Archive for November, 2010


SIP Trunking For Dummies

PBX SIP Trunking For Dummies
Nextiva is a leading provider of business communications services. To learn about Nextiva’s SIP trunking pricing and service plans please visit the following web page on SIP Trunking.

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SIP, SIP Trunking and the Business
The future of individual and business communication is here. SIP can revolutionize the way you communicate. By layering applications and devices, communication can be cost-effective, speedy and simple. But first things first, you should probably know what SIP is and how SIP works.

What is SIP?
In the world of technology, there seem to be too many acronyms to keep track of. But the most important for your business right now is SIP. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF.) IETF created SIP as an open-signaling protocol standard. So what does an open-signaling protocol standard do? It helps facilitate peer-to-peer communication. And as we know, peer-to-peer communication can mean voice calls. It can also mean emails, texts, instant messaging, video conferencing, voice mails, faxes, gaming – the list goes on. And all this media is transported through different applications and devices, ranging from email to SMS to IM applications to mobile phones. There are so many ways to communicate and so many incoming and outgoing messages to sift through that communication can be tedious and overwhelming.
SIP acts to simplify communication from all aspects of it. It can connect a range of communication devices, such as phones gateways, proxies, servers, soft-phones (on PCS, PDAs, etc.), Private Branch Exchange (PMX) systems, instant messaging, videoconferences, and collaboration systems. What SIP doesn’t do is transfer the media itself, which isn’t necessary considering the range of applications designed to do this already that you are probably using already. Rather SIP is extensible, meaning it can easily employ various applications simultaneously to create a larger communication framework.
What else is SIP? SIP uses the same plain-text language as HTTP, hypertext transfer protocol, which the internet is based on. In fact, SIP was used by the open source movement and acted as a catalyst for VoIP (Voice over IP.) In fact, SIP has capabilities that far surpass HTTP, especially in regards to availability and functionality. SIP is also part of the IP Multimedia System (IMS), PC operating systems, fixed mobile convergence (FMC), and unified communications.

Benefits of SIP
Before the how, let’s address the why of SIP. Why should businesses consider SIP? SIP offers a range of benefits, mainly by connecting a range of devices to connect individuals and businesses locally and globally through voice, video and text. It simplifies communication and makes businesses technologically competitive. One of ways that SIP does this is by creating a unified virtual presence. It allows individuals and businesses to create a protocol of preferences when it comes to communication. They can choose when and how they would like to be available. SIP will allow them to change and revise these “rules” so they are only contacted in the way they would prefer. For instance, if the user in unavailable because of a business meeting, they can set preferences so all calls and messages and be forwarded to their assistant, regardless of the communication device used. So calls to the user’s mobile phone, direct office line, and even home phone can be sent directly to the assistant. Or if the user is on a business trip, all calls and messages can be routed to a smartphone. All communication can be virtually scheduled based on online information and preferences regarding communication. The best part about SIP is all protocol procedures can be carried seamlessly without any interruption and without any effort on either side of the communication. SIP can even aid in communication in a very unique way. In regards to voice, IM, video, inline translation services, multi-modal messaging (multiple methods/devices), speech-to-text translations and web-based Interactive Video Response (IVR), SIP can translate information to fit any device. SIP offers speech-to-text translations and vice-versa, where one user may only have voice capabilities and the other has only text capabilities. It translates communication between both parties.
Thus, SIP can centralize communication. We all have multiple ways we communicate: our home phone, home computer, laptop, mobile phone, office line, direct office line, texting, video chat, the list goes one. SIP grants a user one “address” for all these devices and applications. This way, anyone who is trying to contact you doesn’t have to go through a list of addresses and phone numbers to send a simple message. Rather they can utilize your SIP Address of Record (AOR,) which a single identifying number – your one public number. This links all the user’s devices to one single address. And this is all because SIP allows for Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs,) which supports both numeric and alpha numeric addresses. For instance, both phone numbers and email addresses.

