8 Reasons You Need a Session Border Controller

    Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are crucial elements of ShoreTel SIP trunking deployments. But what is an SBC anyway, and how is it different from an enterprise SBC? Why is an SBC important?

    What is an SBC?

    An SBC is used to provide a secure entry point for unified communications, and to make a secure connection between the enterprise and the SIP trunking provider(s). Often this type of Session Border Controller is referred to as an E-SBC.

    Where does an E-SBC go in the network?

    E-SBCs are deployed at the edge of the network. This demarcation point is where the Internet telephony service provider network meets the customer premise. An E-SBC installed on this edge becomes an important gatekeeper to enable and control the SIP traffic, protecting the network while permitting two-way communications.

    What does an E-SBC do?

    The top eight benefits of using an E-SBC in your ShoreTel deployment:

    1. Resolve NAT traversal to enable the adoption of SIP by securely permitting SIP signaling and related media to traverse the firewall. Without this function, most companies will have one-way audio only.
    2. Resolve interoperability between the IP-PBX at the customer site and the service provider’s network by normalizing the SIP signaling. While SIP is a standard, each implementation can be slightly different, and the service providers may each require a different level of authentication from the business. With a SIP-capable E-SBC in place, these requirements can be met. 
    3. Routing – The E-SBC enables support for multiple IP-PBXs in the network, routing particular calls to a specific PBX or load balancing between multiple.
    4. Provide security E-SBCs are effective against buffer overflow attacks, DoS (denial-of-service) attacks, sophisticated intrusions and a small percentage of worms that fit within a single packet. Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) solutions can detect DoS attacks based on SIP, and block malicious SIP signaling packets designed to attack certain SIP phones, servers or other devices on the enterprise LAN.  
    5. Provide authenticationMany service providers require authentication of the user with their network.
    6. Enable disaster recoveryIf one carrier is unavailable, the E-SBC can route calls to a secondary provider.
    7. Provide encryptionEncryption features are inherent in the SIP protocol and when used between two sites minimize opportunities for call interception.  This offers maximum privacy even over the public Internet.
    8. Diagnostics – The E-SBC sits at the ideal location to see all traffic and can be used to provide information when issues arise. This can include logs and traces as well as MOS scores to monitor call quality.

    Learn more during a webinar with Ingate and ShoreTel, where we’ll be addressing your questions about E-SBCs. The webinar, “8 Reasons You Need a Session Border Controller,” will take place at 2 pm ET on Wednesday, March 8. Pre-register for the webinar, and/or email your questions in advance to steve@ingate.com.

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    Steven Johnson, president of Ingate Systems, Inc., joined Ingate in 2001 and has led the team that introduced the Ingate SIParator® to the North American market. In that time, the SIParator has come to be recognized as one the premier Session Border Controllers (SBCs) and is now sold through OEMs, service providers and resellers to small, medium and large enterprises.



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