Guide to session border controllers: Inside IP telephony's traffic cop

This learning guide to session border controllers details the role that session border controllers play in IP telephony infrastructure, how they foster interoperability and more.

Many unified communications (UC) professionals would rather implement a multivendor UC strategy that enables them to deploy best-of-breed applications than pursue a simpler but  more limited single-vendor approach. But while vendors have improved UC integration among their diverse products, true interoperability remains unachieved, and sometimes, incompatible platforms still need some help to communicate. In an IP telephony infrastructure,...

session border controllers (SBCs) can offer that assistance and more.

How do session border controllers -- often referred to as the "traffic cops" of the IP telephony world for their ability to keep IP packets moving while limiting security threats -- link UC platforms to one another and to service providers? Which factors should enterprises consider when integrating session border controllers into their existing IP telephony infrastructures?

In this guide to session border controllers, you’ll find a compilation of top resources to help you select an SBC vendor and leverage the versatility of session border controllers to reduce IP telephony expenses and maximize your return on investment (ROI).


In this learning guide to session border controllers, learn more about the role that SBCs play in an IP telephony infrastructure and how to choose the right SBC vendor for your enterprise's needs. You'll also read about how session border controllers can be used to achieve interoperability between divergent IP telephony platforms and how a new breed of virtualized session border controllers could pay dividends for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Check out the following articles and tips for an in-depth look at these topics and more:

  • Security on the line: Evaluating session border controller vendors: Session border controllers provide security and Quality of Service to IP telephony links. Learn how to choose session border controllers, and review our list of session border controller vendors. SBCs vary in terms of scale, functionality and deployment, so UC managers must determine what SBC solution fits their environment.
  • Translator and protector: How session border controllers ensure IP telephony safety: Session border controllers deliver both external telephony services and remote platform connectivity to the enterprise IP telephony platform. The role of an SBC is to provide a link to the outside world and ensure the quality of the connections that are made.
  • Not all-SIP yet? Session border controller can do protocol translation: The state of Delaware is using session border controllers for SIP trunking and protocol translation to achieve VoIP interoperability between its newer SIP-based Cisco and legacy H.323-based Avaya voice systems.
  • Virtualized SBCs  lower SIP trunking costs, but lack larger scalability: Avaya is trying to reduce the costs and management overhead of SIP trunking with virtualized Acme Packet session border controllers for its Aura platform. The virtual SBC is ideal for SMBs, but lacks the scalability needed for large implementations.
This was first published in October 2011

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