SIP Trunking, Unpacked: How to Make the Most of Your SIP Implementation
By Mike Hanks, Director, Enterprise Cloud Services
Has your organization implemented SIP trunking yet?
Given the fact that some 80 percent of large enterprises in North America are now using SIP trunking, chances are, the answer is yes. While there are compelling reasons to implement SIP trunking, there is another step that needs to be considered following implementation, and that is, to work with a Managed Services provider that has the bandwidth to “manage” both the equipment and the relationships that are in place.
Let’s look at the benefits of SIP trunking. According to a Gartner study, in the United States alone, SIP trunking can help the enterprise reduce telephony expenses by up to 50 percent. SIP can also enable you to take advantage of collaboration applications, such as Cisco Collaboration or Microsoft Skype for Business.
In addition to providing greater network flexibility, SIP can:
- Reduce your hardware footprint
- Increase resiliency
- Improve business continuity
While these are significant reasons to implement SIP, implementation is only the first step. It is also important to look at what happens with support after a SIP implementation.
Support is Critical
To illustrate this issue of post-implementation support, I was very intrigued by just-released results from the 2017 SIP Survey conducted by The SIP School—which does an excellent job training and providing SIP solutions certifications.
One of the more intriguing findings of this survey centers on the perception of where to place the blame when problems with SIP trunks arise. Some 37 percent of survey respondents reported that they placed the blame for primary SIP problems squarely on the proverbial shoulders of the Service Provider, while—perhaps not surprisingly—the Service Providers that participated in the survey reported that they were responsible for just 7.5 percent of the primary SIP issues. Eighty-six percent of Service Providers blamed customer’s Edge or PBX configuration for primary SIP problems, while customers in the survey said they are responsible only 34 percent of the time for the Edge or PBX configuration.
Who is Responsible?
To answer the question of ultimate responsibility, I’m reminded of a popular saying: “When you point a finger, three fingers are pointing back at you.”
Finger-pointing is a dangerous game because it leads to mistrust and causes relationships to break down. The blame game also does not fix or prevent problems that causes the enterprise to lose money.
The Role of the Managed Service Provider
What’s needed, then, is accountability. Service providers need to be accountable to their customers, and customers also need to be accountable. As a Managed Service Provider, Continuant helps bring accountability and trust into the mix, helping our customers not only by managing network equipment, but also by managing the existing relationships that are in place.
Our Global Service Desk is a single point of contact for many services, including SIP trunking issues. Customers contact the Global Service Desk, and Continuant’s Carrier Services Management takes it from there.
During my time as a Senior Named Account Manager, I saw first-hand how valuable this service is to our customers. Our team troubleshoots both sides of the SIP trunking solution; and if we find the problem is with the service provider, we open the ticket and manage it to resolution, often staying on troubleshooting conference bridges through nights and weekends so our customers don’t have to. This service we provide creates peace of mind for our customers, allowing them to focus on their core business.
How We Help
Another challenge in SIP deployments is that no one may be monitoring the SIP solution or the WAN. In the 2017 SIP Survey, when asked if they continually monitor the WAN to ensure great quality of service, respondents said only half are doing so. An astonishing 26 percent said they weren’t sure if anyone was monitoring the WAN.
If no one is monitoring, or if your monitoring tool doesn’t work well, you will have a very disappointing SIP deployment. So much for the 50 percent savings.
Continuant takes a very different approach.
Using industry-leading tools, our Network Operations Center maintains a vigilant eye on our customers’ SIP deployments. Our Managed SIP solution provides:
- Real-time call quality measurements on both the Public and Private side of the SBC to isolate problems as internal or external;
- Proactive monitoring of the health, performance and capacity of the SBC infrastructure;
- Tracking and monitoring of SIP errors on both the Public and Private side of the SBC; and,
- Trend analysis on SIP signaling responsiveness for excessive delays in call setup and/or teardown.
This level of monitoring provides clarity into our customers’ SIP deployment. We then take this information and improve performance by adjusting the configuration of firewalls, SBCs, PBXs or other devices. The monitoring information also leads to faster resolution times because we know where the problem lies.
Continuant has the tools, knowledge and experience to manage SIP solutions, and the character to be accountable and earn trust. This leads to quick resolution, long-lasting relationships, and the ability to take advantage of the benefits that SIP offers.