You’ve read the hype, you’ve heard your colleagues talking and now you want to explore the possibility of VoIP for your environment. You know it can lower your rates and keep your communications streamlined, but have you educated yourself about the risks? Business VoIP providers make sure you have all the marketing information – but it’s still a good idea to do your homework.
Chris Partsenidis examined this topic in a recent TechTarget piece on how to migrate to VoIP whether you’re replacing your whole telephony infrastructure or simply interfacing with a PBX (News - Alert) system offered by business VoIP providers that support SIP trunking. One key point to remember – the SIP provider must be able to provide consistent and stable service without interruptions. At the same time, the provider should own the physical delivery medium to guarantee quality of service (QoS).
To ensure this level of service is in place, it’s recommended that you test a number requested from the SIP provider and make some calls. This allows you to evaluate the service, line stability and voice quality. If you’re satisfied with the results, you can then rely on this provider and transfer all of your company numbers. Keep in mind this can take some time and you could lose incoming calls in the process. The best approach is to take care of this process in the off-hours.
If SIP trunking is not supported by business VoIP providers, a voice gateway may be needed to connect to their SIP provider. This voice gateway is placed between the SIP provider and the PBX. In doing so, it’s critical that the voice gateway supports an equal amount of concurrent calls on both legs. The voice gateway generally involves a T1/E1 interface, providing a capacity of 24/32 concurrent calls. If this isn’t enough to handle your call capacity, multiple lines must be installed.
Likewise, you have to check for redundancy. SIP trunks with large session counts must be redundant. If a SIP session count exceeds 500, or the equivalent of a T3 connection at 672 channels, you’ll need separate SIP trunk entry points into your network. The best approach is to have these points at different geographical locations so if one goes down, the SIP provider can temporarily route calls accordingly.
As you can see, there are quite a few details to get right in the migration of your phone systems when working with business VoIP providers. The important point is you need to do your homework so you understand your needs, limitations and requirements before checking out the offerings. If you take this approach, you’ll be much better suited to make a smart choice in partners.