WebRTC Expert Feature

May 07, 2014

Is Google Inadvertently Supporting SBCs?


For Internet purists, the goal of end-to-end is primary to their architecture models. Trapezoids are silly, since they should just be one of the look-up tables and not a controlling device in the middle. Also, DNS has proven itself to be a scalable system, so why waste your time with a session border controller when catch and release has proven successful?

As our friend Scott Bradner, who will be speaking about Net Neutrality on May 22nd says, “Cookies keep state and don’t require extra engineering.”

So then what makes a session controller one of the first adopters and success stories in what is suppose to fundamentally be an over-the-top implementation?

Strangely enough, the answer is transcoding and, in particular, Google’s inability to accept other codecs in their implementation of WebRTC. Now as you know, I have pointed out many times that among WebRTC’s many values is a tool that Google can use to push its codec implementations, so the fact that it is unaccepting of a compromise is very logical. Likewise, given the contentious nature of relationships in Silicon Valley, it is logical for the other major browsers to be leery.

Also, it is easy to understand why startups want to avoid the cost of other codecs, which is why isolating the problem is in effect one of the best aspects of session border controllers. As such, Google — the company that wants to make every website a communications platform — has forced websites to find ways to manage their relationship with traditional carriers and mobile devices in particular.   

One interesting possibility — and a truly unintended consequence — is the use of Skype In/Skype Out gateways to manage these transcoded sessions. And yet another dilemma is that these systems remain closed. And if this continues, we will see the fractured communications path giving more rationale for controllers to be in the mix of federation and public good requirements.

In the end, we may very well see Google’s baby grow up to be unloved and unwanted back at the Googleplex. After all, we know this has happened there before, and there is little if any doubt it will happen again.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey




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