Communications Reimagined.

SD-WAN Complements Session Boarder Controllers and Unified Communications

Susana Schwartz
Communications Content Specialist

As enterprises replace conventional private branch exchange (PBX) systems with VoIP, Unified Communications (UC) solutions and cloud services, network solution vendors like Talari have an opportunity to capture advantages that are more than a feature check off.

The networks that the Talari SD-WAN monitors and manages become even more business-critical, as communication transitions from TDM to IP, and on-premises to the hybrid-cloud. As business becomes more virtual, with more users communicating and interacting from anywhere and anytime, enterprise IP networks need to be safeguarded by securing UC, and assuring the highest levels of service quality.

For enterprise communications, the lines between work, home and in-bound and around are becoming completely blurred. User devices have created an environment where location is no longer bound by walls or distance. IT infrastructure cannot become a barrier or obstruction, and the technology suppliers that successfully unlock those barriers will be the dominant market players. For SD-WAN vendors, supporting SIP (the predominant signaling protocol for IP communications) that enables seamless communications, and supports business policies and rule enforcement, will more than likely become a must-have capability.

Session Boarder Controllers (SBCs) are the source and destination appliances for all signaling messages and media streams entering and leaving a service provider’s network. Talari’s intelligent-edge appliances work as a gateway for bi-directional data and control, enabling enterprises and service providers to streamline operations, and more easily manage diverse communications for enterprise WANs. When combined with Talari’s centrally managed controller, service providers can optimize their UC solutions by blending SD-WAN with service-chained SBC functions, to include features such as:

  • SIP interoperability
  • Automated detection
  • Service-quality monitoring
  • Proactive troubleshooting
  • Secure communications

One of the biggest benefits of an SBC is managing SIP interoperability within multi-vendor environments. An SD-WAN integrated with an SBC that controls SIP traffic could offer advantages for service providers to support customers with AI-chatbots, messaging apps, instant messaging, voice, mobility, audio, web, video conferencing, fixed-mobile convergence, desktop sharing, data sharing, call control and speech recognition (e.g., unified communications).

SBCs assist policy administrators in managing the flow of session data across borders, and can provide measurement, access control and data conversion for the calls they control. SBCs allow network operators to manage calls made on their networks, fix or change protocols and protocol syntax to achieve interoperability, and overcome some of the problems that firewalls and NATs present for VoIP calls. SBCs are inserted into the signaling and/or media paths of VoIP calls, predominantly using SIP, H.323 and MGCP call-signaling protocols.

An SBC manages signaling between two VoIP systems, establishing the parameters for a successful call. They are typically deployed in VoIP and multi-media networks to provide control over the signaling, as well as the media streams involved in setting up, conducting and tearing down telephone calls or other interactive media communications.

An enterprise SBC (E-SBC) can be located and managed from within the enterprise, and managed by internal IT staff for VoIP, Unified Communications, media video conferencing, and can manage multiple service providers and cloud platforms. Other E-SBC capabilities:

  • Redirect media traffic to different elements within the network, for recording, generating music-on-hold, and other purposes.
  • Modify the stream of call control (signaling) data; for example, limiting the kinds of calls that can be made, changing the codec choices, and so forth.
  • Hide network topology to protect the service provider or enterprise packet network, by terminating a received call, and initiating a second call leg to the destination party. When used within the SIP protocol, this is called a back-to-back user agent (B2BUA).

Voice and video apps and the Internet

The quality of voice and video applications running over the public Internet can vary significantly, depending on available bandwidth, the number of simultaneous users, and how the various applications and their functions impact network performance by adding latency and packet loss. Although Internet and the many broadband networks, such as xDSL, Cable, 3G/4G, Wireless, Satellite and others, are cost-effective compared to dedicated circuits such as MPLS, they transmit only on a best-effort basis in which all traffic have equal priority, and varying degrees of quality for voice and video applications.

Voice and video traffic is reliable and secure over closed networks such as PSTN. But voice and video traffic over the Internet is vulnerable to disruptive and fraudulent behavior like identity theft, viruses, spam, unauthorized use, and others. When voice and video traffic run across Internet and broadband-based edge networks without Talari SD-WAN, they potentially face network congestion, jitter, packet loss and service outages.

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