Often when we talk about SIP Trunking here, we focus on the mechanics of the technology and the benefits it brings. But implementing SIP Trunking does mean some real changes for the front-line people who make voice and data communications work in the enterprise.
There was an interesting article about this at Network World recently, focusing on what the voice folks need to know as their company moves to SIP Trunking, as well as on some of the attitudinal shifts that the IT folks will need to make.
For telecom staffs, it is important to recognize how voice and data mix on the same network, and the roles that data switches, firewalls, proxy servers, session border controllers, and other equipment play. To some extent, voice is simply another application on the data network, but one that does demand a certain priority.
One consultant quoted in the article made a good point about the need to think about voice calls in terms of bandwidth, rather than available lines. In the case of conference calls, for instance, accommodation needs to be made ahead of time to provision sufficient bandwidth for the number of participants and then give that traffic priority on the network.
As you can imagine, if the CEO and his fellow conference callers all sound like they’re on mobile phones in the middle of a tunnel, it’s what we might call a “career-changing” situation. You don’t want that.
Conversely, the IT people need to understand quality of service considerations when it comes to voice calls. Voice QoS is pretty much baked into the TDM world, but the SIP Trunking environment is a different story.
The enterprise needs to be aware of what it costs for this additional bandwidth and their desired quality of service. Sprint SIP Trunking provides “burstable” trunks which, in effect, give the enterprise “trunks on demand.”This feature isn’t the use of “idle” capacity at a different location (that’s available as well). Instead, the bursting feature gives the enterprise an additional 25 percent more trunks than what was initially provisioned. This is an ideal feature for unexpected call spikes or seasonal call volume increases. In addition, Sprint includes class of service as part of its MPLS data service at no additional charge; this capability can be used to set the priority of voice over an enterprise’s SIP Trunking service.
So while voice may be one of many applications on the network, it’s the diva and it demands priority handling. Like video, its delay sensitivity is so critical that it needs to be catered to kind of like a rock star before the big concert.
That is, if you want to be sure you don’t tick off the CEO during his conference call.