Verizon adds session border controller as a service to virtual services line

Verizon bolsters its SDN strategy with its new virtual SBC service for business customers. (Verizon)

Verizon Enterprise Solutions has launched its Virtual Network Services–SBCaaS offering. The new service reflects the ongoing expansion of the telco’s SDN virtual network services suite and its enterprise customers' movement away from premises-based network solutions to cloud-based offerings. 

Developed in conjunction with Ribbon Communications, Virtual Network Services–SBCaaS is available in the U.S. and other countries via Verizon’s hosted network services.

Virtual Network Services–SBCaaS is in many respects a sign of SBCs finding new utility as a cloud-based service for businesses.

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In an enterprise configuration, these devices would be placed at the customer premises, but the new service enables geo-diverse session border controller deployments.

Verizon Lonker
Victoria Lonker

“Increasing reliance on low-latency digital media and unified communications solutions is driving enterprises to apply the advantages of network virtualization to their IP voice and session border controllers,” said Vickie Lonker, VP of network and virtual solutions for Verizon, in a release. 

Reducing complexity, costs

A key focus of the new SBCaaS service is to reduce complexity and network costs associated with managing premises-based solutions. Earlier generations of enterprise-based SBCs struggled with network hardware installation and configuration, which can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. And legacy network infrastructure includes layers of potential failure points and configuration challenges. An agile, elastic solution that can be deployed in days rather than weeks, and without large capital costs, can help enterprises meet their evolving service delivery expectations, as well as help prevent toll fraud and TDoS threats.

Virtual Network Services–SBCaaS, which are available with “pay-as-you-go” subscription pricing, can be deployed as a standalone option or service chained with other virtualized network functions (VNFs) to expedite enhanced security, quality of service, and regulatory compliance for IP voice and video communications.

Ribbon Communications
Ribbon's SBC architecture

Like other products in Verizon’s VNS portfolio, Virtual Network Services-SBCaaS offers predictable operating expense model pricing and other service feature, capacity, and delivery options to help simplify budgetary planning and improve utilization of network resources. Features like Enterprise Orchestration enable rapid service delivery and global policy change management, helping users deal with anticipated and unexpected spikes in capacity requirements, while eliminating the need for on-site reconfiguration.  

“Virtual Network Services–SBCaaS delivers the advanced interworking and security features these businesses depend on in a truly elastic operating expense model, helping them better manage their costs, adjust to changing business needs, and reduce the reliance on dedicated network hardware and their potential points of network failure,” Lonker said in the release.  

Verizon also plans to release other options including premises-based Verizon universal CPE and hybrid network deployment, as well as expanded VNF service chain and capacity selections throughout 2018.

SBC evolution

Verizon’s move to offer an SBCaaS represents what could be an emerging trend and the evolution of the session border controller (SBC) market, one where Ribbon is a key remaining player.  

SBCs were initially deployed in VoIP networks to exert control over the signaling and usually also the media streams involved in setting up, conducting, and tearing down telephone calls or other interactive media communications.

Patrick Joggerst, CMO and EVP of business development for Ribbon Communications, told FierceTelecom that the company sees a growing opportunity to help drive virtual SBC services via carrier partners like Verizon.

Ribbon Communications
Patrick Joggerst

“What’s going on with SBCs is we’re going to go beyond providing appliances in the network or at the enterprise,” Joggerst said. “We can offer virtualized SBCs as a service to an enterprise or providing an offer for a carrier.”

Additionally, Ribbon is also providing a virtualized version of its SBC.

“We also have virtualized session border controllers,” Joggerst said. “Everything is moving to the cloud, real time and everything will ultimately be embedded into being embedded into workflows in a secure fashion.”

Another service area that Ribbon is looking to help service providers like Verizon with is security. Ribbon is conducting partnerships with Palo Alto and other security-centric vendors to offer managed firewall and related offerings for UCaaS applications, which is becoming a vulnerability for service providers and their business customers.

“We have worked with Palo Alto Networks to develop a more sophisticated SBC/enterprise firewall offering,” Joggerst said. “We’re talking about some trials with some enterprise customers and go to market with carriers for a next-generation security platform, which is protecting the network at the edge with a session border controller and taking the attributes of a firewall to mine the data that comes out of them.”