The Role of SBCs in Multi-Vendor Communications Environments: Part 1

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SBCs in Multi-Vendor Communications Environments

While there are accepted standards in the session initiation protocol space, there are, in fact, many different variations within the standards, which creates plenty of problems for companies looking to deploy this multi-vendor communications technology, especially when dealing with diverse solutions from different vendors. In fact, in these situations, there are several problems that can emerge.

From the simple matter of learning and using a variety of user interfaces, to understanding different pricing structures, to scheduling multiple service visits, setting up multiple vendors to work together seamlessly could require more than extra hours from your team. It might require expensive consultants or fixes to a botched implementation.

First, it is important to understand how these problems occur. The SIP protocols were set by a global community of engineers known as the Internet Engineering Task Force.  SIP is like a language with many dialects. A similar paradigm is at work here, with different vendors using different proprietary “flavors” of SIP in their technology.

This results in a number of SIP variations that are technically in compliance with published SIP standards but not necessarily compliant with one another.

Diagnostic Challenges & Customer Service

If your internet provider diagnoses that you have a router problem, it’s on you to fix your router or find someone who can—assuming your router actually is the problem. Then, once you’ve fixed (or learned you don’t have to fix) your router, how about getting your internet provider back on the phone or out for a service visit? You’re back to square one, probably hours into the problem, having made no progress.

Couple this with issues related to legacy systems that companies are using and the situation gets even more complicated. There are plenty of potential pain points for companies, but many of those issues can be addressed by session border controllers. In part two of this series, I talk to industry analyst Peter Bernstein about the business needs for transitioning to all-IP communications, the problems that arise from these deployments, and how session border controllers can alleviate those problems.