Testing SBCs: Why Do It?

Two key elements of infrastructure testing of contact centers and unified communication environments include the session border controller (SBC) and SIP trunking. To understand more about SIP testing, read SIP 101: Preparing for Successful Deployment. In this post, I will focus on the requirements of testing SBCs.

Read: Take a Closer Look: What is End-to-End Infrastructure Testing

Why Test SBCs?

You are upgrading your SBCs and you’re wondering, “What could possibly go wrong?” Let me name just a few problem areas that could crop up – and remember this does not cover absolutely everything that could go wrong:

  • Security (e.g., DoS, theft of services, etc.)
  • ENUM number mapping
  • Quality of experience (voice and video quality)
  • Performance under real-world network load
  • Registration storms
  • Invite and registration spoofs
  • Capacity verification

When looking at the list above, it becomes clear that testing SBCs is essential.

True Validation

To validate each of these points, determine scenarios by which you can measure the following metrics:

  • Peak volume of calls placed through infrastructure
  • Voice and video quality not impacted during attacks
  • Accurate number mapping
  • Impact of data load on voice quality
  • Proper handling of attacks and spoofs

SBC Testing: A Case Study

In one recent test Empirix was involved with, callers were complaining about long connection times and poor voice quality during a storm. The company involved conducted a test of the its SBC to better understand the origin of the issue. During the test process, the organization discovered that, while having a registration flood of 10,000 concurrent SIP registrations, SIP call setup time doubled. Moreover, jitter increased on the SBC.

At this point, the company contacted their SBC provider, who informed them that their issue would go away if they upgraded to the latest firmware. They did – issue gone!

With end-to-end infrastructure testing, issues like this can be more easily understood and rectified. When seen in that light, testing seems like a no-brainer!

What issues have you uncovered when testing your communications network? Let me know in the comments below.

Read about how to Optimize Call Center Key Performance Indicators to Optimize Customer Experience.

Written by Tim Moynihan – Tim on Twitter | Posts by Tim
Tim is the VP of Marketing at Empirix, and he’s been around the technology block. Over the years, he has provided product development direction and commentary on inbound and outbound voice communications solutions. He comes from an enterprise-focused background with an emphasis on quality across the network.

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