Sonus Networks officials are enhancing the company's Session Border Controllers to make it easier for businesses to address the continuing issue of video in unified communications environments
Video collaboration in the enterprise is still hindered by a range of challenges, from interoperability between different platforms to the growing number and variety of devices that are being used for conferences, according to David Tipping, vice president and general manager of business for SBC. The issues have forced businesses to create different silos for video, such as room-based systems, desktops and personal devices.
Organizations are dogged by other challenges as well, from poor user experience to complexity to bandwidth issues, all of which are becoming more apparent with the rise of worker mobility and the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends, as well as the rising demand for video conferencing, Tipping told eWEEK.
"These are a collective series of issues that seem to repeat themselves again and again," he said.
Enhancements in Sonus' SBC 5000 series of Session Border Controllers (SBCs) will make it easier for enterprises and service providers to enable easy video and voice collaboration between disparate platforms, to securely manage these collaboration sessions and to increase the multimedia capabilities of their unified communications (UC) environments.
Sonus has armed the SBC 5000 series 4.0 with a range of different protocols, such as H323, and device support to make interoperability between endpoints—even if they're using disparate video platforms—easy, Tipping said.
Interoperability has been a sticking point in video collaboration for years, with vendors—from established players like Cisco Systems and Polycom to smaller companies like Vidyo and Blue Jeans Network—looking to solve it through both hardware and software solutions. Tipping said Sonus wants to leverage its experience in SBCs to create the interoperability without compromising SBC performance or scale.
At the same time, Sonus is embedding its PSX policy engine into the SBC 5000 series hardware platforms. The ePSX policy engine enables enterprises and service providers to use business rules and priorities—including the who, when and why—to manage multimedia sessions. In addition, Sonus is adding greater security capabilities to the SBCs to deal with concerns raised by the growth of BYOD and the growing number of personal devices workers are using to access the corporate network.
The SBC 5000 series SBCs can handle such tasks as verification and authentication, as well as video communication encryptions, all as a way of protecting the corporate network from security breaches, according to officials.
In all, Sonus has put more than 100 updates into the SBC 5000 series 4.0, including Microsoft Lync qualification for the SBC 5210 and 5100 SBSCs, SIPREC call recording capabilities, and serviceability and support features to drive improvements to the user experience while reducing operational costs.
Sonus' enhancements to the SBC 5000 series 4.0 are part of a larger effort by the company to grow its presence in enterprises. Company officials last year said Sonus, which had sold its IP communications technologies primarily to service providers and smaller organizations, was going to extend its reach to midsize companies and enterprises. Given such trends as greater mobility and BYOD, the network requirements of enterprises were looking more like those of smaller service providers, officials said. Enterprises increasingly were dealing with such issues as interoperability, security, complexity and bandwidth, all challenges that Sonus was working on with service providers and smaller organizations.
In October 2012, Sonus introduced its Harmony Architecture, a cloud-based platform designed to address the problems of interoperability among UC platforms.