Monday, August 30, 2010

Enterprise SIP Trunking Consolidates Phone Lines

How long has it been since you took a good hard look at your telephone network? No, not just reviewing the bills for outrageous long distance usage or lines that are no longer in use. Have you taken a look recently at the map of where your phones are and how they connect to each other and the outside world?

Discover the benefits of SIP Trunking.If your organization has more than a single location, you may well have developed a spider’s web of connections that are costing you a pretty penny every month. This is especially true if your company has grown by acquisition. Whatever you have set up at headquarters is no doubt completely different from the configuration at other sites. What you have in front of you is a terrific opportunity to save money and perhaps even improve service.

I’ll suggest starting with a clean piece of paper. Draw a little circle for each of your sites, assuming there are only a few to a few dozen. This will work for any number of locations, but no need to burn through pencils trying to map them. What you want to do is draw a line that goes from location to location and back to headquarters in something resembling a circle. This will be your converged network for voice, data and even video. From there you make redundant connections to your service providers. You’ll need a couple of connections even if you have a single provider, just for a safety failover. What are you staring at now? A big cost savings, that’s what.

What I’m describing is a networking system that makes sense for medium and large scale organizations. XO communications, a highly rated competitive carrier, calls this “Enterprise SIP Trunking.” They lay out the details in their white paper on “SIP Trunking for the Enterprise”.

So what’s special about a SIP trunk and why are you missing out if you don’t have one? The idea is simple. SIP or Session Initiation Protocol is the switching language for VoIP telephone system. In small systems it is so integrated into the product that you may not even know it’s there. But for enterprise level users, what you want to do is integrate the technology of SIP trunking into your local and wide area networks. That gives you the ability to use a single network for both telephone and data transfer. One network instead of two is where the cost savings start.

The other opportunity for cost savings is to consolidate your phone connections to the outside world and stop using the public telephone network to make calls between locations. Every time you go off your network and onto the public phone system you pay a toll. It may only amount to pennies at a time, but all those internal calls will wind up generating a considerable phone bill at the end of the month.

You are also paying a pretty penny to have separate phone lines at each location. You need enough lines for each site to ensure that calls always get through. That means that most of the time you have lines sitting idle that you pay for anyway. Meanwhile, another site just got a huge burst of traffic and customers are hearing busy signals because all of those lines are in use. Wouldn’t it make more sense to create a pool of outside lines and share them among locations? That way the sites that have bursts of traffic will get the lines they need and the sites not needing those lines won’t be hoarding them just in case they’re needed.

What XO recommends is creating a MPLS-VPN network that securely connects all of your locations for voice, data and video. All phone calls within offices and between locations stay on your own network, so you don’t pay per-minute toll charges. Calls to and from outside parties go through an IP-PBX system at headquarters or a hosted PBX system at your service provider. This system assigns all of the outside lines as needed.

Does SIP Trunking make sense as a cost saver for your business or organization? Regardless of size or number of locations, there are probably ways you can save on your telecommunications costs while maintaining quality of service. Discuss your situation with one of our friendly Enterprise VoIP consultants at no charge and see what other opportunities are available to you. You’re likely to be pleasantly surprised by the results.

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