The worldwide transition to 4G LTE is well under way. Many of the world’s largest network operators are migrating towards IP-based networks that will enable better quality for consumers and increased flexibility for operators. And while there is a lot of buzz surrounding the global movement toward next generation networks, there has been little discussion about the other components of the network that will enable the arrival of this new frontier.
A key player in this IP-based network system is the session border controller (SBC). SBC solutions sit at the edge of IP networks and act as the guardians of access within and between networks. The SBC controls and directs signaling and media as it traverses network borders and enables the delivery of secure communications across IP networks.
So, what exactly does all this mean? In today’s networks, SBCs provide network operators with three key things:
1. Security: SBCs sit at the edge of networks and manage all interactions with other networks and within the network as well. They help protect the network infrastructure against fraud, hackers and a number of other security threats.
2. Interoperability: SBCs enable differing networks to interact with each other, serving as a bridge while also mediating between various protocols.
3. Quality and Assurance: SBCs control the quality of network transport and monitor actual session quality to determine compliance with required performance specifications. They play a critical role in assuring session capacity and quality.
While the SBCs of today continue to provide these three crucial capabilities, the migration towards IMS and 4G LTE networks has required SBCs to evolve in capability and complexity the same as networks. Mobile services today have moved far beyond just voice services. Typical mobile traffic now includes video, messaging of various forms (IM, chat, message boards), presence updates, file sharing and much more. SBCs must now be able to provide the same security and interoperability amidst a much more crowded and complex network. For SBCs operating in this environment, it is crucial to accommodate a diversity of service types at scale. As service combinations vary across operators and providers, the industry is in need of a truly flexible and robust SBC solution to keep pace.
What makes Mitel’s SBC solution different from others is that it arose from a purely mobile mindset. Other vendor offerings are primarily proprietary hardware-based products that address simple voice and basic messaging. But from the beginning, we have been delivering software-only solutions that satisfy the complex requirements of today’s mobile operators. We uniquely addresses these needs with an SBC built with underlying architecture that is highly modular, tunable and scalable.
Next generation IP-based networks will require next generation components. Mitel’s SBC will continue to meet the evolving challenges of the mobile network transformation in order to help reshape the wireless industry.