Indian Enterprises, both large and small & medium enterprises, have started to discover the benefits of modernizing their phone systems to enjoy the benefits of unified communications. As the Indian firms grow in the domestic markets and explore foreign markets, they require a flexible and scalable business communication system. The traditional TDM-based communication systems are clearly unsuitable to meet these requirements.
High-end video conferencing solutions to bring down the organization’s travel cost and enhanced team productivity because of improved communication are just some of the benefits of unified communications (UC). A technology that allows Indian firms to transition to UC, even as they continue to use their existing infrastructure is Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).
What’s cool about SIP isn’t just the IP conversion; SIP Trunking is a single conduit for multimedia elements (voice, video and data) that allows multiple signal types to travel over the same pipeline. This is a huge advantage for any organization size. SIP is the base of modernizing the way Communication system and opening multiple channels to communicate using singe platform.
SIP Trunks are used to connect a company’s private switch (Private Branch Exchange or PBX) to the public network using the internet instead of traditional analog phone circuits. SIP Trunking is the de facto standard for VoIP applications. This means that a service provider would offer a SIP trunk to facilitate communication between an organization’s PBX and the public network. Or, I should say, “PBXs,” since with SIP, it’s easy to connect multiple locations to act as a single system. This is also crucial because it allows the workforce to benefit from new-age applications such as videoconferencing and location-presence applications. It also empowers businesses to avoid vendor lock-in and choose from a range of communications and suppliers.
It is then hardly surprising then that SIP trunks is emerging as a technology of choice to replace the traditional Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) based systems to enable businesses to enjoy the advantages offered by UC. SIP provides important advantages and capabilities over the traditional communication systems allowing for an overall improved business communication systems. By replacing legacy TDM-based telephony infrastructure with SIP-based solutions and converging real-time voice, video and UC onto a common IP backbone, firms can consolidate equipment and trunks, streamline operations and enhance collaboration and productivity.
Here are some noteworthy benefits provided by SIP:
Offers greater flexibility: A key advantage of using SIP as a protocol is it takes you out of Vendor lock in situations which is common in TDM. We all know Staying with TDM often requires you to purchase only from your vendor thus limiting you to your vendor’s pricing.
Enabling speedier deployment: With great reduction in HW Foot print in internal Network on initial level as well most of the time no additional HW or physical cabling required during expansions, makes the deployment very quick and smooth. This also simplifies the network with multi-layer redundancy in the network. SIP trunks can also be an integral part of your firm’s disaster recovery plan. Calls can be immediately diverted to another site to ensure seamless continuation of business operations.
Reducing overall cost: A fundamental reason for the ever-increasing popularity of SIP trunks is that it is much more cost-effective than the traditional TDM-circuits. This is because with SIP can easily transfer voice, video, chat on the same IP data pipe which was maintained separately for Data services like email or browsing and file transfer. Organizations can save on infrastructure costs and on network data and voice costs. It enables organizations to reduce expenditure associated with ISDN trunks, PSTN gateways and more.
SIP opens the multiple channels on communications from any part of the world, which is the basic need for any Enterprise today. Recording and analyzing all calls for industry compliance, quality, and speech analytics to better understand your customers’ requirements and demands will help you in improving sales and service.
Growing relevance of Session Border Controller while adopting SIP
There is a little doubt that SIP trunking is a crucial part of the modern IP phone system, but at the same time deploying it poses some security and compatibility issues. It is here that Session Border Controller (SBC) becomes relevant. SBC is primarily used to secure the entry point for UC and to make a secure connection between the enterprise and the SIP trunking providers.
With that being said it is very important to select the SBC carefully as it becomes the Integration point for not only just External world call SIP Trunk but it should take care and able to offer following features:
Security / DDoS Protection: IP always prone to attacks and since is SIP is based on the IP so it is very important while selecting the SBC that it should be able to provide strong enough security to mitigate the all types of frauds and IP attacks in form of Topology hiding, DDoS Protection, Encryption, Call Admission Control. It is important to secure your communication system and block malicious attacks from both trusted and untrusted sources. SBC help the firms in preventing Denial of Service attacks and other sophisticated interruptions. Traditional firewall is unable to handle real-time SIP traffic. It also provides deep packet inspection, policy enforcement and other security functionalities, thus providing much more control than an application-layer firewall. Additionally, SBC must able to supports encryption (TLS/SRTP) ensuring further security.
Disaster Recovery: The SBC must be able to integrate with multiple SIP Trunks for load balancing / failovers of traffic in case of non-availability of one trunk. Ability to monitor the continuous status monitoring and auto failovers. also enables disaster recovery by allowing calls through a secondary provider. It also aids in monitoring real-time communications and to prevent Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
Scalability: As the modes of communications are continuously increasing from simple voice calls to Voice, Video, Chat, Presence, File sharing and may be many more in future. SBC should be ready to handle these new modes of communication and scalable enough to take care of future communication needs.
Interoperability: SBC must ensures interoperability among external world SIP Service Provider, different PBX and different UC solutions etc. to make sure your existing infrastructure can continue to be used thus protecting your investment.
If you haven’t already migrated to SIP, now is the time to deploy SBC to finally transition to SIP. The SBC will allow you to bring down your expenditure immediately even as you migrate to SIP. Thus in simple words SBC must be vendor Neutral or vendor agnostic. Not only limited interoperability between various flavors of SIP, SBC must be IPv6 ready and should able take care of IPv4 ßà IPv6 interworking. This will make your IP telephony network any day IPv6 ready.
Reporting: SBC must be able to generate and write the Call Detail Records for the analysis, billing reconciliation and many times from regulation prospective also.
It is time Indian enterprises start leveraging the immense benefits offered by cutting-edge communication systems, which encourages better collaboration and teamwork. The traditional communication system is unable to meet the requirements of new age workforce.