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Making a play for the enterprise UC market: Sonus SBC

Sonus releases a new session border controller, Sonus SBC 5100, aimed at helping the enterprise leverage SIP-based cloud UC.

Sonus Networks Inc., an IP networking company with a focus on carrier-grade session border controllers, is breaking into the enterprise UC market with the Sonus SBC 5100, a session border controller that helps medium to large-sized enterprises and service providers leverage SIP-based cloud UC.

Sonus has historically offered its session border controller products to service providers, but enterprises are realizing the value in simplifying their infrastructure and are beginning to take advantage of SIP trunking for UC interoperability.

Most enterprises employ a multi-vendor UC environment, but unifying disparate video conferencing, presence and telephony systems is a struggle, particularly for communications over the wide area network. Session border controllers can create a common language across all SIP-based forms of communication -- and unify UC -- while acting as a firewall for enterprise communications. 

Sonus SBC line: Now selling to the enterprise

Sonus' previous session border controller, the Sonus SBC 5200, was a carrier-grade product capable of supporting 64,000 sessions on a single server. But scalability and resiliency are not just service provider requirements anymore. Medium to large-sized enterprises are demanding the security that session border controllers offer with lower, but still stringent, requirements for session scalability from 250 to 10,000 sessions, said Akshay Sharma, research director for Gartner.    

"As enterprises migrate to SIP over carrier Ethernet, they are going to need solutions for resiliency and security for Quality of service [QoS]," he said.

Enterprises now have the choice to deploy the Sonus SBC on-premise or in the cloud, and will allow enterprises to deploy more video and UC features, Sharma noted.

"The transition from the carrier space into the enterprise is not easy," said Wes Durow, vice president of global marketing at Sonus. He said enterprises have added UC features -- like video -- to their network without necessarily anticipating it.

"Enterprises are looking for help working across disparate UC environments," he said. "By [Sonus] helping [the enterprise] leverage SIP, we are helping them make a platform to unify their communications."

The Sonus SBC 5100 scales up to 10,000 UC sessions on one box and allows the enterprise to centrally manage its UC regardless of what legacy systems that may be in place, Durow noted.

West Interactive Corporation -- a hosted interactive voice response (IVR) company and subsidiary of West Corp. -- is a beta tester for the Sonus SBC 5100. West had previously used a home-grown session border controller, but was looking to expand its solution into its call center. "[The users] are able to deliver calls more quickly and efficiently," said Jamie Fichter, vice president of systems engineering for West.

The ease of operability and better routing decisions that Sonus SBC 5100 offers appealed to Fichter's engineers. "Sonus is good at scaling up, and it is great for enterprises like us that quickly need to turn up their range," Fichter said.

More on session border controllers:

IP telephony's traffic cop: Session border controllers

UC translation with Session border controllers

Session border controllers secure IP telephony links

Sonus helps enterprises support SIP, hosted UC

As the hosted UC model gains traction in the enterprise, the session border controller market is becoming more important in supporting those services and SIP trunking for the enterprise -- whether on-premise or on behalf of a service provider, said Greg Collins, founder and principal analyst at Exact Ventures market research firm. 

"The session border controller market for UC has been historically geared toward the service provider, but enterprises with outward-facing communications may want that control," he said. With the addition of Sonus SBC 5100, Sonus is helping enterprises scale and manage their SIP-based communications.

And carrier-grade reliability for UC is what enterprises are demanding as more devices supporting UC are added to the enterprise network, Sharma said. "Enterprises just need their calls to stay up -- especially for mission-critical communications."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer.


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