SIP Trunking Deployment Steps and Best Practices

Posted on: 2016-08-03 | Categories: SIP

Organizations looking to implement VoIP have a choice between hosted VoIP services and SIP trunking. There are plenty of companies and experts who can help businesses get started with either alternative but it doesn’t eliminate the need for basic knowledge. There is something to be said for employees also to know about about the technology, best practices and common features, so they are better prepared to handle the new system.

SIP Trunking Basics

Most people understand – or at least have a vague idea about – SIP trunks. Anyone who has dealt with enterprise phone systems or even used one can easily visualize the concept of SIP trunks. They are comparable to the old school PRI lines, except that phone services are delivered over the internet instead of copper wires.

In the simplest of deployments, an organization can choose to simply replace each existing PRI line with a separate SIP trunk. This doesn’t require much planning in terms of engineering or capacity, although it can be pretty expensive. In spite of all that, switching to SIP trunking can still offer substantial benefits in terms of costs and operating efficiencies.

SIP Trunking Deployment

Things To Do Before Deployment

Once the organization has made the decision to switch to VoIP, there remains the process of selecting a vendor to provide the trunks. However even before that, the business has to get their infrastructure ready for VoIP. While the basic premise of deploying SIP trunks is pretty simple, the actual implementation will have to take into consideration many variables such as peak and average traffic, available bandwidth, the capabilities of existing equipment etc.

Evaluate the Existing Network

Since VoIP brings voice calling to the data network, the first step is to check whether the enterprise LAN/WAN and/or Wi-Fi is capable of handling the additional traffic that will be generated by the SIP trunking deployment. For substantial number of businesses, the existing network will barely be adequate to supporting the existing requirements from apps and internal business processes. For others, additional capacity will still have to be added in order to facilitate voice traffic on the same network.

Check Equipment and Hardware

Apart from taking the data network, existing equipment such as the PBX system and phones may need to be replaced or upgraded to make it compatible with the SIP standard. Organizations may choose to purchase new equipment or simply attach adapters to existing hardware. Selecting SIP compatible hardware is a good bet since most trunk vendors utilize the same protocol, making it easy to switch between services.

Selecting a Vendor and Service

Selecting a vendor for SIP trunks is no different than for other business processes. Excellence of technical and customer support, experience in the industry and testimonials from existing customers can help with the process of narrowing down the field. Most vendors will offer a free trial or at least a demonstration so that the business can test drive the service before making a purchase.

Selecting a service that is suitable for the business based on price and features offered can be a more frustrating task. If the organization has a clear idea about what they require, it is easier to find a good fit the be offerings in the market. Otherwise certain vendors are known to aggressively upsell their services which ends up costing the business much more than it should.

Implementing SIP Trunks

During the process of implementation, the organization will need to select between centralized or distributed architectures. Sometimes the choice will even come down to external circumstances such as regulation, market forces etc. Once the deployment model has been selected, budgetary and time constraints should be taken into account. Sometimes businesses can be in a hurry to set up the SIP trunks and cut corners, leading to quality issues down the road.

Another important aspect that is often ignored during SIP trunking deployment is security. Unfortunately it is much harder to make an implementation secure after the fact, yet this is the fact that most organizations fall into. End to end encryption, real time monitoring software, session border controllers, firewalls and other hardware are all various tools that can be deployed in order to make the VoIP network more secure.

SIP Trunking Best Practices

There are a few best practices that should be followed in order to enhance the quality and reliability of VoIP systems. One of the best things that you can do is to set up QoS settings on the various hardware so that voice calls get priority during peak traffic. This can make the difference between clear calls and severe degradation such as calls getting dropped or missing words in the middle of conversations.

Another best practice relates to security. In general employees are not used security measures when it comes to phone systems. However with VoIP, account credentials and passwords have to be guarded just as security as they would for other business applications. Ongoing training sessions can help with such issues.

Once everything is set up and ready to go, there is not much else to do in terms of regular maintenance for the business. Employees with knowledge of VoIP, IP PBX and SIP may be needed in order to change configuration, deploy additional features and maintain the security of the entire system. For the most part employees do not have to change their workflows or processes to use VoIP. It is also one of the reasons why VoIP and SIP trunking is seeing rapid adoption in the business world.