Blog Post

Securing the Network's Edge

Acme Packet on Tuesday said it is testing its secure session border control product, with the goal of deploying it in Europe and America before the end of the year, highlighting the growing interest in helping carriers secure and manage the edge of their networks. It joins Stoke, NextPoint Networks (created by the merger of NexTone and ReefPoint) and Starnet Networks in providing equipment that manages and secures data when a call or data session hops from a secure network to one that isn’t.

As handsets come equipped to offload calls and data transfer from cellular networks to Wi-Fi, WiMax or femtocells plugged into a broadband connection, and as more carriers offer such services themselves, managing and securing the transitions from network to network becomes more important. At the moment it’s not a huge issue, but as European and rural carriers in other parts of the world deploy and promise to support femtocells (TMobile and Sprint are looking into it here), using jerry-rigged Cisco boxes won’t cut it.

Keith Higgins, VP of marketing at Stoke, compared the products to routers in the early days of the Internet, saying that much in the same way that routers allowed the Internet to stay nimble and resilient, these sorts of boxes will broaden the ability of a carrier to offload traffic from its network and keep sessions secure.

It’s a big vision for a nascent market, but technology startups rarely dream small. Seamus Hourihan, VP of marketing at Acme Packet, said he expects it to take off in more developed areas of the world that already have fixed and mobile networks. Oddly, Stoke seems to have had success in India, which isn’t exactly known for its massive broadband penetration, and in Japan, which is.