Making the move: 6 easy steps to SIP migration

Flexibility, agility and efficiency. It’s what every business strives to achieve. But while having the right people, processes and culture in place is often seen as a key part in making this happen, infrastructure can often be left behind. Tough economic conditions coupled with a ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality means not all services and tools are equally prioritised when it comes to modernising.

Yet legacy systems can be holding businesses back. With BT’s plan to completely phase out ISDN by 2025, it’s only a matter of time before all businesses must upgrade their telecommunications in order to stay open, let alone relevant.

Today, many organisations are enjoying the benefits of SIP trunking. SIP acts as a direct ISDN replacement, and is well known for its cost savings by only charging users for the lines they need. With SIP, businesses can enjoy having the appearance of nationwide customer coverage, even if their office isn’t physically located in the region. And best of all, SIP offers excellent resiliency is the event of a disaster, which is an important feature for any business continuity plan.

The technical details behind migrating to SIP can be IT-intense, however, the overall process is simple. If your business is considering the move, here’s a quick guide onto how it’ll work:

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Step 1. Plan the move

If you’re like most businesses, you’ll want to retain some or all of your existing telephone numbers. The process of porting can take up to several weeks, so be sure to plan the switch with your teams, and give clients and suppliers enough notice in advance.

Step 2. Size it up

Make sure your current internet infrastructure can support SIP trunking. You’ll need enough bandwidth to cope with the added voice data on the network. How much extra bandwidth will depend on what codec your phones are using.

G729 requires 40-50 kbps, and is preferred when bandwidth is limited. G711 requires 100-110 kbps, but offers better voice quality. You can calculate your overall bandwidth requirements by looking at how many simultaneous calls you’ll need, and multiplying this by the per call bandwidth requirements.

Step 3. Test your PBX

Not all SIP providers will work with all PBXs, so save yourself a headache later on by checking your PBX is conformance tested with the provider you’ve chosen. If your PBX isn’t compatible, you may need to use a connection gateway.

Step 4. Have a contingency plan

Make sure you select a SIP provider that allows you to redirect your calls. This is a part of having a robust recovery strategy, and is crucial in case you lose your connection. The right SIP provider will allow calls to be immediately redirected should the first port of call be unavailable, and can help your business to continue functioning should disaster occur.

Step 5. Give it a test

Just like any new system, it’s important to give it all a test before going live. Check trunk registrations, LAN and WAN connections, as well as call audio quality, two-way audio and firewall settings. Give yourself peace of mind by requesting a trial run from your provider before you go live.

Step 6. Ready to launch

Your provider should be on hand to lend you any support during the first day of your transition. Depending on the size of your business, having a pilot group of employees to test the change before it’s rolled out to the wider team can help with greater acceptance.

Having an understanding of the SIP migration process will not only help speed up deployment, but can also help you with communicating change. After all, change can be difficult – but not changing can be disastrous.

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8 November 2016 | Jamie Ward

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