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How SIP for the Enterprise Powers Unified Communications

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For many businesses, connecting voice and Unified Communications (UC) across multiple offices has become expensive and time-consuming, especially when service needs frequently change from location to location. It doesn't have to be so difficult.

Your enterprise can reap huge savings, simplify the management of company-wide voice and UC capabilities, easily make changes, eliminate the headaches of mobile device management, and allow your workers to securely collaborate on work from anywhere using their preferred, personal mobile devices. Learn how by reading How SIP for the Enterprise Powers Unified Communications.

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How SIP for the Enterprise Powers Unified Communications

  1. 1. How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications Written by Steven Shepard, President, Shepard Communications Group, LLC
  2. 2. 2 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications AUTHORED BY: Steve Shepard, President Shepard Communications Group, LLC Commissioned by XO Communications Table of Contents Why SIP for the Enterprise? 3 What Exactly is SIP—and How Did We Get Here? 3 What’s in it for you? 4 The Before and After of Enterprise SIP 5 With the arrival of Enterprise SIP, things change. 6 Key Advantages of Enterprise SIP 7 Options When You Have a Private Network Already in Place 8 Added Business Continuity 8 Is an Enterprise SIP Solution Right for You? 8 Summary Recommendations 9 About XO® Enterprise SIP 9 For additional information: 9 About Steve Shepard 10 About XO Communications 10
  3. 3. 3 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications What Exactly is SIP—and How Did We Get Here? SIP is a signaling protocol that sets up communication sessions in an IP network. These sessions can include anything from a simple phone call to a multi-location, multimedia conference. SIP is a simple, command-response protocol that is operationally similar to the protocol that governs the functionality of the Web: HTTP. When SIP is deployed in the network, telephony becomes a Web application. It integrates seamlessly with other Internet services. SIP has become the choice for modern communications because it: • Reduces calling costs by supporting the transmission of calls over a computer network (Voice over IP or VoIP), and • Enables Unified Communications features and functionality – like instant messaging/ chat, texting, integrated voicemail and email, live video chats, presence status, and seamless transfers of conversations in real time between fixed and employees personal smartphones, work and personal computers. SIP trunking technology facilitates everything from traditional voice services to a host of unified communications and collaboration capabilities. And since SIP is the internationally recognized standard (a subset of the IP protocol suite), meaning that interoperability is a non-issue. SIP? Why SIP for the Enterprise? For many businesses, connecting voice and unified communications across multiple branch offices has become expensive and time-consuming, especially when service needs change frequently from location to location. Companies often are forced to work with several carriers just to interconnect different geographic locations—and that means more suppliers, contracts, and equipment for you to manage. It doesn’t have to be so difficult. Instead, multi-location businesses can take advantage of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking technology to make an easier transition from a distributed voice network to a more centralized and cost effective Voice over IP (VoIP) solution. Enterprise SIP enables companies with many distributed branches to use high-capacity connections between their IP-PBX phone systems in one or more primary locations as demarcation points to a service provider’s core network and the universal Public Switched Telephone System. This architecture enables you to continuously and consistently deliver VoIP and unified communications solutions across your entire enterprise—by using the company’s wide area network (WAN) to transport voice, data and video traffic.
  4. 4. 4 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications What’s in it for you? Using Enterprise SIP trunking, you eliminate the need for separate telephone lines and equipment at many locations, as well as the long-distance charges among headquarters and branch offices. Beyond these savings, businesses with centralized SIP trunking can better manage company- wide voice from a single web dashboard, and easily make configuration changes. As examples, network administrators can: • Use idle trunk capacity at one site to accommodate a spike in voice traffic at another location; • Burst above purchased bandwidth to adapt to time of day, monthly or seasonal call volumes; • Manage a full suite of unified communications capabilities so that employees can securely collaborate anywhere using their preferred personal devices.
