A Session Border Controller (SBC) is the device or application that manages and monitors the call (session) quality and ensures optimised routing over Voice over IP (VOIP) implementations.

Whilst a single vendor approach to implementing a telephony solution is best, you will inevitably clash with other vendor hardware and subsequently deal with compatibility challenges. Your session border controller is the solution that keeps IP traffic flowing on a consistent basis while ensuring you get optimal call quality.

This blog looks at how this “telephony traffic cop” called the session border controller keeps the calls from dropping and keeping people in touch. There are a variety of choices out there in terms of session border controller products. Choosing the right one is important to ensure you get the best performance and security around your communications.

Here is what even the most basic session border controller should offer you:

VOIP Security: Call fraud is a very real concern for enterprises with VOIP implementations. Session border controllers with Call Access Control (CAC) will control access to make calls from specific IP addresses. It also manages which types of calls are permitted and gives priority to the type of calls being made. This is great for granular control of calls controls. Topology Hiding is a security feature that masks your network from potential outside intruders who may want to identify your servers for attacks.

Call Quality: Quality of Service (QoS) ranks up there with the security your session border controller provides. IP networks have their unique set of challenges that traditional telephony systems simple didn’t have to deal with. Issues such as jitter, latency and packet loss can seriously impede the quality of calls and cause your business some major issues in terms of productivity. Your session border controller should have the tools that allow you to identify the causes of aforementioned issues and eliminate their root causes.

Interoperability: The Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) has different implementations depending on your hardware vendor. SBC’s cater for this and act as the “middle man” between the differing implementations, ensuring that session initiations occur as seamlessly as possible.

Session border controllers will evolve alongside the way we use web-based communication tools. These voice traffic cops play an integral part in ensuring call quality and routing without any compromise to security. Interconnecting disparate networks with varying hardware and software implementations require a smart piece of technology that delivers quality services seamlessly, and this is exactly what a session border controller does.

Image credit: GUIM