The Session Border Controllers of the Future
Last week, Acme Packet announced a new session border controller platform, the Net-Net 6300. We think that the 6300 sets a new standard in the industry, and delivers a generational leap in performance, capacity, and flexibility.
We created the Net-Net 6300 because we see the rapidly emerging need for a new kind of SBC platform.
Service providers are starting to build out new networks to support the next wave of interactive communications and advanced services – such as voice over LTE (VoLTE), RCS/RCS-e, HD video calling, HD voice and new Internet-based, or “over-the-top,” (OTT) services that leverage web-based real-time communications (WebRTC) or other technologies.
Each of these services will tax service provider networks in different ways, and will require more robust, more powerful networking elements to respond to these diverse and dynamic requirements. We view the Net-Net 6300 as one of those key foundational elements that service providers will look to as they architect their networks to withstand the performance, capacity, resiliency, and security demands of this “next network.”
Let’s take a closer look at what these new types of service will require:
VoLTE will generate massive amounts of signaling and media traffic at the IMS access edge, at mobile interconnect borders and at the interconnect borders between mobile and fixed line networks. VoLTE also mandates the use of IMS authentication, as well as high-capacity transcoding and encryption at the network border. Lastly, VoLTE services will likely utilize the existing LTE transport, so these networks must be built to accommodate more subscriber demand.
Video Calling and Conferencing
As consumers increasingly leverage video calling and conferencing services through mobile apps, unified communications, or even WebRTC-enabled browsers, bandwidth consumption will increase because of longer hold times and codec requirements. Service providers will also need to deal with increased signaling volume and complexity for video-enabled communications. Finally, video calling and conferencing may introduce new transcoding requirements as new codec variants will emerge and drive subscriber demand for more seamless interoperability between different services and applications.
HD voice services are already available on 45 GSM, 3G, and LTE mobile networks throughout the globe. Regardless of whether or not the HD voice is offered as a standalone service or embedded in other services (such as VoLTE or video calling), HD voice will require more bandwidth and increased transcoding capacity, particularly at interconnect borders.
Rich Communications Suite (RCS/RCS-e)
Rich Communications Suite, which subsumes both RCS and RCS-enhanced, integrates capabilities such as telephony, instant messaging and presence, as well as video, photo, and file sharing. All of these capabilities generate a significant amount of SIP signaling traffic, so the largest issue for service providers will be management of the signaling volume and complexity. Although the media demands for RCS/RCS-e will be limited for the most part to the telephony component, carriers providing access to RCS/RCS-e over public WiFi will also need to encrypt, which could place additional demands on media processing.
WebRTC and other OTT services
Although WebRTC is a service enabler rather than a service, WebRTC and other technologies that will allow our customers to compete against traditional OTT offers (such as Skype) are still evolving, and we think there will be a lot of demand for these services in the industry. Since WebRTC standards define the media only, the signaling plane will be wide open. This will likely drive demand for more signaling interworking functionality in the SBC. In terms of the media plane, the multi-modal aspect OTT services will increase bandwidth requirements. Lastly, since all OTT traffic will be encrypted, that function will be in high demand as well.
The New Platform
When looking at the various requirements for each of these services, it’s clear that current generation SBC technology, while adequate for the current generation of services, won’t satisfy the requirements going forward that I’ve outlined above. The Net-Net 6300, with its new design, hardware and operating system kernel, delivers the right combination of functions at the scale necessary to securely enable these future services.
However, the Net-Net 6300 also carries forward key operational elements such as its high availability implementation, its management interfaces and CLI and the same version of Net-Net OS as our previous generation Net-Net 4500. This not only gives the Net-Net 6300 instant feature parity with the most widely-deployed SBC platform in the world, it significantly eases the transition to the network of the future for our customers.
The combination of groundbreaking technology with operational familiarity and function/feature parity make us confident that the Net-Net 6300 is going to be our most successful SBC platform to date.
Biography: Patrick brings over 24 years of communications engineering experience to his role as chief technology officer. Prior to founding Acme Packet, Patrick served as the vice president of engineering for Priority Call Management (PCM) from its inception in 1989 through its acquisition by the LHS Group a decade later. At PCM, Patrick developed and supported the company's network telecommunications products and grew the engineering team from two to 75 members.
Prior to PCM, he was employed at Boston Technology. Patrick has developed intellectual property portfolios for PCM, LHS PCM, and Acme Packet. He has accumulated 49 patents of which 30 have been issued and 19 are pending. Patrick holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh and an MBA from Boston University.
Introducing the Net-Net 6300
Session Border Controller Technology for the Next Network
Learn more about the industry’s most capable session delivery platform through Acme Packet's product video, white paper, interview with the engineers, data sheet, and announcement.