With Greater UC Acceptance Comes a Greater Need for the Intelligent Edge

Author: Rosa Lear, Director of Marketing, Edgewater Networks

EWN_Logo_1SEP11While voice and video convergence was once a mythical goal, unified communications (UC) solutions have proven their effectiveness even beyond just voice and video. In their 2014-2015 Unified Communications, SIP, and SBC Plans and Priorities: What’s Hot and What’s Not report, Sonus Networks found that rather than plateauing, unified communications actually gained momentum since 2012.

Even though 70% of organizations reported partial or full UC implementation on premises, the need for cloud capabilities is changing market demands. Companies are realizing that session border controllers (SBCs) are necessary for UC support—but advanced UC will define an increased demand for an intelligent edge.

UC Acceptance Is Driving SBC Awareness

When unified communications was relegated to simple voice and video, companies could use firewalls as a passable means of traffic security. However, now that UC solutions are incorporating real-time collaboration tools, SIP trunking is becoming increasingly necessary and firewalls won’t get the job done.

Having more SIP-based solutions in UC suites has driven SBC awareness in companies of all sizes. As opposed to a simple firewall, SBCs are purpose-built for communications traffic to provide:

  • UC Security: Because SBCs can fully dissect SIP packets, they are able to regulate traffic to ensure enterprise servers only connect with authorized endpoints. Firewalls are essential for network security, but SBCs are necessary to ensure safe communications.
  • Interoperability: As more solutions and features are added to UC offerings, interoperability will become an increasingly troubling concern. Service providers must ensure legacy equipment can properly communicate with more modern applications and hardware.
  • QoS Assurance: SBCs have the unique ability to enforce quality requirements. These hardware solutions can monitor MOS scores as traffic passes bi-directionally. Service managers can set a quality gate to maintain high quality user experiences.

While it’s taken years for SBCs to reach this level of adoption, UC innovation will quickly outpace traditional implementations. As communications solutions become more advanced, service providers will have to support customers with an intelligent edge.

SBCs Must Evolve into the Intelligent Edge for Reliable UC Support

The differences between traditional SBC deployments and the intelligent edge don’t lie in the basic functionality. The security, interoperability, and quality assurance features that have driven SBC awareness are essential to the intelligent edge. Rather, the intelligent edge provides a gateway to bi-directional data and command capabilities that enable streamlined service provider management of customer environments.

When paired with a centrally-managed service control center, a network of intelligent edge solutions can optimize unified communications solutions with more sophisticated SBC features such as:

  • Automated detection
  • Service quality monitoring
  • Proactive troubleshooting

Intelligent edge solutions are essential to network edge orchestration, a hybrid cloud/edge solution that enables service providers to keep up with user demand for agile scaling and streamlined costs. The increased awareness of SBCs is an essential step forward for the communications market, but service providers should push the intelligent edge as a means of getting ahead of emerging cloud-based UC trends.

If you want to learn more about how network edge orchestration and, more specifically, intelligent edge solutions such as EdgeMarcs can support advanced UC solutions, contact Edgewater Networks today.

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