Why SIP and why now?

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13 September 2016 | 0

In association with BT Ireland


One of the anomalies of modern networks is that it’s been easier for large organisations to get control over their data infrastructure than their telephone services. They have been rolling out global Wide Area Networks (WAN) and centralising access to data and applications for many years, enjoying the cost-saving and efficiency benefits that come with more control.

The same IP networks have also been used to carry voice, but the old and new worlds collide where Voice over IP (VoIP) services run into PBX hardware and TDM lines, the fundamentals of traditional telephony. What Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) does is provide a bridge between the two worlds.

SIP trunks can be used to make and receive calls from the PSTN over existing IP networks, support outgoing and incoming PSTN calls, facilitate a full-blown replacement of PSTN/ISDN services with VoIP, and provide a foundation for new unified communication services.

Consolidation and control
All of this is immensely attractive to multinationals that want the same consolidation and control over telephony that they increasingly have with data networks. The challenge comes in unpicking telephone services that evolved over many years as companies set up offices in different corners of the world and relied on local telcos for voice.

The scale and complexity of a modern multinational means that a patchwork of fragmented services may well exist, with multiple contracts from different providers and a mishmash of PBX hardware and telephone lines, all at different stages in their lifecycle.

Part of the challenge is about sweating these assets, working out what is ready for replacement, but for many large organisations a bigger problem is simply being able to identify what they have in their global estate. Remote offices might have made their own choices about PBX vendors; business units could have spun up voice services independently, some may already be using unified communication tools.

Without clear insight into what you already have, it becomes harder to make a business case for SIP and identify where the business is most likely to realise the benefits. So a thorough audit of your existing telephony estate is a great place to start.

Different starting points
All the variables mean that organisations will inevitably be starting from a different place. And each will have their own reasons for deploying SIP trunks —opening of new office, for example, or adding circuits to a location to make it function as a contact centre — but what is interesting is that they are all setting course for the same destination.

There is increasing commonality in requirements. They want to reduce their number of communication providers; they want resilience, which means running SIP over MPLS and out of two data centres in each territory; and they want to move towards central control for economies of scale.

The good news is that SIP is a mature technology, a communications protocol that’s been around for over decade, delivering proven benefits that range from cost saving and increased operational efficiencies to facilitating new services like unified communications.  The devil, however, is in the detail. Realising the benefits is not always as straightforward as it may appear.

There is no shortage of service providers offering SIP services, but how many of them have the global footprint or experience to port numbers in different countries? Do they have the integration skills to interconnect with existing PBX systems or UC platforms? Can they guarantee the resilience that’s needed when you put all your eggs in one basket and migrate towards a single, global telephony solution?

Needless to say, networks are the backbone of what BT does and we believe we are uniquely qualified to help large multinationals deliver on the promise of SIP.


To find out more, sign up to BT’s free webinar on 27 September – SIP — Give Yourself a Global Voice by Making Communication Simple – where IDC will join us to evaluate the SIP opportunity and the best ways to exploit it.


Guillem Hernandez is voice and data specialist with BT Ireland

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