The Session Border Controller (SBC) has evolved over the past several years to becoming an essential network function providing connectivity, security, cost transparency, CAPEX conservation, deployment flexibility, and rapid time to market. However, not all virtual SBCs are created the same. Here are 5 questions to ask in choosing the right virtual session border controller for you.
Does it use virtualized resources efficiently?
- You can achieve financial benefit from your network compute infrastructure investment if it supports a dynamic compute resource allocation model, and reduce total cost of ownership.
- Traditional software-based SBCs typically pre-allocate vCPUs to handle specific processing loads which can quickly restrict a virtual SBC’s ability to scale under load. The result is underutilized compute resources sitting idle adding costs to the deployment.
- What’s needed is dynamic sharing of all resources across all traffic and processing profiles to improve the price/performance curve across all types of network infrastructure.
Does it protect your revenue and network?
- Your SBC should enable new revenue opportunities and rapid time to market by providing extensive protocol normalization and interworking for both interconnect and access networks. This would ensure that VoIP networks and applications of all types can communicate and interwork with each other.
- The SBC should block malicious traffic as well as conceal private network topology from potential attacks.
- To optimize service delivery, your SBC should manage bandwidth usage and prioritizing call sessions for both network interconnections and for service delivery to individual UEs.
Does it provide you analytics on network and service performance?
- Real-time analytics plays a key role in helping operators and enterprises gain actionable information on service performance and to help alleviate fraud. An analytics infrastructure that’s distributed and de-coupled from the platform itself is better suited to monitor a cluster of both virtualized and hardware appliance-based SBCs.
- The analytics platform should provide interactive visualizations of data including real-time dashboards and operational and business intelligence reports from the SBC clusters to enable operators to learn and better understand network and service behavior.
Does it scale to your needs while keeping high performance?
- Consider whether it scales across a wide range of traditional and next generation deployment models to the number of sessions required for your network. Also make sure that the SBC supports your virtualization technology, whether it be Xen, VMware, or KVM, especially if you’re implementing a Network Function Virtualization (NFV) strategy.
Does it have native software transcoding?
- Agile media interworking is achieved by highly efficient codec transcoding and transrating. Some virtualized SBCs perpetuate past architectures used in purpose-built implementations to maintain performance and high QoE. This attempt to maintain performance and high QoE and speed up porting to a virtualized environment has the reverse effect and can lead to potential inefficient use of vCPU resources.
Use these questions in choosing your virtual SBC. Make them your own and polish them until it covers all of the must-haves for your network.