Session Border Controllers 101 with AudioCodes

Under-the-bonnet review of the AudioCodes SBC Range

Session Border Controllers 101 with AudioCodes

A worldwide company dedicated to improving the state of human communication, AudioCodes has built their reputation on innovative voice products and services. The company sells advanced data networking products, professional services, and VoIP systems to organisations of any background or size, specialising in SBC, Media Gateways, and MSBRs.

Today, we’re going to be looking at the AudioCodes range of Session Border Controllers (SBCs) sold under the “Mediant” banner. Designed to deliver exceptional quality assurance, enhanced security and reliable connectivity for service providers and enterprise networks, AudioCodes SBCs have a strong reputation in the industry.

What is an SBC (Session Border Controller)?

For those just starting to explore their VoIP options, a Session Border Controller, or “SBC,” is a demarcation point that exists between a service provider SIP trunk, and a business’s VoIP network. The SBC is responsible for media handling, SIP protocol mediation, and security. In a nutshell, the bit that connects the outside world to the inside world and makes it all secure.

AudioCodes offers session border controller solutions for both service providers and enterprises. From a service provider perspective, AudioCodes’ SBC system can work as a peering SBC, or an access SBC depending on the needs of the SP.

The Features and Benefits of AudioCodes SBCs

The Mediant family of session border controllers from AudioCodes is intended to cover a range of SBC needs, all the way from smaller companies, to service providers. Features include:

  • Hybrid TDM/SIP platforms allowing VoIP to connect with legacy equipment.
  • A single code base across all models for a unified user interface
  • Advanced SIP mediation facilities
  • Interoperability with most of the leading UC operators and vendors.

AudioCodes offers a highly-scalable, and diverse range of products for service provider and enterprise deployments. This brand can help companies migrate from their legacy PBX systems or embrace a hybrid strategy for the future. Additionally, AudioCodes systems are highly interoperable with other VoIP and legacy systems, which means that you don’t have to worry about wasting your on-premise investments.

AudioCodes SBCs are highly secure, and they can be deployed either as software in a virtual environment or as a dedicated appliance as well as on cloud environments such as AWS and Azure.

“AudioCodes SBC’s homegrown SIP engine offers remarkable flexibility for interworking between VoIP networks. It provides the network administrator advanced capabilities such as variables and a simple SIP manipulation scripting language which make almost any SIP mediation possible”, Avi Grabinsky, VP Product Management, AudioCodes

Comparing AudioCodes SBC Products

As mentioned above, AudioCodes offers a vast selection of SBC products, all the way from the Mediant 500 and 500L Hybrid SBC, to the Mediant 9000, designed for up to 55,000 sessions. Here’s what each option offers:

AudioCodes Mediant 500 and 500L

The AudioCodes Mediant 500 and 500L hybrid SBCs are simple media gateways offering high-performance VoIP connectivity for branch office locations and small enterprises. The 500L is designed for a maximum of 60 sessions, while the Mediant 500 offers support for up to 250 sessions.

AudioCodes Mediant 800, 1000, and 2600

The Mediant 800, 1000, and 2600 are enterprise session border controllers designed for SMEs (small-to-midsize enterprises). The 800 device supports up to 124 voice channels (four E1/T1s) in a single platform, for scalable connectivity between VoIP and TDM networks. The Mediant 800 can manage up to 400 SBC sessions. On the other hand, the Mediant 1000 can handle 150 SBC sessions and 6 E1 / 8 T1, and the Mediant 2600 can manage up to 600 SBC sessions, without Hybrid SBC support.

AudioCodes Mediant 4000 and 9000

The AudioCodes Mediant 4000 and 9000 SBCs are designed for larger organisations. They don’t have hybrid support, but they can support service providers as well as large enterprises. The Mediant 4000 can manage up to 5,000 SBC sessions, while the 9,000 can handle an amazing 55,000 sessions.

AudioCodes Mediant CE

The AudioCodes Mediant CE SBC is their cloud edition session border controller, offering service providers and enterprises the benefits of full cloud scalability. The CE system is built on a microservices architecture with scalable media clusters to ensure that you can access extra capacity as and when you need it. The Mediant CE can handle up to 50,000 sessions.

AudioCodes Mediant VE

The virtual edition (VE) of the AudioCodes Mediant SBC is intended to meet the ever-growing needs of service providers and enterprises using virtual solutions. This highly-scalable service supports SIP interoperability, security, and media handling for any customer looking to embrace voice services, unified communications and contact centre support on public and private clouds. The Mediant VE offers support for up to 24,000 sessions.

AudioCodes Mediant SE

Finally, the Server Edition (SE) of the Mediant session border controller is a bare-metal SBC which runs on selected “Off the Shelf” servers. It’s designed for large environments and can provide support for up to 55,000 sessions.

Why Choose AudioCodes?

AudioCodes is clearly a leader in the session border controller space, with solutions designed to meet with almost any enterprise or service provider need. However, with so many different SBC systems on the market to choose from, how do you know if AudioCodes is right for you?

Here are some of our favourite features, to help you decide:

  • High interoperability levels: The AudioCodes Mediant SBC range comes with a broad range of media and SIP interoperability templates perfect for almost any enterprise deployment. There’s even an SBC configuration wizard to get you started.
  • Runs on any environment: Set up an SBC system on your preferred environment whether it is virtual (VMware, KVM, and Hyper-V) or on the cloud (AWS and Azure), or if you’re more of a hardware fan choose one of the on-premise hardware models. The nice thing is that when you master one model, you mastered all of them, as all models run the same code base
  • Uninterrupted Communication: AudioCodes provides plenty of features to make sure that your SBC sessions are as resilient as possible. With geographic redundancy, high availability, PSTN fall back and multiple WAN connections, you can rest assured that your business will continue to run smoothly.
  • Something for everyone: As you probably noticed in our comparison above, AudioCodes offers a complete portfolio of SBC products for anything you might need. With a comprehensive suite of SBCs running the same software, delivering the same security, and providing the same interoperability, you’re sure to find something that works for your organisation.
  • Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business Certified: If your business is already set up with Microsoft services, the AudioCodes portfolio is completely Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams certified, to help you get the most streamlined adoption for your VoIP strategy.
  • Integrated WebRTC Gateway: WebRTC has turned the browser into a voice and video communication tool. AudioCodes SBCs integrate a WebRTC Gateway functionality requiring only a single device and inheriting the security advantages of the SBC
  • Dynamic Optimisation and QoE monitoring: The AudioCodes SBC portfolio comes packaged with a comprehensive QoE solution for dynamic optimisation. With AudioCodes VoiPerfect, you can minimise the costs of your VoIP links, while getting the highest possible quality of audio for all your users. Achieve high-definition voice throughout your organisation in no time.

“AudioCodes offers the widest range of SBCs in the market to optimally serve any size of opportunity and any deployment model. Our cutting-edge SBCs are the result of years of VoIP experience gained from millions of sessions deployed, and a highly capable team of engineers”, Avi Grabinsky, VP Product Management

Finishing Thoughts

If you’re looking for an SBC portfolio that’s broad, feature-rich and brimming with solutions to make managing your VoIP strategy easier, then you can’t go wrong with AudioCodes. The Mediant portfolio comes with everything you need to launch a stronger communication strategy, whether you’re a service provider looking to move to the cloud or an enterprise in search of a hybrid solution.

Have you used any of the products from the AudioCodes SBC range yet? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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