SBC ( Session Borde Controllers ) are basically gateways that provide interconnectivity between the hosted IP-PBX of the enterprise to the outside world endpoints such as telco service provider, PSTN/ TDM , SIP trunking providers or even third party OTT provider apps like skype for business etc.
If you have a hosted IPPBX or PBX in your data-centre or on premise and you need controlled but heavy outflowing traffic, it is a good idea to integrate a resilient and efficient SBC to provide seamless interconnectivity.
Purpose of SBC
SBC’s can be physical hardware boxes or software based applications, as the name suggests their purpose is to control the session at border between the enterprise and external service provider.
SIP to PSTN – SIP is an IP protocol whereas PSTN is a TDM one , achieving interoperability is also the KRA of an SBC
SIP trunking – SBC provide a secure sip connectivity to connect calls to sip trunks which provide bulk calls functionality at a flat pricing.
support for various fixed or mobile endpoints – SBC ensure they are RFC compliant and can extend SIP to any kind of telecom endpoint like PSTN , GSM, fax , Skype , sipphone , IP phones etc.
NAT / Network address translator – To meet the packet routing challenges across a firewall or even during private -public mapping. A combo of DHCP servers and NAT provider comes very handy to reroute or perform hole punching such that signalling and media packets are not dropped and meet the required endpoint. More about NAT here – NAT traversal using STUN and TURN.
Load balancing – Reverse proxies and Load balancers is a much adopted industry practise to mask the inner IPs of the VoIP platform and also route traffic appropriately between control and media server .
Security , QoS and Regulatory compliance – since SBCs are required to typically support a large array of clients they adhere to regulatory and industry accepted standards ,which also involves security features like AAA, TLS/SSL and other means for quality of assurance like logging and fault detection, preventing DDoS etc . In many cases SBC can also encrypt / decrypt RTP streams for probing , tapping or lawful inspection .
Inaddition to above it is good to have if an SBC provides extra features like forking , emergency number dialing ( 911 ) or active directory integration . Real Time Analysis and monitoring of call and metrics are also expected from a SBC since they reside on edge of the network and are more vulnerable to threats . For example Dialogic Mediant SBC’s and gateways , Audio Codes SBCs
With the shift from on premise PBXs to cloud based VM or microservice architecture , SBC vendors adopt a lager umbrella of services also including automation scripts for checks , reporting tools / consoles , developer friendly APIs to manage sessions via SBC and even WebRTC gateways to connect browser endpoints .
Any VOIP dependant system which deals with bulksome voice / video traffic from external endpoints is a usages scenarios. Listing few
- Contact Call centres
- Remote work / offsite monitoring
- CRM solution for sales/marketing
- Connecting webrtc click to dial from webpage to enterprise representatives
- connecting enterprise UCC clients to PSTN endpoints
There are many more.