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B2BUA

B2BUA

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Published by Paul Glen
Back to Back User Agents for Telecommunications
By Danny Loeb, RADVISION Product Manager

Abstract

SIP Back-to-Back User Agent (B2BUA) Servers are one of the most important and powerful types of SIP Servers used to develop and offer value added features. B2BUA servers are gaining more focus as they become ubiquitous throughout the industry, and are becoming the primary engine for more and more SIP Servers in NGN and IMS networks.
This white paper provides managers in the VoIP and real-time multimedia industry an overall understanding of B2BUA servers. Better understanding of B2BUA servers can help managers understand the value, and the tradeoffs, of choosing a B2BUA server as the framework for developing a wide range of SIP applications and SIP services.

This WP provides managers in the VoIP and real-time multimedia industry an overall understanding of B2BUA servers, the value & tradeoffs of choosing a B2BUA server framework for developing SIP applications/SIP services.

Click here [http://www.radvision.com/Resources/WhitePapers/b2bua.htm] for more extensive information on B2BUA Servers.
Back to Back User Agents for Telecommunications
By Danny Loeb, RADVISION Product Manager

Abstract

SIP Back-to-Back User Agent (B2BUA) Servers are one of the most important and powerful types of SIP Servers used to develop and offer value added features. B2BUA servers are gaining more focus as they become ubiquitous throughout the industry, and are becoming the primary engine for more and more SIP Servers in NGN and IMS networks.
This white paper provides managers in the VoIP and real-time multimedia industry an overall understanding of B2BUA servers. Better understanding of B2BUA servers can help managers understand the value, and the tradeoffs, of choosing a B2BUA server as the framework for developing a wide range of SIP applications and SIP services.

This WP provides managers in the VoIP and real-time multimedia industry an overall understanding of B2BUA servers, the value & tradeoffs of choosing a B2BUA server framework for developing SIP applications/SIP services.

Click here [http://www.radvision.com/Resources/WhitePapers/b2bua.htm] for more extensive information on B2BUA Servers.

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Published by: Paul Glen on Nov 27, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/20/2012

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Back to Back User Agents for Telecommunications
ByDanny Loeb, RADVISION [http://www.radvision.com] Product Manager Today’s telecommunications networks are a delicate blend of clients and servers thattogether offer virtually endless possibilities when it comes to services and applications.For every new client developed, there seems to be a score more on the way — frommobile handsets, PDAs, terminals, telephones, video phones, IP set-top-boxes, and so on. There are essentially two types of servers that connect between clients on large networks:Proxy servers and Back-to-Back User Agent (B2BUA) servers. The more prevalent Proxyservers feature predictable behavior — simply connecting between clients. Effectively,B2BUA servers are much stronger and intelligent entities that perform actions whichProxy servers cannot. Moreover, B2BUA servers provide a flexible solution for a widerange of applications and services and are becoming the primary engine for more andmore SIP servers in NGN and IMS networks. The difference between Proxy servers and B2BUA servers is sometimes not fullyunderstood. In this article, we will explore what makes B2BUA servers such an appealingalternative to standard Proxy servers. Better understanding of B2BUA servers can helpmanagers understand the value, and the tradeoffs, of choosing a B2BUA server, as well asthe frameworks needed to develop a wide range of SIP applications and SIP servicesusing it. 
Figure 1 - Architectural difference between Proxy servers and B2BUA servers
 
B2BUA Server Defined
B2BUA servers are used to provide value added features for point-to-point calls andmanage multi-point calls. The power behind a B2BUA server is derived mostly from thefact that it has a very generic definition, which gives it almost unlimited power. However,this same characteristic is the root of the controversy surrounding it.IETF standard (RFC 3261) defines a back-to-back user agent as “a logical entity thatreceives a request and processes it as a user agent server (UAS). In order to determinehow the request should be answered, it acts as a user agent client (UAC) and generatesrequests. Unlike a Proxy server, it maintains a dialogue state and must participate in allrequests sent on the dialogues it has established.” 
 
B2BUA servers have capabilities that far exceed those of other types of SIP servers, andanswer the need for developing sophisticated value added SIP applications that cannot beimplemented as Proxy applications.Some of these capabilities, which are unique to B2BUA servers, are outlined below: 
3rd Party Call Control (3PCC) Features
3rd Party Call Control (3PCC) is the ability of an entity (usually a controller) to set upand manage communication between two or more parties. 3PCC is often used for operator services and conferencing.3PCC actions are important capabilities, exclusive to B2BUA servers since “passive” noncall-stateful elements, such as Proxy servers, cannot initiate these types of activities.Some examples of 3PCC services are online billing, QoS, resource prioritization, calltransfer, click-to-dial, mid-call announcement and more.3PCC actions can be initiated automatically by B2BUA server applications, likedisconnecting a call following credit expiration in an online-billing system. Or they can be initiated by remote administrative control (OSS), e.g. invite parties to a multi-pointconferencing session. 
Figure 2 - Schematic outline of B2BUA server offering 3PCC functionality
 
 Inter-working Function (IWF) for Interoperability
SIP was designed as a highly flexible and extendible protocol. The very strength of thisflexibility is also an inherent weakness, since the vast array of client types in the marketstill need to connect.B2BUA Inter-working Functions (IWF) defines a wide range of powerful SIP servers thatconnect SIP clients that “speak” in different protocol dialects, or support differentcapabilities. This Inter-working function is very important in enabling connectivity between clients with different capabilities and/or protocol dialects. Or even betweenclients and networks – where the B2BUA server actually acts as an access device. Examples of what IWF can do include:
 
 
Connecting SIP clients to IMS networks by adding and removing IMS SIP protocol extensions (AKA P-Headers) that are essential for connecting to the IMSnetwork 
Connecting clients with different Session Timers settings
Connecting clients with different media capabilities and with distinct SessionDescription Protocol (SDP) messages by relaying between the two types of control sessions
Connecting to different types of networks (e.g. IPv4, IPv6) and support for different transport types, such as TCP/UDP/SCTP/TLS
Figure 3 - Schematic outline of a B2BUA Inter-Working Function
 
 Multi-point Call Management 
B2BUA servers an also implement multi-point call scenarios where multiple CPE devicesconnect to the B2BUA, and the B2BUA provides services to all CPE. Due to these unique capabilities, B2BUA servers are widely used in the communicationsindustry. A few examples are listed below: 
Online-billing/prepaid functions
Servers supporting Resource Prioritization (RP) and/or Quality of Service (QoS)features
Multi Point Conferencing servers
IVR servers
PBX Applications and Softswitches
Application Layer Gateways (ALG)
FW/NAT Traversal applications
Privacy servers
3rd-Party Call Control Applications (3PCC)
Service Creation Environment (SCE) runtime engines
Session Boarder Controller (SBC)
IMS S-CSCF, P-CSCF, I-CSCF

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