session Border Controllers Featured Article

March 13, 2012
Network Bridges: Evolving from SBCs to Session Management

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Behind the scenes of modern computer and communications networks, taken for granted by end users, is an interrelated backbone of hardware devices and software protocols that function as bridges between network functions and also between networks.

Session border controllers (SBCs) and trunking systems are integral to this bridging.

An SBC exerts control over signaling and media streams involved in establishing, conducting and terminating phone calls and other interactive media communications sessions. SBCs handle many different aspects of bridging between networks, including security, quality of service, regulatory compliance, and statistics and billing information.

A trunking system enables network resources to be shared with many users in a one-to-many rather than one-to-one configuration.

Increasingly, SBCs and trunks rely on Session Initiation Protocol (News - Alert) (SIP), the IP network protocol typically used for VoIP applications.

During a conversation at ITEXPO East 2012, Sonus Networks’ Senior Manager of Marketing, Khris Kendrick (News - Alert), noted that SIP itself has changed considerably in the past decade. The protocol had become more dynamic, keeping pace with other technological changes, such as the growth of wireless. 

“The wireless industry is providing more bandwidth, and more voice will go over that in the future,” Kendrick predicted.

Sonus, too, has evolved—expanding from its roots as a pioneer in wholesale VoIP trunking to also being a wholesale provider of SBCs and session management services. This expansion is driven in large part by the growth of wireless and related trends: bring-your-own-devices (BYOD) and the proliferation of mobile devices.

“All those devices need to be managed somehow, within an infrastructure—whether that’s a cable network or a wireless network,” Kendrick pointed out. 

For Sonus, managing all those devices means taking a new, more sophisticated approach by combining the capabilities of powerful, efficient SBCs with policy servers and trunking servers.

“Session management ties together the SBC and the policy server and the trunking server,” Kendrick explained.

For more discussion about session management and the next generation of SBCs, watch the full video conversation with Kendrick. 

Edited by Jennifer Russell

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