[VoiceOps] SBC and routing solutions

Blair Harrison blair at fx.net.nz
Thu Jan 14 22:41:07 EST 2010

Hi Guys,

I'm wondering if the list can help me out a bit, just looking for some ideas 
really. I have been messing about with this voip stuff for years, but got 
given an actual network to manage last year, and trying to figure out the 
best way to clean it up. I really need some community input on Best-Practice 
for a few design/architectural ideas - Probably stuff you take for granted, 
but for small fry like me it's difficult to get my head around having not 
really done this stuff before :)

Currently I run a small voip network comprised of some SER boxes with custom 
modules for accounting and authentication, a couple of AS5300 gateways, and 
a SIP interconnect with our primary upstream.

I'm trying to envision what would be needed to add a little more 
functionality to this network, and potentially simplify provisioning, 
accounting and debugging.

We have no SBC in the network currently, and just pass SIP packets around, 
with media flowing either directly to/from the 5300s or to the upstream's 
SBC. This presents us with problems if we want to add another upstream, we 
need to get the customers to update their ACLs, and if we want to translate 
numbers or mess with SIP packets, SER is not really very good at that.

I've been talking with ACME about some 3800s as an SBC, but I'm not really 
sure whether they could take over the full functionality of the current 
network, and whether I'd need to get some custom management interfaces 
written to manage route tables etc on the ACME, or if the inbuilt interfaces 
are good-enough.

I guess my question comes in really the form of experience with similar 
situations - I know a lot of you out there have ACME SBCs in place, do you 
use it to authenticate sessions directly with the customers, or do you 
generally have some kind of soft switch sitting in front handling all of 
that? If so, what kind of soft switches are you running for small volumes of 
calls - I don't want to be paying $100k for something that OpenSIPS is 
probably capable of with a little custom development (or can it do 
everything off-the-shelf these days?)

Also wondering CDR wise, at what point in your network do you pull your CDRs 
and generate bills from-  the ACME will create radius start/stop records, 
but can it attach billing information to those radius records or am I going 
to have to bolt something on the end of that as well?

Wondering rate-table wise if it is best to have a central table somewhere 
which gets used for generating billing info, and if you have some kind of 
interface your customers can check current rates?

I guess just looking for people who have done this before, what have you 
found that works and what doesn't, so I can avoid it and save myself some 
time going down a dead-end road :)

Thanks for any assistance, and offlist replies are of course welcome. Sorry 
for the slightly all-over-the place questions too.

Blair Harrison

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