Youd think it would be easy connecting SIP-to-SIP, bringing IP-based signals into an IP-based network architecture. In fact, the two dont always play nicely together. With so many implementation options available on either side, SIP service providers and SIP applications are not inherently interoperable.
To bridge the gap, Montreal-based Dialogic has just released its BorderNet 500 Gateways, a turnkey product that combines media gateway technologies with session border control (SBC) functionality. The company claims it can effectively connect SIP services with any enterprise network architecture and customer premise communications system.
Founded in 1984, Dialogic is today a private company but it plans to merge in October with publicly-held Veraz Networks of San Jose, Calif. While Dialogic wont disclose its revenues, representatives said the combined company will gross $250 million and that Veraz presently takes in $50 to $75 million.
With the release of its BorderNet 500 product, Dialogic is preaching the gospel of universality, describing the product as a means to deliver "any-to-any" media gateway functionality. In simple and direct fashion, the product can connect virtually any premise-based PBX or contact center system with any trunk type, whether SIP-based or TDM/PSTN, said Enterprise Marketing Director Budd Walder.
To demonstrate how this universal approach trumps current solutions, Walder points to Microsofts Office Communications Server (OCS) as an example. In order to achieve interoperability, he explained, OCS requires that a specific SIP carrier be tested against a specific premise solution to ensure compatibility. This ensures a reliable pairing, but it can create a hurdle for anyone trying to pair two elements that havent been tested against each other.
Dialogic also puts SIP carriers and premise solutions through the paces, but since they do the work, customers don't have to, "so you can mix 'n match," Walder said. Not only does this approach simplify life for end users, it also can be a boon to resellers looking to meet the needs of a diverse marketplace. "We become a kind of Swiss army knife for them."
The appeal to universality reflects the growing adoption of IP based solutions, Walder said. While such systems are rapidly gaining popularity, enterprise users in particular are wrangling with the need to communicate externally while maintaining internal defenses. "Generally the firewall that protects the enterprise network from Internet-based attacks is not something that understands SIP," Walder said.
As a result, IP managers may be faced with the unsavory option of poking holes in their firewalls to allow SIP traffic to get through. An effective SBC can translate from the carrier to a premise based system without compromising security.
BorderNet 500 claims its place as a "turnkey" solution by virtue of its integration of such SBC functionality and an enterprise-wide media gateway. Once SIP traffic has made it into the enterprise network, the media gateway allows it to connect to a range of systems within the enterprise including PBX, contact center, fax service, and conference data centers.
"We can enable legacy environments to accept SIP-based trunking or SIP-based UC services into a legacy PBX," Walder said. This can be especially valuable for businesses that are in the midst of a network transition and may be running different systems at different sites.
For those on the cusp, the uncertainties around SIP may stall a commitment to do away with PSTN altogether. "People may see it makes a lot of sense to leverage their broadband connection for voice and data, but there is a red flag that goes up when you look at the edge of the network, because you cannot connect SIP across the firewall," Walder said. "That may be a riskier proposition than they want."
While SBC products like BorderNet 500 can help ease the fear, Walder said its important to go one step further. He encourages potential clients to use the product as part of a limited rollout, creating a separate trunk group as a means to test-drive a SIP based system. To the extent that Dialogic can do this, it opens the door for further market penetration.
"Most enterprise IT managers and telecom managers at some point are either going to adopt a SIP-based PBX, or they already have done it," Walder said. "We just allow them to adopt that service earlier, if they are not quite ready to do that yet."