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What are Session Border Controllers?

Session Border Controllers (SBCs) are the tele-com industry’s answer to the VoIP security problem. SBCs are designed as gateway products supporting multiple protocols and often providing protocol translating services. SBCs provide some security features but these tend to be limited to NAT services and checks on messages to ensure that they conform to the protocol specification. SBCs typically do not provide content controls and do not address problems such as spam.

The single biggest limitation of SBCs is that the majority of vendors do not have an Internet security background and lack a proven security track record. The likelihood is therefore that SBCs will not provide the same level of network security as a SIP enabled firewall. Finally, SBCs tend to be designed for telco or carrier use and are often over spec’d and over priced for enterprise use.

Product examples include Kagoor (now Juniper) and Acme Packet.


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