Thinking Big with AudioCodes

Thinking Big with AudioCodes

By Blair Pleasant February 10, 2014 2 Comments
Blait_Pleasant and Unified Communications Strategies
Thinking Big with AudioCodes by Blair Pleasant

As more and more businesses deploy UC systems, notably Microsoft Lync, they often require a Session Border Controller (SBC) to make everything work together. SBCs integrate SIP Trunking service providers to Lync and help solve interoperability issues that exist between systems today.

SBCs control how calls and sessions are initiated, conducted and terminated, and are an important part of SIP trunking and routing in UC environments. SIP trunking can save enterprises 20%-60% annually, which is driving large-scale SIP trunking deployments. As an important element of SIP trunking networks, SBCs provide security, interoperability, QoS assurance, and more.

One of the key benefits of SBCs is the integration provided between systems that do not interoperate, even if both are SIP compliant. The majority of Lync users are not implementing Lync voice capabilities, and require integration with their existing voice systems. While newer switches with native Lync integration may not need SBCs to overcome interoperability issues, companies with older models need a way for the switch and Lync to work together. In addition, as large companies migrate from Microsoft’s previous UC platforms, notably OCS, while retaining their legacy PBX or IP-PBX, SBCs are needed to help with the migration.

As Stephen Leaden points out in a UCStrategies podcast, “SBCs have an underlying feature set that allows them to create routing and dial plan capabilities to legacy PBXs,” which is useful for companies migrating toward a full UCC environment, or for larger customer with multiple sites or have acquired other companies through mergers and acquisitions.

As Lync deployments get larger, and companies roll out Lync to a greater number of users, and as large enterprise-class customers consolidate their calling traffic into centralized SIP Trunking services, the need for an SBC that can handle increased requirements grows as well.

That’s why AudioCodes is “thinking big” and introduced the Mediant 9000 Session Border Controller, which supports up to 16,000 concurrent sessions and extends the capacity of AudioCodes Mediant SBC family.

As part of AudioCodes’ One Voice for Lync product portfolio, the larger capacity SBCs enable enterprise customers to consolidate the network infrastructure for Microsoft Lync, simplifying training, deployment and support. AudioCodes and Microsoft have been working together for years, and AudioCodes realized that it was important to expand its SBC capacity in order to better support large Lync deployments. This is especially important as the momentum for Microsoft Lync continues to grow, with nearly 60% of enterprises with over 500 seats surveyed by Infotrack deploying or planning to deploy Lync.

The newest addition to AudioCodes’ Mediant SBC family, the Mediant 9000 “meets the connectivity, security and reliability needs of large-scale unified communications solutions and IP contact center deployments, as hosted, managed or owned services.” The company sees this as an important building block for further growth in both the UC and contact center spaces.

Robert Half International, a worldwide recruiting and placement firm, is migrating from a Microsoft OCS deployment to a Lync 2013 environment, and uses ShoreTel switches for its voice communications, with AudioCodes SBCs enabling the systems to work together. The company has two Lync 2013 enterprise pools - one in California with 12,000 users servicing 10-12 countries, and one in Burmingham, UK with 3,000 users, serving 10 countries. Due to compatibility issues between the ShoreTel and Lync systems, the company currently uses an AudioCodes 2600 SBC that sits between the ShoreTel switch and Lync to do the translation that’s needed for the Lync and ShoreTel systems to work together.

Using AudioCodes, Robert Half employees in remote offices all over the world can call using their ShoreTel systems and use the conferencing capabilities of Lync. According to Robin Griffin, Systems Engineer and Lync Network Administrator for Robert Half, “The AudioCodes SBC handles all the sessions without breaking a sweat and pushes the calls to Lync so everyone can be on the same call.”  While the system is currently limited to 150 calls, the new AudioCodes SBC will allow for 600 simultaneous connections between the ShoreTel and Lync systems.

Griffin notes that as more and more workers get on Lync, the AudioCodes SBC can route internal calls from the ShoreTel switch to a user’s mobile devices running the Lync client, which keeps the call internal and eliminates any toll call charges.  “AudioCodes is the main link between the ShoreTel switch and Lync, which keeps the call internal and cut down costs.”

Robert Half is a typical example of complex deployments that require high-capacity SBCs that eliminate the need to rip out existing systems in order to migrate to large-scale Lync deployments. The larger Mediant 9000 system will let enterprises using Lync scale even higher, which is important as more workers move from their legacy systems to Lync.  



2 Responses to "Thinking Big with AudioCodes" - Add Yours

Kevin Kieller 2/10/2014 6:46:49 PM

Good summary Blair.

I would suggest that when you write "The majority of Lync users are not implementing Lync voice capabilities" I would add "yet".

SBCs absolutely can help transition from legacy voice to Lync voice. Having the SBC "sim-ring" both the existing PBX and Lync is a great way to transition to your final desired end state.

As noted, SBCs are good at implementing connections between Lync and PBXs or in handling translations between Lync and SIP providers who are not 100% Lync certified, the AudioCodes SBCs can manipulate SIP headers to handle the non-compliance.

I have lots of experience working with the AudioCodes Mediant 1000 devices, which are great for small organizations or small branch offices, the Mediant 2000, for larger organizations and the Mediant 4000 SBCs where we have moved 6,000+ users connected via SIP trunking.

The Mediant 9000 seems well suited to very large organizations or service providers who host multiple organizations.

Art Rosenberg 2/11/2014 12:40:58 PM

Blair, Kevin,

It is obvious that business communications for any size organization, whether on-premise or in "clouds," are becoming more multimodal and subsuming legacy telephony and the PSTN. SBCs are therefore critical to a graceful migration to UC and are also useful for exploiting the benefits of WebRTC.

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