How does presence work? Why is it important?
It happens constantly. You send an email to someone only to have it ignored or forgotten. You instant message someone, but they are “Away.” You call them and it goes to voicemail. After attempting 12 different communication devices, you give up and just wait it out. With an established SIP presence, the frustration dissipates. An individual or business can communicate whether the user is available and on what communication device. A user status communicates whether the user is online or offline. The availability dictates if the user is available to communicate, is away, in a meeting, on a call, or busy. The desired contact method will let those trying to communicate with an individual know which is the best way to proceed with contact. In addition, the presence allows for a protocol to be created in case of communication. For instance, if the user is inactive for a set period of time, an “Away” status will be implemented. In addition, calls can be routed from one device to another automatically if the user is not available at the former one. And all this is done automatically without upsetting the line of communication. When a call is routed through, the SIP proxy, which receives the invitation, will make a decision to where to route the call. The SIP proxy may send the call to several addresses, for instance, the user’s mobile phone, home phone and email. This is called “parallel forking.” If the SIP proxy chooses a specific address, this is call an “intelligent fork.”

How does SIP help businesses? (SIP Trunking)
Before SIP, enterprise communication have separate structures of voice and data communication but this separation can cause a breakdown in enterprise communication as the system cannot balance out fluxes in voice and data communication. This old system cannot handle an increased calls and customers receive busy signals, while the internet may be completely underutilized.
With complete interoperability, which is facilitated through SIP trunking, communications are synced with business operations. The linked system allows for communication and protocols. Calls from customers or partners can be routed and recorded instantly; emails can be forwarded, answered, written and sent within seconds. Multimedia messaging can mean that on one side of the conversation, an individual can be texting and the other can be on a voice call. Video conferencing, instant messaging and instant data exchange can make communication reliable and speedy. In regards to customer service, customers can receive timely assistance through intelligent customer routing and self-service options. In addition, privacy protocol can be built into the language of SIP, so customers and users can feel comfortable with virtual communication, which is important to survivability. These protocols can include security certificates and authentication.
SIP trunking is also extremely helpful in establishing contact centers. Formerly known as customer call centers, customers had to phone overstretched phone operators. This inefficient system meant overloaded employees and impatient customers. Now, there are contact centers, where customers can phone, email, submit messages or texts to customer service agents. In addition, there are automated services, where customers can deal with bills, ask questions and check balances with speedy, self-service. Contact centers can be divided in such a way that an agent might deal with just email inquiries , billing issues, purchases, troubleshooting, or incoming phone calls. Another department may deal with outgoing customer contact, in regards to services, surveys, or announcements.
With SIP trunking, enterprises can simplify communication by routing messages in a particular way to a particular agent and better parsing out customer information. Customers are able tor receive tailored information when their messages are part of a specific protocol. Communications can be separated by topic and media, and routed to appropriate human or non-human agents.

SIP Trunking Using An Existing PBX
The equipment that you will need for SIP trunking depends on your current system. If you have an older PBX system, then you may need a SIP-ISDN gateway. A newer system may not require this additional hardware. The gateway acts as a translator between SIP and ISDN of the SIP trunks and PBX system. The number of SIP trunks depends on how many calls the user will receive. For instance, a customer contact center may require a SIP trunk per customer service agent, so that each one could receive simultaneous messages. However, a smaller branch could well with a SIP trunk per five or six employees. Correct setup and a strong internet connection will ensure maximum efficiency and quality without time delays or data loss.

Cost Benefits of SIP Trunking
Before SIP, businesses used Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) carriers. They connected their PBX telephone network to one of these carriers and lost money – these carriers charged money even when the lines were idle or busy, incurring toll charges and expensive long distance charges. Now with VoIP and SIP, companies can integrate voice, video and data for a much lower cost. SIP trunks allow for voice and data to be transported over an IP connection. The voice data is moved to a carrier cloud, rather than pure voice circuits. Once the SIP servers connect, the data is moved. The IP circuits can carry email, video and other data as well.
Cost is reduced with employing a single IP pipe for communication. In addition, SIP is not tied to a particular geographic location, which means it has number mobility and can be used wherever and whenever. SIP trunking lower costs by granting free calls between sites, free DDI rental, and in some cases, even eliminating ISDN line rental charges. SIP trunking can do this because it links the communication system to a public telephone network with the same connection as your data services.