  5. 5. 5 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications + + + DIA #1 ILEC #1 PRI DIA #2 ILEC #2 PRI Headquarters Regional Office Branch 1 + ++ + Provider 1 Provider 3 Provider 5 Provider 6 Provider 8 Provider 4 + Provider 2 Provider 7 + + Branch 8 Branch 7 Branch 6 Branch 5 Branch 2 Branch 3 Branch 4 Figure 1: Typical SIP Configuration before an Enterprise SIP deployment. The Before and After of Enterprise SIP Before Enterprise SIP, multi-location businesses might have a telecom infrastructure similar to the network illustrated in Figure 1. In this situation, because of the company’s many locations, the company had to engage multiple service providers to ensure connectivity between each location’s PBX and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). In most cases, these connections were either ISDN PRI connections or IP trunks.
  6. 6. 6 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications With the arrival of Enterprise SIP, things change. Instead of connections to each branch and through multiple carriers, it is now possible to provide an increased level of connectivity, with added redundancy – by consolidating those connections through a small number of locations and with a single carrier, while saving costs and streamlining telecom operations, as shown in Figure 2. MPLS IP-VPN Network Headquarters Regional Office Failover Branch 1 Branch 2 Branch 3 Branch 4 Branch 5 Branch 6Branch 8 Branch 7 XO Communications Figure 2: Simplified connectivity following the introduction of an Enterprise SIP tdeployment.
  7. 7. 7 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications Key Advantages of Enterprise SIP Not only does Enterprise SIP eliminate the need to buy and manage lines for each and every location, it also streamlines the operation of the telecommunications infrastructure using a centralized PBX, rather than managing multiple, disparate systems at the premise. Another important benefit is the degree of control and flexibility that you enjoy. • Consolidating voice and data over a single, converged IP network greatly reduces the cost and complexity of administration and management. Fundamentally, costs are reduced as the capacity required for voice and data sessions is shared across the entire network. • Centralizing the PBX equipment in one or a few sites results in capital savings, greater control over site to site calling, and a consistent, quality customer experience. The headache of trying to control communications across a myriad of premise-based configurations is gone. • Enterprise SIP consolidates local and long distance inbound and outbound calling across the enterprise, regardless of the calling and called parties’ physical locations. • Enterprise SIP makes bandwidth management easy. By allowing for instantaneously available bandwidth on a demand basis, inbound and outbound calls always have adequate resources available to them. • And finally, Enterprise SIP allows for traffic prioritization: Voice can always be assigned the highest priority among the various traffic types using the connection, thus guaranteeing assured quality-of-service (QoS). In addition, when you combine Enterprise SIP with Unified Communications applications, you enable worker innovation, productivity, and collaboration. Employees want to be untethered from their offices and to quickly engage with coworkers and customers, exchange information, and accelerate time-sensitive decisions. Now you can permit employees to use their own preferred personal mobile devices for work- related activity. However, until recently, it’s been difficult for companies to do this without sacrificing privacy and security for employers and workers—or without having to deal with duplicative providers, calling plans and invoices. With Unified Communications applications powered by Enterprise SIP, you integrate your company’s VoIP service with your employees’ personal smartphones and laptops on a single company-wide calling plan. This helps you standardize IP telephony company-wide, eliminate the headaches and costs of mobile device management, and dramatically reduce costs. That’s huge. Using Enterprise SIP with Unified Communications applications, workers can use their business phone numbers and presence status to present a professional image to others while they are working on the go. They can call, text, video chat, instant message and more using their own preferred devices, yet still maintain the privacy of their personal information, apps and numbers. And while all this makes your employees happy, it makes you even happier.
