Unified communications, SIP trunking, and session border controllers: All three have become integral elements to an enterprise’s communications. One company in particular that has found itself in the middle of this melting pot of communications technologies is Ingate Systems, a pioneer in enterprise session border controllers (E-SBCs).
Steve Johnson, president of Ingate Systems, sat down with TMC’s Erik Linask at last month’s ITEXPO West 2011 in Austin, Texas, to discuss his company’s current stance on E-SBCs and how they translate to future technologies, as well as the ongoing concern of price vs. value when it comes to successfully achieving the ultimate UC experience within an enterprise.
Like many other companies that make their way to an ITEXPO event, Ingate Systems came to Austin to show off a few of its innovations, as well as participate in several sessions, the majority of which focused on UC, SIP trunking and what’s been a hot topic as of late in the industry: E-SBCs.
Boasting a robust E-SBC portfolio consisting of its renowned SIParator solutions, Ingate Systems has honed in on the opportunities that session border controllers deliver to both the enterprise, as well as the service provider, when it comes to UC. When asked what Johnson’s stance is on SBCs, he replied, “Like every product, it is an evolving position as to what the E-SBC actually does, and what its value is to the enterprise and also potentially a service provider. Currently ESBCs are an essential element of bringing SIP and UC to an enterprise.”
Thanks to additional security functions offered by E-SBCs -- such as security, normalizing signaling between a PBX and the service provider, and routing -- the introduction of SIP, SIP trunking and UC has been much easier to adopt and get up and running quickly, as explained by Johnson.
“We’ve seen the evolution of this product,” Johnson said. “We think there’s a role for it by the service provider to create the opportunity for companies to use the promise of SIP in different ways than it is currently available.”
One of those ways, as explained by Johnson, may soon be realized in video. However, according to Johnson, this new cross-over of the two technologies may be well into the future.
“One of the things we are finding with SIP trunking, while still a hot topic and while we still have only a small percentage of the industry actually using it, is there’s a long road ahead of us. The promise of UC remains for things like video, and faxing over IP, and doing other things with SIP as the underlying signaling protocol.”
“SIP trunking requires the signal and media to go up to the service provider, which puts it onto the PSTN. But video has a different way: video wants to take a path that goes by the simplest, best way in a quality fashion to get to someone on the other side of the world. This means crossing between service providers and networks, which today can be a little dicey… We believe the SBC at the enterprise can serve the service provider by routing that traffic to what’s called an enhanced quality network, where it could be actually delivered on an IP layer between networks and not run into some of the roadblocks that may cause it to deteriorate a little bit over the distance it may have to travel,” he continued.
However, Johnson expressed that the game changes a bit with enterprises continuing to be reluctant to invest extra in their UC technologies.
“[Price point] is always a concern, especially to smaller companies. They understand what the SBC is doing to them. They recognize it’s not price but value that counts.”
Rated as one of the top E-SBCs available on the market and currently used by thousands of companies, Ingate Systems’ SIParator solutions connect to existing firewalls to seamlessly enable the transmission of SIP-based communications, while preserving a company’s previous investment in firewall security. Offered in six different models, the SIParators are built to fit any size of any organization and are priced affordably, so companies can reap the value without experiencing a huge incremental cost for adopting UC.
So, are E-SBCs the main driver behind UC? Johnson says, “Yes.”
“Yes, it’s an enabler. Without E-SBC, the adoption of SIP, UC and SIP trunking becomes a difficult process. Every SBC that I know of can take care of the issues that relate to interoperability and security, etc. The question for the enterprise adopting it is to find the one that’s most effective for the price they are willing to pay.”
A repeat visitor to ITEXPO, Johnson was more than pleased with his experience at the show.
“The sessions we ran have been well-attended with people who are seriously interested in the topic of UC and SIP trunking, and we look forward to both coming back here in a year and also going to Miami in February.”
Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.Edited by Juliana Kenny