The way that enterprises connect to the outside world is changing. The transition to voice over IP (VoIP) that began with enterprise networks a decade ago, is now in full force in service provider networks. In a report issued on Monday, Infonetics Research reported that Cisco, the global market leader for unified communications and collaboration, is now the new market leader in global enterprise session border control (SBC) solutions for the first half of 2012, providing secure IP connectivity from the enterprise edge to the service provider session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking service.
Why is this so important? Service providers are now offering SIP trunking services instead of legacy dial tone (also known as time-division-multiplexing or TDM) to connect to enterprises of all sizes, including small businesses. In fact, according to their 2012 VoIP and UC Services Report, Infonetics forecasts SIP trunks to grow over 66 percent in 2012 alone. Customers are quickly embracing the new technology, which offers substantial cost savings and the promise of extending real-time rich-media collaboration applications beyond the enterprise to customers, partners and suppliers.
To begin realizing the benefits of SIP trunking, businesses need to deploy a session border controller in order to efficiently and securely connect to service providers while preserving voice quality and features. Session border controllers connect IP networks and provide session control, security, demarcation for better troubleshooting and interworking to help overcome differences in the deployment of the SIP standard (such as CODEC or signaling).
Cisco reinvents the collaboration edge
Cisco’s session border controller, called, Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) is a software license add-on to the widely deployed Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) and Aggregation Services Routers (ASRs). CUBE provides significant benefits over competitors’ stand-alone session border controller offerings. For example, CUBE enables customers to transition more smoothly to SIP trunking while reducing costs and operational complexity, often requiring no new hardware to be purchased or deployed. As a result, CUBE has been adopted by over 5,000 customers in 160 countries.
In their report, Infonetics credited Cisco’s differentiated model for delivering SIP trunking service, stating: “This is a natural extension of Cisco’s dominant market position in the router market—the majority of organizations have Cisco routers already installed and deployed at the important network border points.”
Other benefits of CUBE include:
Multi-service capabilities: Cisco routers can be repurposed to adapt to the changing needs of the business. Beyond routing and session border control, Cisco routers can also deliver other critical services, such as TDM gateways, call processing (Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express) or branch survivability (Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony). This routing architecture enables companies like BT Global Services to leverage Cisco ISR and ASR to deploy their BT Assure Security Service to fight voice and data threats in the enterprise. “Cisco is a natural partner to work with, not only because of the multi-service capabilities of the Cisco ISR and ASR, but also because of its market share leadership in routing, TDM Gateways and now for CUBE. It makes it easier to deploy our services as our customers are already familiar with Cisco,” said Mark Danton, Global Executive for the Business Continuity, Security and Governance at BT.
Smoother transition to SIP trunking: EPL, a data processing and turnkey IT service company, stated, “CUBE was an easy decision for us as it leveraged the Cisco routing and UC technology that we were already familiar with. We were able to transition to SIP trunking at our own pace by simultaneously deploying CUBE and TDM voice gateway functionality on our Cisco routers.”
According to Doug Davidson, senior network engineer at EPL, “We avoided a potentially risky cut-over that could have interrupted service and affected our entire organization. Instead, we were able to test and become familiar with the new technology before disconnecting the legacy environment.”
Global Experience with Service Providers: Touton, a 150-year old trading company in France, saw the benefits of CUBE immediately. “We see why CUBE is the market leader. When we deployed CUBE in three countries, we learned how tricky interoperability could be. All three service providers were deploying the SIP standard in subtly different ways. CUBE helped overcome these differences simply, and retain the same functionality and quality that we were used to. Using a single solution sped our deployment and makes on-going management easier,” said Nicolas Horchower, group IT manager for Touton.
SIP trunking – the Foundation for the Next Generation Collaboration Experience
SIP trunking technology can enable new levels of collaboration with any user regardless of location. Applications like high definition audio and video operate most efficiently with IP as the base. Moreover, SIP trunking provides businesses with immediate benefits over the legacy TDM technology, including lower costs through more efficient bandwidth utilization, better reliability, more flexibility, and easier manageability with a single network for voice and data.
Cisco is not only providing an end-to-end solution for collaboration, but is also offering a solution that is proven to be market leading, from the enterprise core to the edge – all based on IP. If you have not yet migrated to SIP, what are you waiting for? Learn about the benefits of migrating to SIP trunking using CUBE – you can read more here.