If, like many companies, you’ll be adding videoconferencing to your UC repertoire, you’ll need to consider a number of factors to ensure it operates smoothly, securely and with good quality (for example, video interoperability, network policy issues, bandwidth, upgrading to 803.11AC, etc.). The good news is, a quality session border controller (SBC) can address many of the issues around delivering a quality video experience to users on most any type of device.
As of last year, 23% of companies had deployed desktop video to more than half of their employees, up from 9% in 2012, according to the Nemertes Research Pervasive Video Collaboration Benchmark Report.
Respondents to a survey by Redshift Research for Polycom ranked video as the third-most preferred method of business communication at present, behind email and voice or conference calls. But in 3 years, the respondents expect videoconferencing to be number 1, followed by email, then voice.
Dealing with Interoperability for Videoconferencing
For that to happen, companies will need to tackle a few issues, beginning with interoperability. As video becomes more widespread, companies will have to ensure their solution can interoperate with the myriad devices and software solutions from multiple vendors, not to mention different standards and different implementations of the same standards.
You’ll need to integrate room-based systems with desktops and mobile devices. What’s more, it’s expected that the WebRTC protocol will enable videoconferencing from within a web browser and those users will likewise need to be tied in.
As mentioned in a previous post, an SBC can provide the transcoding that’s required to normalize communications in all these various scenarios, such as between different implementations of SIP or H.323.
Ensuring Security of Video Communications
The more widespread videoconferencing becomes, the more companies will be concerned about securing their video sessions. There’s the obvious need to ensure only authorized, invited users can access any given videoconference. But companies also need to take steps to protect videoconferencing sessions just as they aim to protect sensitive data, and to thwart intruders who may seek to use the videoconferencing port as an entryway to the corporate network.
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Once again, an SBC plays a fundamental role, performing functions including hiding the network topology to safeguard the internal network and protecting against denial-of-service (DOS) and distributed DOS attacks. An SBC can also be used to blacklist unauthorized end points and encrypt video transmissions, to prevent intrusions and ensure privacy.
Maintaining a High-Quality Video Experience
Finally, as with a voice call, videoconferencing requires a highly deterministic level of network performance to ensure good quality. A good multimedia-capable SBC can help in this regard, as well.
An SBC can control the amount of bandwidth any given session can grab and provide overload protection policies for video. It can also enable companies to prioritize videoconferencing traffic over other sessions to ensure they get the bandwidth they need for a high quality experience. SBCs also provide video codec reordering, which reduces session setup time and optimizes bandwidth use.
Once you see the value in implementing an SBC, you’ve then got to decide whether to rely on an SBC that resides in your service provider’s network of it’s better to have your own on premise.