The future of Session Border Controllers with Acme Packet

As worldwide growth in the use of session-based IP communications continues to grow, Acme Packet is looking to the future of the session border controller (SBC) market.

VoIP network management software developer TransNexus works with Acme Packet as part of the Acme Packet Interop Plus Partner Program. This strategic partnership has led to best-of-breed products and first-class customer service. TransNexus recently sat down with Acme Packet Vice President of Business Development, Mark Vella, to get the latest news on session border controllers, new developments in VoIP, and the upcoming Acme Packet Interconnect.

Session Border Controller and Session Delivery Network Market Growth

Two of the primary growth areas for the SBC market are the enterprise and mobile segments. Enterprises often face incompatibility, security, and quality challenges due to complex, multivendor networks with several generations of PBXs using unique protocols and configurations.

According to Mark Vella, “IT departments are looking for ways to consolidate their networks, improve employee productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and lower costs. Some IT department heads are looking to simplify their networks, which can result in multivendor interoperability, regulatory compliance, and improved customer experience. By normalizing the systems over an IP transport, IT departments can achieve these goals with interoperable, secure, and reliable real-time communications over IP.” Today, these enterprises can utilize a simplified, interoperable network with unified communications for increasing productivity, advanced customer service through real-time, multimedia communications, and cost savings by transitioning away from traditional TDM to Voice over IP (VoIP).

Similarly, mobile communications are becoming more complex as smartphones become more sophisticated. As mobile phones improve, mobile broadband is more capable of handling richer applications. Next, when voice moves to the service provider’s LTE, 4G, or mobile WiMAX networks, the companies providing IP connections will want to build out the same functionalities as Internet services like Facebook; where for example, you can accept or reject phone calls based on advanced phonebook features.

Forward-thinking service providers are moving towards services like RCS and RCS-e with SIP-based communications over IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). “As IMS deployments grow, Acme Packet session delivery networks will enable service providers with a range of products built for increasing revenue through interoperable, reliable, and secure next-generation communications to mobile subscribers,” said Vella.

SIP Trunking and Acme Packet

“SIP trunking is a win-win for enterprises and service providers alike,” said Vella. “With SIP trunking, enterprises realize cost savings through consolidation of their real-time communications environments to SIP. At the same time, new applications made possible through the use of SIP are revolutionizing internal business processes, B2B interaction and customer service.

The movement by enterprises to SIP-based communications translates to obvious benefits for service providers who offer SIP trunking services.” Beyond basic trunking for PSTN-terminated and originated calls, SIP trunks sold to enterprises create new revenue streams for SIP trunking providers as well as increased customer retention through value-add services such as hosted video conferencing and IP toll-free.

In spite of these very real benefits, however, the transition to SIP trunking carries a number of challenges, particularly in the areas of security, interoperability and reliability. Fortunately, SBCs address these challenges for both service providers and enterprises. By solving the issues inherent in SIP trunking, Acme Packet is helping service providers move confidently to transition customers from traditional TDM trunks to next-generation SIP trunks.

Telecom Fraud Prevention and Detection with Acme Packet and TransNexus

Telecom fraud detection and prevention is another major issue facing communications service providers. A recent report from watchdog group the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) detailed over 83,000 fraud complaints in 2011, nearly double the number of complaints from 2010, and quadruple the number from 2009. Of those complaints, the ACCC estimates that nearly 20% involved hacking and fraudulent use of telecommunications services, a startling number for VoIP service providers.

This month, TransNexus will be releasing version three of their popular SDReporter product for Acme Packet SBCs with new fraud detection features. SDReporter works with the Acme Packet Net-Net Session Director SBC by controlling service provider access and interconnect borders, as well as the routing of sessions between service providers. With the new fraud prevention features included with SDReporter V3 from TransNexus, service providers stand to gain new levels of protection for themselves as well as their customers and VoIP subscribers.

Acme Packet’s Mark Vella explains, “As VoIP traffic enters the service provider network, the SBC aggregates statistics and dial code information from each endpoint and sends the information to SDReporter for real-time analysis. If the information exceeds configured thresholds or violates a policy, SDReporter generates a trigger for the SBC, which in turn will block the call or caller who is in violation.” The combined TransNexus/Acme Packet solution can save service providers up to $150 million per year in fraudulent calls, a number that was recently cited by Revector, a U.K.-based fraud management company.

Acme Packet Interconnect 2012

Next month, Acme Packet will host its eight annual worldwide user conference. Acme Packet Interconnect will be held on May 16-18 at the Eden Roc Renaissance Miami Beach in Miami, Florida. Interconnect 2012’s agenda focuses on the latest business and technical trends, such as unified communications and SBCs, IMS and RCS, security, session delivery networks, mobile LTE, and the evolution of the IP contact center. Live product demonstrations throughout the event and discussions with Acme Packet engineers, product specialists, and executives make Interconnect 2012 a unique opportunity to build relationships and share the value of end-to-end IP communications.

Speakers and panel discussions will focus on the evolution of IP communications technologies for fixed line, mobile, and the enterprise. The sessions include presentations, debates and interactive panel discussions from customers, technology ecosystem partners, and Acme Packet executives. Thought leaders will discuss industry best practices and the future of interactive IP communications.