Heavy Reading

The Rise of the Session-Aware Media Gateway: A Competitive Analysis

Nearly a decade after it was originally designed as a temporary network appliance to enable network transformation at a transport level, the media gateway remains a vital component in today's networks. However, the long-term future of the media gateway is uncertain: One faction of vendors is predicting that the media gateway will become irrelevant in the all-IP world of the future, while another group views the SIP-empowered media gateway as capable of making the cerebral transformation to support session-aware capabilities making it a true IP network device in its own right.

While this battle has yet to play out completely in the marketplace, early indications point to the latter approach gaining momentum, as new functions, such as session border control, are increasingly integrated into media gateways.

The Rise of the Session-Aware Media Gateway: A Competitive delivers a complete review and analysis of the media gateway market, focusing on the technology and feature developments that will drive the media gateway sector in the months and years ahead.


The report provides a complete competitive assessment of the media gateway access and trunk portfolio strategies of 17 technology suppliers, including each vendor's market focus and commitment to the delivery of session-aware products.

For the full list of technology suppliers profiled and evaluated in this report, click here.

To capture the debate surrounding this issue, the report provides case studies from SBC vendor Acme Packet and network operator Neutral Tandem. Finally, the report includes four appendices that deliver more than 2,000 specific data points for 45 media gateway products across dozens of performance categories providing an invaluable tool to perform side-by-side comparisons of media gateways.

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Report Scope and Structure

The Rise of the Session-Aware Media Gateway: A Competitive Analysis is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II defines the functional components of both access and trunk media gateways, examining the role of access local loop media gateways and variants supported, including central office (CO)-based access media gateways and remote access-based media gateways. Also captured in this section are roles and configurations supported by trunk media gateways, including the potential impact of new emerging technologies such as femtocells.

Section III provides an overview of voice-quality techniques, summarizing codec implementations and approaches to mitigate the impact of echo and other voice impairments.

Section IV explores the techniques designed to minimize the end-user impacts of packet loss and to support quality-of-service (QOS) applications.

Section V summarizes the control signaling and the various transport protocols utilized by media gateways.

Section VI addresses the encryption and other security techniques that media gateways can implement to secure bearer path and internal signaling.

Section VII considers the various levels of interoperability and industry compliance that media gateways need to support in order to be considered an open implementation.

Section VIII weighs in on the controversy surrounding the inclusion of new capabilities such as SBC into trunk media gateways and summarizes vendors' stances. This section also includes briefing input into the viability and relative merits of this approach from SBC vendor Acme Packet and network operator Neutral Tandem.

Section IX profiles 17 media gateway vendors, assessing their various strategies, product differentiators, and customer references.

Section X concludes the report with a vendor-specific competitive summary for both access and trunk products.

Appendix A provides in-depth, specification-level metrics of CO-based access gateways.

Appendix B provides in-depth, specification-level metrics of remote-access BLC/DLC gateways.

Appendix C provides in-depth, specification-level metrics of wireline, wireless, and cable trunk gateways.

Appendix D examines the provenance of media gateways, capturing rebranding, acquisition, and OEM activity.

The Rise of the Session-Aware Media Gateway: A Competitive Analysis is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

Technology suppliers: What technologies and features are driving demand changes for media gateways? How are changes in media gateways likely to affect deployments by network operators? Are your products and marketing strategies in line with network operator plans and expectations? How do your products match up to the competition? Are there significant gaps in your product line coverage that need to be addressed to meet future demand for session-aware media gateways?
Network operators: How do your deployment plans for media gateway technology match up to product technology trends? How do the product lines of different media gateway suppliers track to your organization's needs? What are the real costs and opportunities involved with deployment of session-aware media gateways?
Investors: Which technologies are emerging as the winning solutions for session-aware media gateways, and which companies are the leading providers of those solutions? How will the media gateway market evolve over the next two to three years, and which companies are most likely to emerge as the market leaders?

The Rise of the Session-Aware Media Gateway: A Competitive Analysis is published in PDF format.

PRICE: $3,995
Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading
Jim Hodges has worked in telecom for more than 20 years, with experience in both marketing and technology roles. His primary areas of research coverage at Heavy Reading include softswitch, IMS, and application server architectures...
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120 pages of analysis covering the technology changes that are affecting the media gateway sector
Detailed profiles and strategy analyses for suppliers of session-aware media gateways
Extensive comparative product and performance data for detailed product-by-product analysis and comparisons
PRICE: $3,995
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