The face of VoIP - Different types of Implementations
VoIP and TCO
Enterprise IT products are rarely simple and many organizations find that they need to customize a product to suit their needs. In this regard, VoIP is no exception - even after a company chooses to use VoIP systems, many other network related options need to be considered.
One such decision that has to be made early on is the type of VoIP system to be implemented. At the most basic level, VoIP can be implemented through SIP trunking or as a hosted service. Generally a company chooses SIP trunking when it already has the required equipment such as IP PBXs or when those devices need to be replaced. IP technology is used to connect the internal digital or analog PBX to the voice service company (which may be a telco or VoIP provider). This type of implementation offers lower total cost of ownership, greater control and enhanced security when compared to hosted services.
Types of SIP Implementations
A typical SIP trunk can be implemented in one of 2 ways: centralized or distributed. As the name suggests, in a centralized model only the headquarters or data center has an SIP trunk to the phone service company. All other offices and work locations are connected to the hub which offers simplified network management as well as higher utilization of bandwidth. However, if the central hub goes down it will take the entire communication system with it. A distributed model on the other hand allows individual offices to maintain separate SIP trunks to local service providers. It provides greater flexibility, low latency and more control at the expense of having multiple hardware.
Hosted business VoIP services are similar to other hosted IT services such as email. Apart from the actual handsets, there is little to no equipment on the customers’ premises. The VoIP vendor typically provides all management features through a web-based console and is responsible for security, uptime, network optimization etc. Essentially, an organization cedes control over the voice network to a third-party in return for lower risk and expenses.
Managed VoIP - Factors to Consider
Managed VoIP is yet another option available for midsize businesses. An organization may choose to purchase IP PBXs and install them in their own office but outsource the management of the VoIP network to an outside vendor. The vendor may provide simple logistics support in case of additions or moves but in many cases is fully responsible for the equipment throughout its lifecycle. Selecting the specific type of implementation depends on unique factors facing a business at a particular time.