The future is 'Federnet'?

Federnet, individual IP networks which are connected through session border controllers, will be the next-generation communications network, says industry player.

SINGAPORE--The future interactive communications network will be called the 'Federnet', or more specifically, individual IP (Internet Protocol) networks connected through session border controllers (SBCs), according to an official speaking at CommunicAsia Thursday.

Sumant Sharma is the Asia-Pacific managing director of Acme Packet, a communications equipment maker which lays claim to establishing the SBC market space five years ago.

"The Federnet is going to be secured, where IP networks connect to one through SBCs," Sharma said, during a conference track at the communications show. "We're doing that now, it's actually happening."

SBCs are increasingly being used by service providers to converge diverse voice-over-IP (VoIP) applications, by letting the H.323 teleconferencing protocol and session initiation protocol (SIP) traffic endpoints interoperate.

Simply put, an SBC allows service providers to manage security and quality of service (QoS) at each border, or edge, of individual IP network that connects to one another. These include a service provider network connecting to another provider's network, or to a network that deliver services to residential customer.

Andy Forbes, vice president of business development, Netrake, explained: "Security is required between the endpoints, not networks, as it is the endpoint that is un-trusted. Session border controllers provide the functionality needed to seamlessly converge IP networks across the edge." Forbes was speaking at the same conference track.

Sharma claims that 19 of the world's top 25 service providers by revenue have already rolled out services with SBCs. Other SBC players include NetTone and Netrake. Acme Packet's customers in the Asia-Pacific include Fusion Communications and NTT Communications, China Unicom, Global Crossing and Telstra, said Sharma.

According to Infonetics Research, the SBC market was worth about US$50 million in 2004, a figure that is expected to grow to US$500 million by 2008.