April 24, 2016

The Shocking Reason that SIP Goes Bad

Can one tip prevent 90% of SIP implementation problems?

That’s a big boast, but it could be true. So here’s the tip.

The very best way to eliminate your SIP problems is …

(Drum roll please)

… trial before implementation.

I know this might seem like common sense, but apparently it’s not. According to the 2015 SIP Survey, 26% of 407 respondents installed SIP trunks right away without any type of trial.

One out of four SIP installations occur without a trial? This is amazing! No wonder survey respondents noted experiencing problems such as:

  • One-way audio
  • Trunks dropping intermittently
  • Poor quality (delay, jitter, packet loss)
  • Codec mismatch

Could these problems have been avoided with proper trials? Quite possibly. Testing the service with your PBX will allow you to sniff out most of these problems, and have them addressed, before you go live.

The SIP Survey author noted the high number of installations without trials with some incredulity, writing “I continue to think it is usually the best policy to trial SIP trunks before committing to any kind of contract and then finding issues later, maybe due to your testing (for whatever reason) not covering all usage scenarios.”

One survey respondent stated plainly “A comprehensive test plan/process is absolutely critical to the overall success (or lack thereof) to a rewarding SIP Trunk deployment experience.”

SIP is not an off-the-shelf solution, there is no one-size-fits-all (even if it’s supposed to be). In order for SIP to generate revenue-driving benefits, you need to ensure the deployment matches your technology needs. That’s what trials are for.

If a service provider will not allow you to trial their service, this should be a red flag to you.

To begin a successful SIP trial, know what your daily business needs are, and convey these as requirements to your potential service provider. The provider should develop a package that helps you accomplish your goals.

Give your potential service provider as much detailed information about your IP-PBX and network setup.  More specifically, ask if they have configuration profiles for your specific PBX.

Also ask the service provider if the test environment is vastly different from the production side. Chances are you’ll have to make an authentication or IP address change only – but everything else should remain the same.

Work with your service provider – they’ve hopefully done this hundreds of times before and can help you with a migration plan. Include emergency contingencies in the event that something does not go as planned. An emergency switch back or failover is especially important for mission-critical phone lines.

Be careful about transitioning everything all at the same time. Sometimes it might be easier to have a main number ported to your SIP provider first, but still point to your existing phone system; then to gradually cut over calls to the SIP platform. The last thing you want is for your phones to go completely offline.

The bottom line: the more work you do before your vendor selection, the fewer headaches you’ll have after SIP installation.

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