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November 2009 | Volume 12 / Number 11
Ask the SIP Trunk Expert

UC Begins with a Converged Network

At first glance, some may think that having separate networks for voice and data is a natural extension of the way we have received telephony services for 100 years and data services for the past 25. But in reality, the promise of SIP, and of SIP trunking, is the ability to use a variety of devices to communicate – the ultimate goal of unified communications, where people can be reached anywhere, anytime, using the method that’s most convenient for them.

Of course, a desktop SIP phone can be deployed on a separate LAN and voice calls will work. But what about the laptop and desktop PCs that have built-in cameras and often pre-installed SIP clients? If those devices are not on the same LAN as the SIP trunks, they cannot be used to place calls, which may eventually turn into video sessions. And as time goes on, more clients will have SIP capability, whether in a mobile device or in devices yet to be invented. Hence there’s a need, a necessity, for one converged network in order to implement truly effective unified communications.

When implementing SIP the service provider and the enterprise should look ahead to how all of the tools on the desktop can be used together to result in truly converged communications. With the introduction of an enterprise session border controller (E-SBC) this is easily accomplished. Now both data and voice access can be shared on a single LAN, resulting in efficiencies and preparing the enterprise for the next step in the future of communications, while allowing the enterprise to maintain control and security over all services.

While today there is still confusion in the market as to what UC is, or how to best utilize UC applications, one thing is clear: unified communications begins with a converged network. It is only by architecting the network for success in this way that enterprises, IP-PBX (News - Alert) vendors, carriers and even new entrants such as cable companies/MSOs will leverage the full potential of SIP today and in the future. IT

Steve Johnson (News - Alert) is president of Ingate Systems (

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