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Dialogic Adds All-Software Transcoding to SBC

By Doug Mohney October 22, 2013

Dialogic has incorporated native software transcoding into the latest release of its session border controller (SBC). This supports the move to virtualization on commodity servers and offers a leg up as carriers embrace Network Functions Virtualization (NFV).

BorderNet Release 3.2 fully integrates Dialogic's BorderNet Virtualized SBC and the BorderNet 4000 SBC with software transcoding. The company says BorderNet Virtualized SBC is the industry's first carrier-class software SBC with built-in transcoding that can operate in a virtualized environment on commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) servers.

Software transcoding provides carriers with numerous advantages, including the ability to fully bridge HD voice services between wireline and wireless implementations, as well as between HD voice and narrowband voice networks. It also enables any-to-any networking for voice and video application and enables efficient scalability by leveraging on-demand services via the cloud. 

By putting transcoding as an all-software process, carriers can add or subtract transcoding based upon current needs, allocate transcoding processes across a group of servers to maximize utilization while keeping customers happy with the best services, and keep capital investments into general-purpose servers rather than in single-purpose dedicated hardware. It also has the advantage of offering a seamless upgrade path over dedicated transcoding hardware; if you need more transcoding power, buy a more powerful set of servers or a group of cheaper ones that can be distributed as needed throughout the network.

Dialogics' move also comes at a propitious time with ETSI publishing its first documents for NFV, covering use cases, requirements, architectural framework, and terminology. NFV standards are in high demand since they should allow vendors and carriers to establish an open ecosystem of services that can be dropped onto stock hardware and work seamlessly together, rather than a mishmash of dedicated platforms that require fine tuning to work together.

Others have been touting the advantages of software-based transcoding for a while. Back at its Forum event a bit over a year ago, Metaswitch Networks said it expected the transcoding world to shift to COTS hardware and the cloud over dedicated hardware solutions. Its Perameta SBC includes software transcoding that can run on anything from a dedicated hardware appliance to a virtualized process on a server. 

Don't expect the hardware-based transcoding to go quietly, however. The argument among these vendors will be that dedicated transcoding hardware -- if properly built, of course -- is more power-efficient and therefore more cost-effect than processes running on gobs of COTS hardware. Vendors pushing a hardware-centric approach will have to refine their case and potentially find new applications to keep dedicated DSPs and processor boards in carrier infrastructure over the long run.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Editor

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