October 31, 2014

More Benefits to SIP Trunking and the Role of the Session Border Controller

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We’ve written previously about what the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is all about and a few of the business benefits it provides. In this post, we’ll add a few more benefits and discuss one crucial element you need in a SIP environment: a session border controller (SBC).

What a Session Border Controller Does and Why You Need It

SBCs are devices commonly deployed in voice over IP (VOIP) networks to control the signaling as well as call setup and tear down. In the SIP world, they are crucial in not only helping with those tasks but also to provide security and interoperability.

With respect to security, essentially SBCs act as a security appliance for VOIP and other multimedia sessions. Typically placed in the DMZ between the Internet and the enterprise network, the SBC protects against threats such as denial of service attacks, malformed packets and intrusion detection and prevention.

An SBC also fosters connectivity with such services as NAT traversal, IPv4 to IPv6 interworking, VPN support and protocol translations between SIP and other call control protocols, notably H.323.

How SIP Trunking Saves Money

SBCs help customers protect the SIP-based trunks they get from carriers that save lots of money as compared to traditional PRI and T1 lines. SIP trunks enable customers to save money in various ways, including:

  • Consolidating infrastructure and networks: Many businesses have reduced their telecommunications costs by as much as 30% to 70% by migrating to SIP and consolidating infrastructure to make more efficient use of trunks. Enterprises can consolidate PBXs and unified communications servers into centralized data centers. By aggregating trunks into a few data centers, many businesses have reduced their total number of voice trunks by 30% to 50% without impacting capacity.
  • More attractive pricing: Conventional trunk service providers charge additional fees for supplemental features, but most SIP trunk providers include advanced features along with some free DID numbers and long distance minutes as part of the fixed monthly service fee.
  • More cost-effective scalability: Companies must buy PRIs in increments of 23 (or, in Europe, 30) channels. With SIP trunking businesses can buy only the capacity they need. What’s more, they often don’t have to plan for sporadic peaks because many SIP trunk service providers support a “bursting” option to temporarily increase capacity to accommodate intermittent traffic spikes.
  • Toll-free on-net calling: Businesses can eliminate PSTN fees and improve communications with small offices, teleworkers and international sites by carrying internal calls over the IP network.
  • Improved disaster recovery: Enterprises can implement cost-effective disaster recovery plans by consolidating PBXs and UC servers into redundant data centers, with SIP making it easy to switch calls to the backup in the event of a disaster. Additionally, SIP makes it easy to use remote offices and home-based workers for affordable business continuity in the event of primary office closings.

To learn more about the benefits of migrating to SIP, read the white paper “Moving to an SIP-Enabled Architecture”.

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