Sonus, a company focused on real-time communications, is now making the leap into software-defined networking (SDN). Its acquisition of Treq Labs earlier this year opened the door to an expanded SDN strategy, pushing Sonus to develop a diverse portfolio that benefits service providers and enterprises around the world. Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with SDxCentral to discuss the trajectory of the company and its SDN ambitions.
SDxCentral: Can you provide a brief background on Sonus for the readers who might not be familiar with you?
Riley: Sonus was born from a prediction that networking was soon to be revolutionized by voice over IP (VoIP). Since 1997 when it was founded, Sonus has been providing service providers and enterprises with products and solutions for networking and communication optimization. Now with deployments in over 100 countries and almost 20 years of experience, Sonus offers a complete portfolio of hardware-based and virtualized Session Border Controllers (SBCs), Diameter Signaling Controllers (DSCs), network-as-a-service (NaaS) and software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) capabilities, policy/routing servers, and media and signaling gateways.
Given Sonus’ background in real-time communications, what prompted the move into SDN?
Riley: Traditionally, network operators have handled increased congestion with over-provisioning. As rapid increases in network bandwidth are being driven by video and UC traffic, this scaling model is no longer economically feasible. CIOs are looking to application-aware and dynamic network policy for ease of provisioning and real-time performance and analytics. Sonus recognized the need for a solution to deliver predictable behavior in an environment of congestion via an intelligent network control coupled with application-aware policies driven by business rules.
In February 2015, the acquisition of technology assets from Treq Labs accelerated the delivery of our SDN strategy. The industry’s transition to SDN is a strategic element in the selection criteria of both enterprise and service provider customers as they evaluate their future network architectures. Treq’s technology — which we relaunched as Sonus NaaS IQ — was already validated in some of the world’s most demanding networks, including State Street, a leading global provider of financial services to institutional investors, and Telstra International (formerly known as Pacnet, an Asian telecommunications and services provider). With the addition of NaaS IQ to the Sonus portfolio, we have created a solution that enables CIOs to enable application driven, automated network control and while reducing network operational costs.
How does the recent acquisition of NaaS IQ product line round out the Sonus product line?
Riley: Sonus has pioneered some of the industry’s most disruptive migrations to new technologies throughout its history. With the movement to VoIP, Sonus responded with an impressive portfolio of both hardware and software SBCs, suitable in both virtualized or cloud environments.
As increased use of the WAN and the revolution of SDN is redefining the traditional Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network, Sonus is again among those advancing the technology to capitalize on this migration. Sonus is proving its versatility with solutions not only for real-time communications as a mission-critical application, but its ability to evolve networks to become more dynamic using the SD-WAN capabilities of NaaS IQ. The combination of Sonus’ SBC and policy capabilities with NaaS IQ SDN intelligence delivers unparalleled, real-time application layer network performance and analytics. Sonus is creating a new architecture for service delivery that marries the real-time session control layer with the SDN-enabled network layer.
Can you provide specific customer examples that highlight the benefits of your SDN offerings?
Riley: Sonus’ NaaS IQ is being deployed by service providers and enterprises around the world, and the benefits have been game-changing for these customers. Let’s look at two examples: State Street Bank and Telstra International (which acquired Pacnet).
State Street Bank was able to reduce the 36-month total cost of ownership (TCO) from $7.13 million to $1.51 million, nearly an 80 percent cost reduction. Telstra was able to increase network utilization from 25 percent to 90 percent following the deployment of NaaS IQ and reduce time-to-revenue for service from 18-20 days to minutes. Intelligent policy and deterministic network control provided by NaaS IQ has allowed these customers to significantly increase network utilization. Additionally the software control and automation afforded by NaaS IQ has allowed operators to offer new business models where network services and provisioning can now be performed directly by the end customer.
What’s your vision of how the enterprise network will evolve and where do you see Sonus’ unique fit in this evolution?
Riley: Looking into the future, networking is moving toward virtualized and automated solutions that allow for dynamic capabilities and ease of provisioning. Early adoptions of UC have featured on-premise solutions, however, with the movement to the cloud, increasingly dynamic networks are allowing for workloads to be moved to off-premise data centers. Eventually, cloud-delivered WAN will host traffic, an advancement that calls for software defining solutions like NaaS IQ. Sonus’ uniqueness in this space is our vertical solution integrating the SBC technology at the application layer with the capabilities provided by NaaS IQ at the network layer, together creating the Sonus IQ architecture. Sonus will become the service delivery platform for the cloud. Currently, Sonus IQ is the only platform on the market that connects the application layer to the network layer enabling automated orchestration and real-time configuration based on policy.
Are there resources that are available for readers to learn more about your solutions?
Riley: There are countless resources available to the reader to learn more about the Sonus portfolio. Case studies, data sheets, published research, white papers, videos, blogged insights and more can be found on our website. The NaaS IQ page features many of these resources and can be found at by clicking here.