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November 05, 2008

A Simple Treatise on "SIP Trunking" for Remote Call Centers

By TMCnet Special Guest
Jeffrey Carr, COO, SinglePipe Communications

You have heard all of the hype before – the greatest new technology heralded by experts as the saving grace for your business. Voice over IP (VoIP) has been inching toward that goal for as long as I can remember, maybe even before Al Gore invented the Internet.
As you probably know, there are many different versions of VoIP, such as hosted PBX (News - Alert), Line Replacement, SIP Trunking, etc. Most call centers have existing PBX or VoIP infrastructure they use regularly, which is also integrated with CRM systems and other necessary tools. There is a common misconception that SIP Trunking is a simple replacement for expensive telephone company lines that can push traffic very cheaply. 
While very cost-effective, it is important to note that there are challenges to implementing such a complex technology in remote call centers based in areas that may not have access to the same Internet/broadband connectivity options as their larger, more central brethren.
To illustrate the most important points that must be taken into account for SIP Trunking in remote locations, I will refer to the 3 R’s: Redundancy, Routability and Reliability.
It is essential to understand that the source of VoIP SIP Trunking is critical to maintaining a service that is effective for a call center. Many Web sites offer easy-to-configure, one-stop shops for integrating and “terminating” traffic at very attractive rates, such as $.015/minute. These are fantastic for a small business that may be running an IP PBX and have a smart IT guy, but they are not nearly reliable enough for a call center application.
To be reliable, there must be multiple paths to which voice traffic/calls are sent. In many cases, you can get this service from your network provider – cable, telephone or third-party reseller. In addition, you can also set up secondary links to companies that are available to split traffic. To effectively manage multiple links, you must have “Least-Cost Routing” capability that lets you manage the best path on the fly – this is often available in the hardware that you use to establish your “SIP Trunks”. (You can read more about Least Cost Routing on the open source “Open SER” platform at
Never underestimate the importance of a good network operations technician. Many customers will choose to connect to their SIP Trunking peers via the Internet instead of expensive private network connections. In this case, you are vulnerable to the wide world of Internet routing and its inherent quality issues.
To counteract any potential problems that may arise from these issues, there must be multiple options for connectivity through multiple sources that ensure you are able to route to your provider. Again, a good network operations technician will make your life easier.
Vetting your providers for service availability is a must. There are many times when a provider has issues in the interconnection with the Public Telephone network and its incumbent carriers. In these situations, it is necessary for the provider to spend time and effort to remedy these issues. Many established providers are equipped to handle these situations, where commodity-based resellers simply do not have the capacity.
Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users. Today’s featured white paper is Fixed Service Strategies for Mobile Network Operators, brought to you by Comverse (News - Alert).

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Edited by Michelle Robart

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