Companies initially thought that switching to VoIP would be easy, and soon they realized that they needed a session border controller (SBC) to secure their session initiation protocol (SIP) trunk. It led to the initiation of the usage of SBC. If someone is not an expert in the background of voice networking, it isn’t easy to understand SBC. SBCs are essential to prevent voice networks from unwanted malicious activities.
Table of Contents
What is Session Border Controller?
An SBC (Session Border Controller) is a dedicated hardware device or software application that manages initiation, conduction, and termination of phone calls on a VoIP (Voice over internet protocol) network. In the VoIP network, phone calls are referred to as sessions.
Functions of VoIP SBC Software
SBC manipulates IP communication signaling and media services, delivering a variety of functions including:
Security: SBC protects against Denial of Services (DOS) and distributed DOS attacks. It safeguards against toll fraud and service theft, and delivers media and signal encryption to give surety about confidentiality and protect against impersonation.
Multi Vendor interoperability: It normalizes SIP signaling stream header and messages to mitigate multi vendor incompatibilities.
Protocol networking: It enables inter-working between different protocols or diverse codecs.
Quality of Service: SBCs strengthen call admission control policies, type of services marking, or rate-limiting for service quality assurance.
Session routing: SBC routes sessions across network interfaces to ensure least cost routing (LCR).
Key features of SBC Solution:
- SBC software has topology and Carrier hiding Protocol validation.
- It has flexible SIP header manipulation signaling protocol inter-working such as SIP, SIP-T, and H.323.
- SBC carries tech prefix insertion and removal.
- Configurable calling party address manipulation.
- It has codec transcoding DTMF inter-working such as RFC2833, Inband, and SIP INFO.
How SBC Software Revolutionizes Customer Experience?
SBC works in the background, and VoIP users may be unaware of it and its functions. SBC offers seamless voice quality experience to the call centers.
Voice issues that troubles call quality and overall customer experience: Nowadays, VoIP call quality has enhanced because of faster internet, a better grade of soft switches, and the session border controller. Still, VoIP contains some issues such as propagation delays, dropped packets, and gradual internet speed. SBC helps to normalize these things, and none of these create hindrances to call quality.
SIP and various protocols: If the SIP and other protocols were not there, enterprises would have faced a plethora of issues because of protocol and codec mismatches in VoIP communication. SBC takes care of all the different portions of SIP, H.323, WebRTC, and video codec. Now calls can connect seamlessly because of codecs and protocols at the beginning and destination points.
SBC takes care of security: VoIP network vulnerability can lay company to attacks such as the denial of services, malware injection, and others. The network can go down, causing a communication blockade. SBC provides complete security to the VoIP network to ensure a better-calling experience.
SBC controls traffic: If VoIP SBC software were not in the VoIP network, the companies would have faced traffic and prioritization issues in their voice data packets. It directly affects the audio quality. The SBC takes care of the signaling traffic and media traffic by acting as back to back user agents.
The back to back agent function is essential in VoIP communication. It works as a server on the side dealing with agents and clients. When it meets the user agent server, it acts as an agent. It also maintains the information about calls. Once the call is over, that information is deleted. It helps in maintaining smooth traffic flow on both sides of the conversation.
The SBC solution is the multitasker. It works as a traffic controller and prevents VoIP calls from blocking.
A complex world made easy by SBC: The area of technology has become complex. Today, there are so many things such as PSTN, VoIP with its set of protocols, mobile 3G and 4G technologies, and Volte. Videos are also a part of the communication package. The SBC manages and acts with different video and audio codecs like GSM, AMR, G.711, G.729, WB-AMR, and H.264.
Video complicates the issues because it generates a high amount of data. A standard VGA format makes 1MB data per second. It is 40 times greater than an HD video call. SBC software handles concurrently occurring hundreds of calls that can be a mix of audio and video.
Excellent Session control: Session Border Controllers are responsible for terminating SIP sessions, along with they also opt for the optimal route to deliver the call to its final destination in the least possible time. It ensures the smooth and effective flow of traffic in the enterprise network. This effectiveness could result in considerable savings for enterprises.
SIP interoperability: VoIP SBC software mediates SIP communication between various devices. Whereas SIP is an industry-oriented protocol, and standards of the industry are designed to ensure consistency across implementations. But the reality is the vendors do not consistently implement SIP. SIP guidelines allow individual vendors to select how to apply SIP through suggestions in place of hard rules effectively. As a result, vendors can give surety that signaling instructions are correctly communicated.
Media services: Several communication networks use various codecs to convert voice signals for digital transmission. Different codes are the reason why voices on an individual’s cell phone and his/her home phone sound different. Different codes may consume a lot of bandwidth to give better sound quality or use less bandwidth to deliver faster transmission.
Media transcoding is defined as the ability of SBC to translate between these different codecs. Transcoding can improve voice or video quality by translating communication into a codec. It can also reduce the bandwidth of the network that a call consumes by temporarily rendering a high-bandwidth codec into a lower bandwidth codec.
Scalability: SIP communication traffic tends to rise because many enterprises are adopting the Bring Your Device (BYOD) strategy. This strategy introduces more SIP-based smartphones and tablets into the ecosystem. The SBC solution that enterprises buy today needs to be able to handle the growing traffic needs of tomorrow and should be cost-effective.
In many cases, it is not easy to buy SBCs directly. SBCs are mostly resold by SIP providers and cloud phone system providers or hardware resellers. If the enterprise already has a VoIP system in place, it should start by comparing the major brands on the market.
The technical specifications of the cell phone system and the SIP service providers can guide the enterprise’s choice of an SBC. Implementing SBC is more of a business decision than an IT decision. SBC is an essential component of the VoIP network that enables a higher voice and video call faulty. It also provides great flexibility in developing multimedia applications. Businesses should enhance the usage of SBC software to revolutionize the customer experience.
Akash Soni holds the position of Digital Marketing Executive at Ecosmob, a Customized VoIP and Web-IT Solution provider company. A writer at day and a reader at night, he is having keen digital marketing skills along with an experience in writing SEO-friendly, creative & informative contents for distinct industries.