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The Emergence of the Session Border Media Gateway

A few months ago, I wrote an article questioning whether the trunk media gateway would wither or assume new roles to enable it to remain relevant in the all-IP realm of the future. (See Media Gateways: New Roles or Old News?) Since then, there have been several developments in this arena, including today's announcement of the acquisition of sesson border controller (SBC) vendor NextPoint Networks Inc. by Genband Inc. (See Genband Scores NextPoint.)

The decision by Genband is significant, given its market status and momentum in the media gateway marketplace. Certainly, flawless execution will be required by Genband to avoid the perception that media gateway vendors cannot integrate SBC technology. (See AudioCodes Rakes Netrake.) However, the potential to deliver a fully converged SBC/media gateway remains technically appealing, and should only enhance Genband's overall media gateway portfolio vision.

While conducting research for an upcoming report over the past few weeks, it also became evident that other media gateway vendors, in addition to AudioCodes Ltd. (Nasdaq: AUDC) noted above, have started down this path, which provides further validation of the strategy. Although not all network operators will embrace the integrated SBC/media gateway concept, my research revealed that some network operators do view this integrated approach as representing an optimal configuration.

However, firmly entrenched SBC vendors such as Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT) are also moving forward with new, more powerful solutions to ensure that the standalone SBC model remains strategically viable. (See Acme Debuts Net-Net 4500.) Therefore, while there will undoubtedly be continued discussions on the validity of the integrated SBC/media gateway model, these developments provide network operators with several options to implement next-generation session control – which can only be seen as a positive development.

— Jim Hodges, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

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