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Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE


Could someone please explain me the difference between Cisco SBC (Session Border Controller) and CUBE (Cisco Unified Border Element)?

Thank you very much!


Everyone's tags (2)
Cisco Employee

Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Hi there - Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) is a session border controller for enterprises.  Service providers also use session border controllers in their networks but the requirements carriers are much different than for enterprises. 

Information on CUBE can be found here:

Hope this helps,


Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Thanks for the answers pmertz!

Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Hi friend

have you ever implement SBC or CUBE? I have some question on implementation and also licensing.



Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

As Far as i can tell a Cube is a Cisco SBC, there is no diffrence both names refer the same platform

there are also other vendors like acme packet and audio codes with have SBC plaforms

In terms of Scalability currently we have  ISR G2, ISR-4K, ASR, CSR-1000V (Vcube) hardware that suporte Cube functionality, the scalling is  in terms of concurrent sessions and the hardware varies according to your needs.Cube.png

In terms of licenseing it depends on the type of hardware and the OS of it . If it is IOS there  is a  specific SKU for cube sessions (FL-CUBE), these licenses are right to use, the max capacity of sessions is still defined by the hardware .There is also specific license for redundancy

The hardware can also be ASR and V-cube witch use IOS XE  in witch the configuration is a bit  diferent. In therms of features supported:


Hope this helps




Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE


I am completely get confused between the SBC and CUBE configuration. cisco has two configuration guide ; one for SBC and one for CUBE and they are completely different, for SBC we should configure SBE and DBE and some adjacency and .....

but for CUBE we should configure Dial-peer and ....they are completely different.

we have one soft switch in our network from one side it is connected to Media-Gateway and finally is connected to PSTN, from other side it should be connected to some SBC, and finally to SIP-user.

the SBC roles are:

1-Network hiding: I mean the SIP-user don't know the ip address of Soft-switch and they send the register request to SBC, and SBC send it to Soft-switch and vise-versa.

2- Media proxy: I Mean, media between SIP-users of same city, goes through SBC not Soft-switch.

the topology is shown below:



so which configuration should i use? SBC or CUBE?


Cisco Employee

Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Hi Nareg,

In the config guides, the SBC ones refer to CUBE-SP which was the SP SBC offering from Cisco before it was EoS'ed.

CUBE ENT config guides are for the Enterprise SBC offering Cisco has. If you are looking to get demarcation between your enterprise and the ITSP, you will deploy CUBE ENT on the enterprise side. More details on CUBE ENT can be found at

At the same time, ITSP will have an SP SBC that CUBE ENT will communicate with on their side and that SP SBC was the CUBE SP offering or any other vendor's SP SBC. Since CUBE SP was EoS'ed long time back, I would suggest not to deploy it.

Hope this clarifies.




Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Does anyone have trouble distinguishing Cisco CUBE and Cisco SBC? I read the above comments and I'm still confused.

VIP Collaborator

Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Hi Brooke

They are both session border controllers so in that sense they have largely similar features/functions.

The primary difference is that of scale and place-in-the-network, CUBE is an enterprise interconnect (either applications within the enterprise, or enterprise-SP) product while the 7600/12K Cisco SBC is primarily a SP-peering product. For that reason CUBE has more enterprise-specific features and the SBC has more IMS-related features.

Architecturally they are also very different. The SBC is a decomposed product with a data portion (DBE) and a signaling portion (SBE) that communicate via H.248. The DBE and SBE can run on different platforms. CUBE is an integrated IOS feature, does not require any blades, and does not support H.248 or the separation of signaling and media control.

CUBE can do on-platform xcoding (using ISR/5400 DSPs), the SBC can not. There is an external xcoding solution for the SBC using an MGX platform with DSP capability.

CUBE has rich enterprise interconnect features, such as RADIUS-based accounting, digit manipulation/translation features, per call translation/manipulation of SIP headers, more flexible codec and xcoding support, SIP DE-EO interworking, a rich set of DTMF interworking options (22 combinations), TLS support, simpler configuration and debugging, SNMP MIB support, H.323 video support etc.

Also, because CUBE is an integrated IOS feature, it can be collocated on the same platform as various other IOS features providing unique solutions, such as TDM GW (easy SIP trunk to PSTN failover or easy migration from one to the other), VXML control (ContactCenter/CVP integration of SIP trunks), SRST, FW, integrated H.323 GK etc.

But for basic IP-to-IP calls and general session border controller features, both product categories can do that.

Excellent explanation from the Expert" Section. Worth going thru


Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

Why cant I set up a CUCM SIP Trunk 5060, 5061 / TCP directly to TEAMS and using URL dialing ? In addition, using the appropriate FW policy for security.

Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

SBC will not acts as proxy what ever the information receive from PBX it will forward the same without changing the port number or address.

But in case of CUBE it acts as proxy and it will change the port numbers and the ip address while transferring the data.


Re: Difference between Cisco SBC and CUBE

From Cisco CUBE Datasheet:


Part of the Cisco® Collaboration Edge Architecture, Cisco Unified Border Element (CUBE) version 12 is an enterprise-class Session Border Controller (SBC) solution that makes it possible to connect and interwork large, midsize, and small business unified communications networks with public and private IP communication services.

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