Four necessities for SIP success

What you need for effective SIP implementations, according to The SIP Survey 2015 — plus a few additional caveats worth watching.

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According to a new report, successful SIP projects involve four main factors — but if you really want your implementation of the session initiation protocol to go well, you also need to be especially prudent.

That’s evident in The SIP School’s latest paper detailing the thoughts of IT managers with respect to the evermore-common network technology. Published in November, The SIP Survey 2015 notes the main elements people say were crucial to their SIP implementations:

  • Excellent hardware, configured to ensure uptime, all the time.
  • A knowledgeable installation team — people who have a lot of experience installing SIP and know what to do if the project runs into trouble.
  • Thorough planning and testing to identify what’s needed and how well the proposed solution will work, well in advance of a full switchover.
  • Comprehensive documentation from manufacturers, which provides guidance on optimal equipment configuration.

Those are the main factors for successful SIP projects — but there are a few caveats to consider. For one, excellent hardware and good documentation are next to useless unless the implementation team takes the time required to install the service carefully. “We all know that rushing is a dangerous game,” says SIP School CEO Graham Francis in the report.

Indeed. As Francis explains, about 35 per cent of respondents said they had trouble with their SIP trunk provider. Others had trouble with session border controllers and PBX configuration. One-way audio was the biggest difficulty, with 43 per cent of problem-finding respondents citing it as an issue. (One-way audio means only one person on a call can hear the other individual.)

The most likely main cause: equipment misconfiguration, Francis says. Along the same lines, among people who said they experienced trouble with their IP-PBXs, about 70 per cent pointed to manual configuration errors as the prime problem.

Francis concludes that for many organizations, SIP does work well. But companies experience trouble with the technology “when it’s installed quickly and without careful thought for quality of service and ongoing service management.”

Slow and steady helps SIP stick

So take care, starting with significant planning. Francis recommends you begin by talking to prospective SIP service providers about their implementation experiences, especially challenges and solutions. “Good research and talking to people early on will help you decide which companies to work with,” he says.

Trial runs may play an important role, too. They can help you uncover — and solve — problems early. Yet more than 25 per cent of The SIP School’s survey respondents said they didn’t test the technology; they jumped right in. Francis says it’s best to trial SIP trunks before committing.

He also notes that more than 70 per cent of respondents opted not to visit their service provider’s premises to see the data centre and review how it’s configured for business continuity. Failing to visit is a mistake, Francis says. That trip could be the perfect opportunity to ask questions and to see if the carrier has the technical know-how to address your concerns.

If you want your SIP project to go smoothly, you need to choose excellent hardware with thorough documentation, and a good service provider — and you should plan and test. Beyond that, you have to work carefully through the implementation process to avoid making configuration mistakes that could stymie success.

Image courtesy of Free Digital Photos

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