Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) technology and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) deliver telephone services and Unified Communications via the Internet. SIP trunks, which bypass traditional telephone lines to route traffic via IP networks, holds a number of benefits, including reduced cost and greater communications flexibility. For successful implementation of SIP trunking, several issues should be taken into consideration during the deployment process.
Consider the company’s current and future bandwidth needs. Often, voice is the primary consideration, but video and data content are increasingly important and should be part of any SIP implementation plan. Voice, video, and data communications traversing any network require a certain amount of bandwidth.
If bandwidth is insufficient to handle these transmissions, latency, jitter, delays, and slower speeds can result. Bandwidth can be scaled to match corporate needs via the purchase of units of bandwidth called current call paths. An additional benefit of SIP trunking is that SIP allows sharing of call paths among all sites within an enterprise.
Determine if the network solution provides SIP from end to end. Deploying SIP at the endpoints does not guarantee that voice and data will traverse the network seamlessly. Some network providers cobble together networks that may or may not be SIP-enabled. The connections between SIP and non-SIP networks creates virtual potholes that can slow voice and data transfer, and even disconnect calls entirely.
Connecting a SIP trunking system to a non-native network can create implementation headaches and cause problems related to troubleshooting and support. In addition, interfacing with a non-native network may require unexpected investments in equipment that can increase costs. A native SIP network, which is designed to provide SIP from end to end, will maximize the benefits from SIP deployments at network endpoints.
Focus on Features
Sending calls via the IP network creates its own set of challenges. However, features are available to mitigate those challenges. One well-publicized drawback of VoIP is the lack of information provided to 911 compared to wireline calls. In an emergency, available E-911 features of SIP, either static or non-geographic, allow employees to be located. Non-geographic emergency call services protect mobile employees by forwarding updated location information to first responders. Other useful features include unified communications applications, Primary Rate Interface handoffs, non-geographic phone numbers, area code matching, call path sharing, and redundancy.
A successful SIP deployment will require cooperation among telephony and data departments, as well as collaboration with an experienced service provider. A one-size-fits-all approach is sure to fail in an environment where every company’s needs are different.
Collaboration also extends to educating end-users in order to help organizations reap the full value of SIP trunking investment. A SIP trunk deployment may add new and unfamiliar equipment and employees will need education and time to grow accustomed to new features and functions enabled by SIP.
Like any technology deployment, companies desire the most value for their investment and technology advances hold great promise for increased business efficiency. There will always be challenges during technology deployments such as SIP. However, carefully considering potential pitfalls, and developing a plan to avoid them beforehand, will maximize the success of SIP trunk deployment.