Kagoor Goes Cable Crazy
Kagoor is claiming this is a coup, saying it's the first session controller vendor to announce a customer in the cable operator sector, which is increasingly turning its attentions to VOIP. (See Cox Declares VOIP 'Ready for Prime Time', Cox Launches VOIP Service, Arris: Comcast's Stealth VOIP Vendor , Charter Picks Nortel VOIP Gear, and Tiscali Picks NetCentrex for Euro VOIP.)
Session border controllers are important to the provision of VOIP as they interconnect multiple IP networks and manage IP sessions across those networks.
"The cable market is projected to be a major adopter of VOIP," says Kagoor's marketing VP Jim Greenway. "Session border control will be required for peering with other telecom carriers, for NAT traversal, to support cable users sitting behind firewalls, and for network protection, such as topology hiding, denial of service prevention, and so on. It'll also be needed for regulatory compliance with CALEA and Lawful Intercept," Greenway adds (see VOIP Carriers Calculate Tap Tariff).
Kagoor is not alone in seeing a major opportunity in the cable sector. A spokeswoman for Acme Packet says the "cable space is seen as a very important area and one that is growing, with the major players actively evaluating and deploying session border controllers." She says Acme has supported the PacketCable specification for more than two years, and that one large MSO is using Acme's product for a SIP video trial, while two other MSOs are also evaluating Acme's session controller.
Acme also notes that one of its existing customers, hosted service provider CommPartners LLC, is providing IP services to cable operators (see CommPartners Plans VOIP Buildout).
Fellow competitor Netrake Corp. also has high hopes for the cable sector. It recently launched into the MSO space, and claims to be in trials with several major North American cable operators (see Netrake Launches into Cable Market).
Netrake's VP of global alliances, Micaela Giuhat, says, "This is a great win for Kagoor and for the session controller market. It proves [that] session controllers are a critical element, not only in the wireline market, but in the cable and, soon, wireless markets as well."
But is breaking into the cable space such a big deal? Frost & Sullivan VOIP equipment analyst Jon Arnold says, "Japan is a strong market for Kagoor, so this plays well to their strength, and this definitely helps their prestige. All the vendors are gunning for the U.S. MSOs, and a customer like this would be a great reference, especially since Japan is so much further ahead in this market. But all the session border controller vendors are looking beyond wireline for growth."
Interestingly, not all so gung-ho about the cable sector. Dan Dare, VP of marketing at NexTone Communications Inc. (OK, OK, so it's Dan Dearing, not Dan Dare), reckons the MSO sector is down the pecking order in terms of revenue per port, so less in importance.
Daring Dearing says NexTone views the market in terms of three session controller applications -- C2C (carrier-carrier), C2E (carrier-enterprise), and C2R (carrier-residential). Nextone puts the cable market into the C2R sector, as it has little penetration in the enterprise market.
And while C2R is "getting the most hype in the industry," it's the smallest of the three, accounting for only about 20 percent of future overall market revenues. That's because the C2R market is a broadband market that requires little session control intelligence -- NAT traversal and SIP support is about all that's needed, reckons NexTone -- and that translates into a lower dollar-per-port for vendors.
The C2C and C2E markets are much more lucrative, reckons Dearing, as they require greater session control sophistication, such as traffic engineering, session routing, and multiprotocol interworking, for example, so vendors can command a higher price per port.
NexTone plans to offer its technology to other vendors that are focused on the MSO and general C2R market, says Dearing, though he adds NexTone will announce an operator customer focused on the residential sector in the next few months.
The total market for session controllers is fairly small at present, worth less than $100 million annually, but is set to grow rapidly during the next few years, with The Yankee Group estimating it will be worth $1.2 billion a year by 2008 (see Session Controller Market to Explode).
— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading