Five top tips for a seamless transition to SIP

Posted on March 13, 2018

In House Pbx Is So 90S Its Time To Move To The Cloud

In Australia, the clock is ticking for companies relying on ISDN. They will soon be forced to find alternative solutions as the ageing technology is retired.

NBN Co has announced that ISDN will no longer be be available for purchase by new customers from 30 June 2018. It will progressively be disconnected from September 2019, and totally discontinued by 2022.

Thankfully there is a solution which is not only cheaper than ISDN, but far superior. SIP (Session Initiated Protocol), is the future of business voice. It manages not only voice calls but also multimedia communications such as video calls, instant messaging, media distribution and more.

SIP brings massive benefits over ISDN including reduced costs and increased productivity and flexibility. But like any major change, the move must be planned and managed carefully in order to avoid pitfalls and reap maximum benefits.

Emil Gharibadeh, Solutions Consultant at Vocus, offers his five top tips for a seamless transition to SIP:

1.      Beat the herd

Don’t wait until you are forced to act. Moving early allows you more time to plan the critical migration of your business’ voice communications and to assess options such as SIP providers and hardware considerations.

Take this opportunity to conduct a thorough review of your business’ long-term telecoms requirements and the latest technologies available.

2.     Define your business needs

This should begin with a full audit of your current systems. Knowledge of exactly what you currently have—including its strengths and weaknesses—is a crucial foundation on which to base your decisions moving forward.

Getting input from all stakeholders is an essential part of defining the requirements for any technology change.

Factors such as budgets, timelines and the availability of resources must all be considered together with business requirements to determine your end goal and the path you take to reach it.

Considerations when moving to SIP will include factors such as whether to host your PBX in the cloud or at your premises, and the capacity of your internet connections.

High-speed fibre optic connections offer immense bandwidth while maintaining very low latency, making them ideal for voice traffic.

3.     Choosing a provider

With the plethora of providers in market, Emil has seen many proposals and many aren't built for business. Here are his top considerations when evaluating SIP providers. These include:

Track record: Can your potential SIP provider provide case studies of successful implementations of a similar service for businesses of a comparable size?

Security: Data security is always a key concern. Aspects to consider include levels of encryption, access control standards, and monitoring and reviewing of calls.

Support: What commitments do potential providers offer? Do they have the resources and expertise to provide 24/7 support before, during and after the sale? Can you manage your services via a portal?

Quality of service (QoS): Ask potential providers about their QoS capabilities. This is the ability to prioritise certain types of data traffic over others. Typically, it ensures voice traffic has the highest priority on the network, taking precedence over downloads etc.

Pricing: Not surprisingly, price is a key consideration when choosing a SIP provider. Common SIP pricing models include port pricing and user-based pricing; which is best for you will depend on the needs of your organisation. Other considerations include included calls, and additional managed services.

No matter the model, SIP provides far more cost-effective solutions than ISDN without compromising on quality.

4.     Legacy systems and devices

Many businesses operate services other than telephones over their ISDN connections. These may include for example alarm systems, credit card machines or POS systems. Check how these will operate after SIP implementation.

Phone handsets, cabling and other hardware may need to be replaced or upgraded when migrating business premises from ISDN to SIP.

It may be feasible to retain parts of legacy systems by using a gateway to convert between ISDN and SIP, if you aren’t ready to replace all of your existing infrastructure.

5.     Manage potential risks

As with any technology changes, it is important to conduct an analysis of potential service impacts that may occur during the implementation phase.

"Long term, upgrading your business to SIP from ISDN is a huge step forward, but it may nonetheless introduce new alternatives to reduce business risk", says Emil.

"If your data connection goes down, utilising functions such as voice failover to a pre-configured alternate number when SIP Registration fails (power failure etc) means your customers still get through. Other safeguards such as 4G mobile data failovers can also considerably reduce this risk."

Ask you SIP service provider how you can forward business phone numbers to other phones, such as mobile phones, in case of an outage.

Contact Vocus to find out how their high-speed fibre optic solutions can help future-proof your business’s telecoms.

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