You’ve decided to move your business telephony system over to an enterprise SIP trunk solution, replacing your traditional fixed PSTN lines with connectivity via a SIP trunk provider. The next step – installation.
Before you start, there are a few things that you need to confirm that your chosen SIP trunk provider has in place so that the installation goes as smooth as possible. What you want to avoid is getting halfway through the implementation stage only to discover that your provider is unable to meet the demands of your business. Sounds logical, but it is surprising just how often this happens.
A common error is that businesses choose to stick with a current network provider to implement a voice solution when that provider doesn’t have the correct certification. The attraction is that the business (e.g. you, the customer) most likely has a good existing relationship with the provider and trust they can provide the necessary services. This relationship can soon turn from good to bad, however, if the provider does not understand the voice solution – how it integrates and performs – and the provider has to effectively learn on the job. This is far from ideal as businesses rarely want to enter into a partner relationship where they are the guinea pig for a project without full disclosure upfront and complex SLAs in place.
Another common mistake is that the customer’s own equipment might not be up to the required specification or they haven’t got the correct dimension to allow for an enterprise voice solution. If this is the case, a correctly certified provider would spot this straight away before any implementation has started, informing the customer of what needs to be done before they are in a suitable position to start reaping the benefits of a voice enterprise solution.
It can be likened to getting your car serviced. You might trust the garage down the road to do a decent job on a service as they’ve been providing you with servicing for years. However, when it comes to complex issues with the ECU it is better to have an accredited dealer carry out any works as they have the knowledge and experience of dealing with these specific requirements on a regular basis.
So before setting out on implementing an enterprise voice solution, be sure that you run through a checklist similar to the one below and that you’re confident each area has been discussed with your chosen provider and you have received suitable reassurance.
Are They a Certified Provider of Enterprise Voice Solutions?
We can’t stress the importance of this enough. Check that your chosen provider has sufficient knowledge and certification of the chosen voice solution. It remains one of the most popular areas of potential failure during implementation, leading to extra costs previously not budgeted for and a delay in getting up and running. Customer/Supplier relationships end up being tested to the maximum and even though you might just make it through to the other side with the relationship in tact – chances are it will be late and over budget.
Do They Understand Your Network Requirements?
Every network region within your business must have an associated server at a central site to manage the traffic within that designated region. i.e. making the decision based on the configuration you’ve specified. These are not geographical locations per se, but rather groups of servers configured as a pool or a set of pools that allow you to get the most out of your enterprise voice solution. Ensure that your chosen provider fully understands your configuration requirements for different network regions, network sites and the association of each subnet in the arrangement within a network site.
Do They Have Sufficient Bandwidth?
Make sure your chosen enterprise voice provider has the necessary bandwidth to deal with your voice usage. At Pure IP we have three options for customers to choose from - Dedicated MPLS / Point-to-Point Circuit, bring your own bandwidth and VLAN with Masergy, Exponential-E or Interoute. Each of these options will allow you to use SIP over UDP, TCP or TLS and for every 10 parallel calls 1Mbps of dedicated bandwidth is required.
Is There a Sufficient Firewall in Place?
Data security is always high on the list of priorities for any enterprise voice solution implementation and features such as IP encryption and a firewall should be offered as standard from your provider. Internal IP attacks are prevented through stringent firewalls and anti-virus software, however ask your supplier about back door vulnerabilities. Make sure that you get assurance that they have sufficient measures to protect against network threats from the IP network to the enterprise voice network. You cannot go wrong with having a number of security measures such as a voice firewall, real-time call monitoring and alerting among others to ensure that no matter your chosen enterprise voice solution, it remains secure.
Is End User Training in Place from the Outset?
Often the focus is on the here and now of the implementation and not much thought is dedicated to what happens once this is complete. To get the most value out of the full range of features included in voice enterprise solutions such as Microsoft’s Skype for Business, then you need to ensure that your provider has enough specialists within their team to provide sufficient training. The alternative being that you’ve just paid for a enterprise solution that no one fully understands how to use except perhaps a select few involved in the project.