Who is Ingate Systems Anyway?

They're a Swedish company and Dialogic partner that manufactures session border controllers (SBCs), with a few interesting options for procurement and pricing.

Since I'm half-Swedish (that would be the Peterson side of my family tree; which is another column for a totally different blog), I wanted to see what the Swedes were doing these days with SIP and session border controllers. That led me to Ingate Systems AB which seems to be an interesting "little" company.

With just 25 employees in Sundbyberg, Sweden and Hollis, New Hampshire, Ingate has been developing SIP-capable firewall products for over 14 years and enterprise session border controller technologies since 2001. They also have a relatively new partnership with Dialogic in which Dialogic will embed Ingate's SIParator E-SBC software module into their enterprise border element technologies, the BorderNet 500. A big partnership for a not-so-big company.

What about their Session Border Controllers?
Focused on developing products for the enterprise market and smaller service providers, Ingate’s eSBC product portfolio consists of five hardware models with the following capacity limits (mileage may vary depending on codec:

The three mid-range SIParator models (51, 56 and 66) are built on the same hardware platform which allows companies to upgrade from one model to another by simply buying a software upgrade license. Depending on the upgrade level (e.g., moving from SIParator 51 to 66), the list upgrade software license costs range from about $1800 to under $4500 (costs herein are list $US and not Swedish Krona). Software upgrades are also provided on a subscription basis which is prepaid for Year One, and priced at about 11% of the basic unit price for maintenance in Year 2 and beyond.

Ingate's cost model is simple. There are the base cost components for SIParator models which include the hardware and core software. This core software (and user interface) is common across all models, so no need to figure out a new licensing model as you go "up the stack". To give you some idea of list cost, SIParator hardware + core software will run from approximately $900 to $17,000. Each model comes bundled with five sessions or capacity licenses except for the SIParator 95 and 96 models, which come equipped with 25 active licenses on Day 1.

The other elements of Ingate's software licensing model fall in to two categories:

* Capacity Licenses
* Optional Licenses

Capacity/transversal licenses are available in 5-session increments. Software license cost per session range from $20-$60 depending on the quantity purchased. Companies may also purchase "unlimited" session licenses for the high-end SIParator 66, 95, and 96 models with a one-time software RTU fee.

Optional Functionality
Ingate also offers optional functions that have a separate license fee (at this time I'm unable to disclose these costs so you’ll need to reach out to Ingate for pricing information on these optional features) which include:

In addition, Ingate recently announced that Intrusion Detection System/Intrusion Prevention System (IDS/IPS) solutions for SIP are now bundled as a free software module on Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator products. Firewalls and SIParators already in use can be upgraded for free.

Failover--A Different Way of Doing It
Ingate has a unique approach when architecting for failover/redundancy/ High Availability (HA). The company's assumption is that the customer will never have more than one system active at one time and as such, the capacity or feature licenses on the second SIParator are provided at no additional cost. While some might consider this approach naive, I think it's both appropriate and clever.

The customer just needs to purchase the basic hardware and core software of the redundant SIParator. For planning purposes, the incremental cost of a failover unit is typically 20-25% onto the single unit investment.

Wrap up
While this column wasn't an exhaustive piece on Ingate, my hope is it may whet your appetite sufficiently to explore them or their Dialogic equivalent further. And I'm not just talking about technology. Any product is much more than features/functions; it is also about pre- and post-implementation support services and account management.

Lastly, when making critical infrastructure decisions, due diligence typically means some type of competitively bid process (even between business partners of the same manufacturer); if nothing else to keep the incumbent vendor honest. Besides, a little competition is good for companies like Cisco and Acme Packet and the consumer.

For more on Ingate products and the Dialogic-Ingate agreement, check out the following links:

* http://www.ingate.com/Products.php

* http://www.dialogic.com/press/press_releases/pr_2010_1_20_dialogic_incorporates_ingate_SIP_trunking_technology.htm

* http://sip-trunking.tmcnet.com/topics/sip-trunking/articles/73108-dialogic-leverage-ingate-sip-trunking-any-any-pbx.htm

* http://www.ingate.com/2010-09-30%20Ingate%20Unveils%20SIParator%2096%20and%20Firewall%202960%20.php

* http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39497377

Up next, Avaya's Agile Communications Environment (ACE) and then more on SBCs.

Until then, all the best.