  8. 8. 8 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications Options When You Have a Private Network Already in Place In many cases, companies have already invested in their own private networks, typically MPLS IP VPNs, but sometimes Private Lines or even Dedicated Internet Access. In this situation, Enterprise SIP allows you to take advantage of that investment by overlaying voice calling on the existing network, further stretching the investment made. For example, XO even allows SIP to be used with another carrier’s data network. The same companies that invested in VoIP as part of their evolution and now Enterprise SIP can be assured of interoperability and seamless integration. Added Business Continuity Network Survivability is critical to most companies, and because Enterprise SIP relies on IP, an array of business continuity options become possible. These options are much more difficult – and expensive – to deliver over a legacy, switched network. If one route becomes unusable or excessively congested, Enterprise SIP re-routes the connection across an alternate route, with no change in quality of service. Finally, because the service can be delivered by a single provider, far more flexible pricing is available due to the consolidation of resources. Is an Enterprise SIP Solution Right for You? So how do you know whether Enterprise SIP is an optimal solution for your business? Ask yourself these questions: 1. Do you have more than five operating locations? 2. Does the geographically-dispersed nature of your company have you using more than one carrier for your telecommunications needs? 3. Do you have inadequate leverage with your carriers? 4. Are you spending too much for telephone lines? 5. Are you spending too much for long distance calling? 6. Are you spending too much capital on media gateways and PBX network connections? 7. Are you uncomfortable with the level of survivability available in your network? 8. Could you get more value out of your IP-PBX installation? 9. Are you struggling with managing mobile devices, and different types of standalone unified communications tools from different suppliers? 10. Do you have the capability of integrating your business-grade voice service with work- related, unified communications applications on employees’ smartphones within the same company plan?
  9. 9. 9 How SIP for Enterprise Powers Unified Communications XO Communications If you answered ‘yes’ to one or more of these questions, your business may be a viable candidate for an Enterprise SIP solution. The cost savings, added functionality and survivability alone make it a technology progression that is worth serious consideration. Summary Recommendations If you are considering Enterprise SIP with Unified Communications, look for a service provider that will help you: • Eliminate the purchase and management of multiple business lines from distinct service providers. • Consolidate local and long distance services and help accelerate the transition to VoIP without a significant up-front investment. • Offer a high capacity connection to primary locations that in turn connect to your private network, as required, to serve additional branches. • Take advantage of service delivered by a single provider, with far more flexible pricing due to the consolidation of resources. The power accrues to you; the customer – it doesn’t get much better than that. Companies looking for centralized SIP trunking services like Enterprise SIP should carefully select a service provider with extensive network reach and coverage to serve all branch locations, demonstrated VoIP and Unified Communications capabilities and experience, competitive pricing, and superior customer service. About XO® Enterprise SIP With XO Enterprise SIP, you can simplify, streamline and reduce the costs of managing voice services and unified communications applications across your distributed enterprise. For additional information: Please visit XO Communications at or call directly at 888-718-7595 for more information or a complimentary service evaluation.
  10. 10. © Copyright 2014. XO Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. XO, the XO design logo, and all related marks are trademarks of XO Communications, LLC. How-SIP-for-Enterprise-Powers-UC | O140303 15:43:20 About Steve Shepard Dr. Steven Shepard, Ph.D. is president of the Shepard Communications Group. A professional writer, educator and industry analyst with more than 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Dr. Shepard specializes in international telecommunications issues, the social implications of technological incursion and the analysis of financial issues related to technology-dependent businesses. He is the author of 45 books on a wide variety of topics and regularly speaks to audiences throughout the world, and has clients in more than 50 countries. Mr. Shepard can be reached at About XO Communications XO Communications is a leading nationwide provider of advanced broadband communications services and solutions for businesses, enterprises, government, carriers and service providers. Its customers include more than half of the Fortune 500, in addition to leading cable companies, carriers, content providers and mobile network operators. Utilizing its unique combination of high-capacity nationwide and metro networks and broadband wireless capabilities, XO Communications offers customers a broad range of managed voice, data and IP services with proven performance, scalability and value in more than 85 metropolitan markets across the United States. For more information, visit For XO updates, follow us on: Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin | SlideShare | YouTube | Flickr