Industry First: Sonus and Subsentio Take Lawful Intercept “Virtual” and “to the Cloud” FAQ


Q: How exactly are Sonus and Subsentio taking lawful intercept “virtual” and why is that a “first”?

A: Subsentio, the CALEA Compliance Company, has successfully tested its Virtual Safe Harbor Intercept Mediator (SHIM) with Sonus’ Session Border Controller Software Edition (SWe). According to Sonus, the SWe is the first 100 percent software-based or virtual SBC. Subsentio’s Virtual Safe Harbor Intercept Mediator (SHIM) is the first virtual CALEA Compliance solution tested and approved with Sonus’ landmark virtual SBC for communications service providers (CSPs).

Q: How exactly does this solution take Lawful Intercept “to the cloud”?

A: The Sonus/Subsentio lawful intercept solution is available on Amazon Web Services, and also works on VMware ESXi hypervisor, and on KVM hypervisor.

Q: What is the significance of this event?

A: Sonus customers now have a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective virtual alternative to conventional physical appliances – both for networking needs and to meet lawful surveillance requirements in the U.S. and internationally. And again, this is a true “first” on both counts.

Q: So this integration of the Subsentio Virtual SHIM and Sonus SWe solution is not confined to the U.S.?

A: Correct. The Sonus SWe/Subsentio Virtual SHIM solution is international in scope, part of Subsentio’s initiative to provide a virtual, global model of lawful intercept.

Q: What is the broader impact of what Subsentio and Sonus have achieved with this integration?

A: By creating the first solution that merges the power of virtual networking and virtual lawful surveillance – and works anywhere a network service provider operates, whether here or abroad – Sonus and Subsentio have paved the way for broader adoption of virtual solutions both in the U.S. and internationally.



Q: What is the benefit to customers of the Sonus/Subsentio joint initiative on virtualization?

A: For national security and public safety reasons, communications service providers are required to ensure that their networks are technically capable to support the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) and other surveillance laws in the U.S., as well as similar laws in other countries. Now lawful intercept capability is included in a single unit, streamlining the Sonus virtual solution and ensuring the customer’s compliance with the law.

Q: What are the advantages of using the Subsentio Virtual SHIM?

A: The Virtual SHIM provides full technical compliance with CALEA, and with similar laws in other nations, at a significant cost advantage versus competitors’ solutions. The solution integrates with any VoIP network that uses Sonus equipment, is easy to install and operate, and can identify and intercept multiple intercepts. Like all Subsentio lawful surveillance solutions, the Virtual SHIM is part of a complete service bureau approach that includes legal review of court orders, implementation of the solution for intercepts and close liaison with law enforcement.



Q: Is there any benefit to law enforcement?

A: Indeed there is a benefit to law enforcement. Conventional appliance-based lawful surveillance solutions do not work in a virtual network environment. The Subsentio/Sonus solution is custom-designed for virtual networks that use the Sonus SWe, making it possible – for the first time – for law enforcement to track down criminals and terrorists that operate on virtual networks Of equal importance, the solution is remotely programmable, increasing the “up time” for international lawful intercepts.

Q: Why is virtualization important in the realm of lawful intercept?

A: It matters because virtual networks are on the rise, and physical network taps and probes used for lawful surveillance simply do not work in a virtual environment. Our Virtual SHIM addresses and resolves this problem by providing virtual “taps” in virtual machines such as the Sonus SWe.



Q: What exactly is a Session Border Controller, and why does virtualization matter?

A: A Session Border Controller (SBC) is a solution that sets up signaling for and controls calls or other interactive media communications such as VoIP on IP networks. In the IP world, such communications events are termed “sessions,” hence the term “Session Border Controllers.” Initially, SBCs were hardware. Sonus is the first to “virtualize” the SBC, giving customers the flexibility, efficiency and speed-to-market of operating their VoIP networks “in the cloud.”

Q: How is an SBC used for CALEA lawfully authorized electronic surveillance?

A: Since the SBCs in the network will pass all VoIP traffic, this network element is used as an intercept access point to gain access to target-specific traffic and to send the captured traffic to the Virtual SHIM.



Q: Is the Virtual SHIM Subsentio’s first joint program with Sonus?

A: Subsentio has had a long relationship with Sonus for use of our Safe Harbor Intercept Mediator (SHIM) hardware with all SBCs and media gateways made by Sonus. Today’s announcement builds on this partnering by adding the important element of virtualization.

Q: What about communications service providers that opt to use Sonus SBC appliances instead of the Sonus SWe?

A: Subsentio partners with Sonus to provide the full range lawful surveillance solutions, including both appliance-based and now software-based solutions.