A Single, Simple Network
SIP can be thought of as a rendezvous manager that enables many different devices such as phone systems, video conference sets, or instant messaging software to discover, locate, negotiate and establish live communications with anyone on the planet. SIP changes the way we as individual users of communication systems communicate and it has changed the way that corporate networks connect to each other and to the internet.
Using SIP based technology that leverages high-bandwidth internet connections provides the added benefit of extraordinary flexibility and speed in provisioning services to new locations. Connecting a new plant location or a remote office to the corporate voice, video and data network can be accomplished in days by leveraging SIP based tools for establishing real-time communications.
SIP allows users to have complete control of the way they communicate in real time. Real time communication in a SIP based network is controlled by an end user’s preferences, not by the device that they’re using. The individual decides how, when and with whom they will communicate. A single public address (AOR) is published for each user that defines all the ways they can be reached. The end-user controls their “reachability” by updating a single status record that defines their presence (In the office, Out of the office, at lunch, on vacation, do not disturb and so on.)
Users control their communication status, their availability, their desired form of contact (video call, phone call, IM session) and users can classify desired incoming communication to filter out unwanted traffic. Instant messaging software users set these preferences with their buddy list and allow their daily calendar to define their “presence.” SIP services in your network allow the end user’s presence setting to be extended to voice and video communication servers.
Corporate Network Impact
A network manager will have to make changes to support SIP in the local network and to use SIP-based carrier services to interconnect many networks. The good news? SIP infrastructure is installed once with the promise it will support multiple SIP-based solutions.
SIP by itself takes care of a small portion of the workload needed for communication. SIP will setup and tear down communication links efficiently and consistently across a diverse set of servers and clients in the local network or across the world in another country. To accomplish this feat, SIP works with many other standard services used for authentication, routing and transport to deliver messages between users.
In many environments communication between older legacy systems and SIP-based systems will require a point of translation, known as a SIP gateway, to reformat signaling and messages so that they are compatible. As end-to-end SIP-based services are increasingly available, the requirement for translation services will decrease over time.
For the cost of a traditional internet-only connection, hundreds of SIP sessions carrying voice, video and instant messaging traffic are connected to remote corporate locations. SIP-based carrier services to connect to the public voice networks are less common. As more voice carriers expand their offerings to support SIP-based connections to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), cost-savings will increase further.
Why consider using SIP today?
SIP-based services will significantly lower the cost of provisioning changes to the corporate voice, video and data network. SIP will enable the seamless integration of “foreign” voice systems into your network that may occur in a merger or acquisition.
SIP-based services will simplify administration and management of communications and allow your network staff to gain control over an increasing array of end-user devices by focusing on the end-user address record as the point of management. Open SIP standards will allow companies to continue use of diverse hardware without forced upgrades due to incompatibility.
Perhaps the most important reason to consider SIP is the operational and capital cost savings associated with use of SIP based network technology. A regional firm with 14 office locations reduces their telecommunication cost by 60 percent each month with improved service levels—this savings provides payback of the new infrastructure components in 15 months.
| ||Robert Crane |
Robert Crane is an account executive at Strategic Products and Services focusing on emerging network technology and a 24-year veteran of information technology implementation projects.