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Cisco Unified Border Element


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The evolution of unified communications and collaboration services over the past few years has delivered dramatic improvements in employee productivity for enterprise and commercial businesses and will continue as voice, video, and mobile services continue to grow as pervasive elements of integrated collaboration solutions. However, these enhancements will be available only for organizations deploying end-to-end real-time IP communications for both inter- and intracompany voice and video services based on Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). As such, these companies will require a transition of their service provider network interconnect from time-division multiplexing (TDM) circuits to SIP trunking.

To accomplish this transition, the session border controller (SBC) has become a critical network component for scaling and securing unified communications networks. The SBC network component enables expansion of real-time voice and video services for end-to-end IP connectivity through service provider SIP trunk services, or through a secure SIP session over the Internet to support direct connectivity between two enterprise networks.

The Cisco SBC, Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE), provides the SBC feature set to support the transition to SIP trunking by enabling Cisco or third-party call control to connect to and interoperate with service provider SIP trunk services. Cisco Unified Border Element terminates and re-originates both signaling (H.323 and SIP) and media streams (Real-Time Transport Protocol [RTP] and Real-Time Control Protocol [RTCP]) to provide secure border interconnection services between IP networks. Using CUBE, Cisco customers can save on their current network services, simplify their network architectures, and position their networks for ongoing enhancements in collaboration services.

As an integrated Cisco IOS Software application, the Cisco Unified Border Element runs on a broad range of Cisco router platforms, including the Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) (Cisco 800, 2900, and 3900 Series as well as the Cisco 4451-X ISR) and the Cisco ASR 1000 Series Aggregation Services Routers. The breadth of Cisco router platforms that support the CUBE feature license means that CUBE provides unsurpassed price/performance scalability as compared to any other enterprise SBCs available. This scalability translates into network design flexibility for enterprise and commercial businesses, and operational efficiencies and breadth of serviceable market for service providers that include CUBE as part of their SIP trunk managed or hosted services.

Cisco Unified Border Element performs the following functions between the enterprise and service provider networks:

  • Session control: The capability to offer flexible trunk routing, Call Admission Control (quality of service [QoS]), and resiliency and call accounting for the SIP sessions processed by the SBC
  • Interworking: The capability to interconnect different signaling methods and media encoding variants for both voice and video sessions
  • Demarcation: The capability to act as a distinct demarcation point between two networks for address and port translation and to facilitate troubleshooting
  • Security: The capability to intelligently allow or disallow real-time traffic between networks, and to encrypt the real-time traffic as appropriate for the application

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