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September 13, 2011

Metaswitch Unveils the Perimeta Session Border Controller
By Jamie Epstein
TMCnet Web Editor

Originally founded in the U.K., Metaswitch has been around for many years and has continued to grow significantly, especially within the past year. Currently ranked as the number one supplier of VoIP softswitches to the U.S. as well as number one in licenses sold, the company continues to invest in technology as well as expand their portfolio.

I recently had the chance to speak with Simon Dredge (News - Alert), director of technical marketing at Metaswitch about the expansion of the company’s suite of product offerings and, in particular, their just launched Perimeta Session Border Controller. 

Dredge said, “Because we already power a SIP Session Router that helps to scale SIP networks, we have a large amount of insight into next-generation networks and next-generation applications. We have increasingly recognized that even though the SIP Session Router will help to deliver the billions and billions of SIP messages running across the networks helping networks to scale accordingly, what is lacking is a really good solution for managing the increase of both SIP messages and media such as either voice traffic or video. A classic solution for managing these sessions in today’s VoIP networks is a session border controller or SBC.”

“Metaswitch has a long history in developing SBC software solutions for OEM partners and deploying third party SBC platforms within our broad customer base,” said Martin Taylor, Metaswitch CTO, in a statement. “With the Perimeta product line, we have taken that experience and developed a high availability, carrier-grade SBC portfolio that can support today’s explosive growth in VoIP deployments, rich communications and end-to-end IP networks.” 

Session border controllers have been around for years, widely use in enterprises, where it has been found that SBCs managing VoIP networks can reduce costs and flatten networks. The primary role of an SBC is to secure the VoIP infrastructure and to protect the device that is responsible for switching the voice and voice endpoints themselves and to secure them against threats you would see on a regular data network, such as spam. Quality of service is also offered through SBCs, as packages are policed accordingly to provide a high quality of service. Accessibility handles voice traffic and traverse elements such as firewalls, while interworking helps different variants of SIP functions work together to create a seamless network. Analysis is another key part of solution, as it offers a way to closely look at voice signaling in the media network.

According to the company, the session border controller market demands massively scalable solutions that support independent scaling of signaling and media and leverages standard hardware for maximum cost effectiveness. And that is exactly what Metaswitch developed from the ground up -- an SBC that can address new session demands and offers a unique distributed architecture.

Built on a powerful and flexible ATCA COTS platform, Perimeta meets the deployment standards defined within the 3GPP IP Multimedia Subsystem (News - Alert) (IMS) and takes full advantage of the latest multi-core, multi-threaded CPU architectures to achieve maximum performance. Fully integrated with the MetaView Service Assurance Server, Perimeta also provides comprehensive post-analysis forensic capabilities with detailed protocol decode information on every SIP message it exchanges with the network and every internal routing and processing decision it makes; insight that can dramatically reduce mean-time-to-repair metrics, a press release revealed.

Designed to be a distributed SBC, this platform is made up of two parts an SSC, or signaling session controller and MSC (News - Alert), a media session controller. Because these two parts are completely distinct components, the MSC is responsible for media while the SSC handles signaling capabilities. Dredge stated, “As we look at today’s networks, SIP is being used for many different things other than voice, so we need to scale signaling at different rates than media. Completely distinct components enable the SBC to scale media and signaling independently.”

Dredge added, “We feel that we are the only company that can deliver an SBC based on common components that can scale accordingly. Whereas our competitors might have two or three different products with different form factors, we offer common components that can be switched out when you need to. In essence, it is a general purpose CPU platform that offers better price, and increased sourcing ability.”

For people that aren’t willing yet to transition to this new distributed SBC, Metaswitch has also launched an integrated option called Perimeta Integrated Session Controller or ISC. This SBC has been created for smaller deployments and offers the same high availability and redundancy characteristics. It acts as a distributed session border controller in-a-box that allows for a multi-core processor to run distinct instantiations of SSC and MSC functions.

Organizations should choose the Perimeta Session Border Controller from Metaswitch for that fact that it is built upon a purpose-built distributed architecture that is heavily focused on growing networks and can be utilized at a very low-cost. Soft launched in early summer of 2011, the company already boasts 30 customers proving that this SBC is invaluable tool any enterprise should take full advantage of.

Want to learn more about Session Initiation Protocol? Be sure to attend the SIP Tutorial Conference collocated with TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. The SIP Tutorial, co-sponsored by TMC Partner Crossfire Media, is a full day training program that will focus on SIP technology from SIP messaging, though Server types, Security, Firewall and NAT operation, SIP Trunking, Troubleshooting and SIP in Unified Communications (News - Alert). To register, click here.

Jamie Epstein is a TMCnet Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC as a Web editor for TMCnet. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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