May 07, 2013
SIP Trunking, Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
By Joel Maloff
Vice President, Channel Development, phone.com
As most of us are now aware, SIP trunking is a great technology for reducing costs associated with traditional landline telco circuits. Rather than paying for a PRI and only using a portion of the available channels, SIP trunking allows businesses to acquire just what is needed and pay only for the anticipated number of concurrent calls. All of this is great news for businesses but there is an underlying inherency within SIP trunking that makes it even more compelling especially in light of natural and manmade disasters. SIP trunking offers exceptional resiliency in the event of disasters and should be seriously considered as an important component in organization disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) planning.
The key characteristic that makes SIP trunking so interesting in the event of a business disruption is that there is no circuit! There is no “line” that is a single point of failure and that can be cut! SIP trunks are nothing more than configurations designed to allow for the receipt of incoming calls to specific Direct Inward Dialing (DID) telephone numbers or the placement of outbound calls to desired destinations. Properly configured SIP trunks will have predetermined call queuing rules already established. For example, a call to 212-555-1212 will terminate at a specified location or in an auto attendant within a company or Internet Telephony (News - Alert) Service Provider (ITSP) environment. The incoming caller can select the desired option from the auto attendant or the call is answered by the designated person.
What happens, however, if the Internet bandwidth serving that location is disrupted? No problem. The calls are simply handled based on those predetermined rules. If the main number is not answered, forward to 312-555-1212 for the call to be taken by our Chicago office. If that is not answered, go to voicemail. The configurations can even include time of day, day of week, and so forth from some ITSPs.
The important point to recognize is that, as opposed to the past and traditional telephony, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility associated with SIP trunks. Traditional telco circuits are just that – physical wires that connect the serving central office to the customer’s physical location. When those circuits are cut, the options are quite limited.
All indications are that we are moving away from circuit switched network facilities to IP-based packet switched environments. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC (News - Alert)) has targeted 2018 as the year that IP replaces traditional circuit switched telephony. That isn’t likely to happen in 2018 - but it is going to happen. Businesses must understand that the shift to SIP trunks is not just about cost savings. Those savings can be real, but given the growing number of disruptions that can take out a traditional voice communications environment, isn’t it time to consider SIP trunks from a disaster recovery and business continuity perspective?
Edited by Stefania Viscusi