Friday, February 18, 2005

Outsourcing The PSTN Gateway

Enterprise VoIP and VoIP based telephone systems for the small and medium business continue to encroach on the turf of the PSTN or public switched telephone network. If you have already implemented VoIP in your organization, you know that your telephone calls piggyback on your data network without any per minute charges, taxes or fees. That is, as long as they stay on your network or the Internet. As soon you need to make a call to someone with a conventional landline or cell phone, or take a call from them, the free ride is over. Now you need to access the PSTN.

How you get to the phone company's network depends on how you've implemented VoIP, but in the background it's all the same. At some point a device called a gateway, gateway router or PSTN gateway converts the packets of your VoIP datastream into analog voice signals of varying electrical current levels. The gateway also handles signaling, which is how you tell the phone company you want to make or take a call and what number you are dialing.

If you have chosen a hosted VoIP service or hosted PBX system, the PSTN gateway is somewhere out there at your service provider. You're typically buying access for so much per month, which also includes routing your VoIP calls.

At the enterprise level, you probably have your own softswitch or gatekeeper, routers, phones and so on for a completely self-contained network. For PSTN access, you have a gateway or hybrid PBX system that you maintain yourself. You also need conventional phone line or digital trunks to the local telephone company office. But what if you could outsource this function and let someone else provide the gateway, similar to the arrangement that hosted plan users have?

Now you can. Broadwing Communications, a tier 1 voice and data networking carrier, is offering a hosted gateway solution called PRIorityConnect SIP. Customers simply route their PSTN bound VoIP traffic to the Broadwing platform using SIP or Session Initiation Protocol. Inbound calls are converted to SIP based VoIP and routed to the corporate network.

That's another vote for SIP as the preferred signaling protocol over H.323, the older and more comprehensive standard. SIP has pretty much become the defacto standard for residential and small & medium business VoIP. It's been making inroads into enterprise VoIP, with many business phones now able to support both standards.

Let T1 Rex get you a quote on competitive voice and data services from Broadwing and other tier 1 providers.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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