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For Session Border Controllers, Multi-Vendor Policies Rule the Day

November 08, 2012

Recently, Infonetics (News - Alert) Research carried out a survey talking to operators about their plans regarding the purchase of session border controller (SBC) equipment and accompanying issues within the field. While the study itself brought back plenty of interesting information about the nature of the SBC market, one point stood out above the rest. Specifically, when it comes to buying SBC hardware, most companies prefer to work with multiple vendors instead of just one.

The Infonetics Research report titled, “November 2012 SBC Deployment Strategies: Global Service Provider Survey,” looked into a variety of key points within the SBC marketplace itself. The survey covered 51 different providers worldwide, all of which currently had a VoIP or an IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) network in place that were also in active SBC lab testing, trials, deployment or production. The users surveyed represented 39 percent of the world's current revenue in telecommunications firms and accounted for 41 percent of the world's capital expenditures in telecommunications, so while the sample size may be comparatively small the proportion of the market should be statistically sound.

What the findings highlight was even more impressive. 96 percent of respondents or nearly the entire slate touts Acme Packet as a "top vendor" in the field, and is on top of several lists in terms of vendors currently under evaluation. Further, operators are increasingly in favor of licensing models that focus on the network as a whole rather than on individual nodes, while 88 percent of respondents believe that security is top of the heap when it comes to functions of an SBC. However, there are several other important functions rounding out the top of the list including interconnection with other service providers, as well as both SIP trunking and business-level VoIP capability.

That interconnection is vital for the centerpiece of the survey, as 41 percent of those surveyed are currently using a multi-vendor approach to SBC purchasing, with that number is expected to reach 67 percent of buyers by just 2014. That not only provides a lot of opportunity for vendors to get into the market, but it also provides opportunity for more established firms to prove their merit in the long run. This is likely going to shake up the market over just a short time, and by the end of it all, some vendors that weren't big previously may well become so by the end of just two years. Conversely, some major players may well see loss, and businesses looking to buy SBC hardware will have a dizzying array from which to choose.

The end results of a multi-vendor strategy on the wider market remains to be seen, but it's clear that this particular market space will be volatile for at least the next two years.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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