The VoIP Peering Puzzle�Part 50: SBC Architectures�Reef Point

Reef Point Systems, Inc., headquartered in Billerica, Massachusetts, is a provider of fixed/mobile convergence (F/MC) solutions that connect devices to the network, and networks to networks, assuring that high quality voice, data, video and multimedia sessions flow efficiently, securely and reliably. Reef Point serves both wireless and wireline operators, and partners with leading OEMs, systems integrators and technology providers to ensure interoperability and integration with traditional and next-generation services and platforms—ensuring operators can securely navigate the evolving mobile access edge today and remain competitive into the future.

Reef Point has operations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia, and represented worldwide by OEM/distribution partners. The company is backed by a syndicate that includes One Equity Partners LLC, the private equity investment arm of JPMorgan Chase & Co., American Capital Strategies, Ltd., and Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

Reef Point has developed what they call the Fixed-Mobile Convergence (FMC) Border Architecture, which they claim is the industry’s first comprehensive reference architecture to enable service providers to deliver secure and quality-assured multimedia services over the full range of IP networks.

This architecture includes three key elements.

  • First is a standards-compliant specificationof security, Quality of Service (QoS) and mobility functions that are required for all F/MC networks, which encompasses user authorization, secure access, firewall, network address translation, denial of service attack prevention, and traffic shaping functions.
  • Second is a policy-based definition of session functions that allow service providers to plan their border management rules, such as network policies, user policies, application policies, and so on.
  • Third is an implementation model, with network deployment topologies and a roadmap to aid with the evolution to a single, all-IP core network.

Reef Point’s flagship product is called the Universal Convergence Gateway™ platform, which lets operators deliver secure mobile services over a single, scalable platform, interoperating with fixed-line and mobile network technologies, and network operating systems. This platform is available in two versions, the UCG4500, an eight-slot backplane design (4 system module slots and 4 I/O module slots); and the larger UCG8500, a 16-slot backplane design (8 system module slots and 8 I/O module slots). The two products share a number of common components, including control processing, forwarding and scheduling, switching fabric, Fast and Gigabit Ethernet, and application services modules.

To better understand how the session border controller function fits into the Reef Point product line, we need to peek under the hood and look at the three categories of solutions that this Universal Convergence Gateway provides to Tier-1 operators.

The first offering is called the IP Base Station Gateway Solution. On the access side, this application secures and grooms traffic from femto cells, pico cells, dual-mode unlicensed mobile access (UMA) handsets, and dual-mode SIP-compatible phones. On the core side the system can send traffic to generic IP networks, the Internet, IMS networks, or Softswitch/media-gateways. The gateway controls traffic coming from IP base stations to the core network, regardless of access or core technology choices.

The second offering is called the Wireless Gateway Solution. This offering allows operators to deploy any combination of broadband wireless, including Wi-Fi and WiMAX, over a single gateway platform.

The third offering is the Integrated Border Gateway, or IBG. This solution is the superset of all of the Reef Point offerings, and can be applied where session management is needed. The IBG is presently undergoing fifteen different trials with Tier-1 operators worldwide, and is being developed in two stages. The first stage includes the Proxy Call Session Control Function (P-CSCF), security functions, Quality of Service (QoS), and access router functions (virtual router, virtual NAT, etc.) which are part of the ongoing trials. The second stage is integration of session management, and is currently under development.

The IBG seamlessly integrates several key border control functions into a common platform. The Session Border Controller provides real-time session management functions for VoIP access and interconnect, presence, and messaging applications. It also controls and manages service policies for the applications it supports. The SBC function is a back-to-back user agent (B2BUA) software component that provides the basis for SIP session management, supporting VoIP, peer-to-peer video, and instant messaging service interaction. The Call Session Control Function (CSCF) authenticates, authorizes, controls and manages user access to IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) applications and services. The CSCF also controls and manages subscriber access policies. Finally, the Universal Convergence Gateway function prevents IP-based intrusions and attacks against the network, network elements, and network services for both signaling and media components of multimedia applications.

Further details on the Reef Point architecture and products can be found at Our next tutorial will continue our examination of vendors’ SBC architectures.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2007 DigiNet Corporation ®, All Rights Reserved

Author’s Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E., is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

Latest Articles

Follow Us On Social Media

Explore More