Conclusion
The technological benefits and cost-effectiveness of SIP trunking can be invaluable to big enterprises, small businesses and individuals. SIP utilizes existing equipment, applications and communication devices to simplify and expedite communication. It can create an online presences and allows for protocols that can initiate, manage and end communication sessions. SIP can even prioritize messages automatically for users, eliminating the headaches of sifting through hundreds of incoming messages. In addition, it reduces the frustration faced when trying to get a hold of someone because the initiator will know how and when the user is available. To remain competitive in a world that moves incredibly quickly, individuals and businesses need to stay ahead of the technological curve, SIP and SIP trunking can make this happen.

In order to learn more about SIP trunking – please visit: http://www.nextiva.com/products/pbx-sip-trunking.html


Nextiva Review – Cisco 303G

Cisco SPA 303G VoIP Phone Review

303G Business VoIP Phone

Nextiva Phone Review

Cisco has released a powerful and affordable VoIP phone. The Cisco SPA 303G is priced at $99.95 for Nextiva clients and has grown to become one of the most popular IP phones offered by Nextiva.

Since Cisco discontinued the production and distribution of its Linksys 900 series IP phones, the company has released a new line of VoIP phones that are quickly making everyone in the VoIP world forget about the “old” Linksys models. The Cisco 500 series IP phones, which include the Cisco 504G and 525G, have been taking the market by storm.

The Cisco 303G works with Nextiva’s hosted PBX business VoIP phone service using SIP technology. The Cisco 303G supports three phone lines, dual switched Ethernet ports, caller ID, call conferencing, call hold, and much more. At a price of $99.95 without any contracts for Nextiva clients, it’s a great IP phone for small businesses. Below is some additional information on the Cisco 303G and the features included with the phone.

Cisco 303G Overview

• Three voice lines
• Pixel-based display: 128 x 64 monochrome graphical liquid crystal display (LCD)
• Line status: active line indication, name and number
• Menu-driven user interface
• Speakerphone
• Call hold
• Music on hold with Nextiva’s PBX phone system
• Call waiting
• Caller ID name and number
• Outbound caller ID blocking
• Call transfer: attended and blind
• Three-way call conferencing with local mixing
• Multiparty conferencing via external conference bridge
• Automatic redial of last calling and last called numbers
• On-hook dialing
• Call swap
• Call blocking: anonymous and selective
• Call forwarding: unconditional, no answer, and on busy
• Hot line and warm line automatic calling
• Call logs (60 entries each): made, answered, and missed calls
• Redial from call logs
• Personal directory via Nextiva’s PBX phone technology
• Do not disturb
• Digits dialed with number auto-completion
• Anonymous caller blocking
• On-hook default audio configuration (speakerphone and headset)
• Multiple ring tones with selectable ring tone per line
• Called number with directory name matching
• Ability to call number using name: directory matching or via caller ID
• Subsequent incoming calls show calling name and number
• Date and time with support for intelligent daylight savings
• Call duration and start time stored in call logs
• Call timer
• Name and identity (text) displayed at startup
• Speed dialing via Nextiva’s PBX phone technology
• Option to require administrator password to reset unit to factory defaults

If you are interested in purchasing a Cisco 303G from Nextiva or receive more information on Nextiva’s business phone service, please call 800-983-4289 or visit http://www.nextiva.com/products/office/view-devices.html.


SIP Trunking: An Overview

First and foremost, SIP trunking can improve upon your existing communication. It layers multiple applications and connects different devices seamlessly. Using one “number,” all messages can be routed to the preferred device – your personal computer, home phone, mobile, etc. Calls can be routed, recorded, and prioritized. In addition, voice calls and messages can be translated into text automatically, and so can the reverse. SIP trunking integrates communication so that you and your business can receive simultaneous messages without blinking an eye. It allows for seamless and smooth communication. This is perfect for large or small businesses, especially ones that offer a customer service center.

SIP trunking can also reduce costs by granting free calls between sites, free DDI rental, and in some cases, even eliminating ISDN line rental charges. SIP trunking can do this because it links the communication system to a public telephone network with the same connection as your data services.

SIP trunking is changing the way enterprises communication internally and between each other. It enhances productivity, enhances communication, and integrates all types of communication, including voice, video chatting, instant messaging, voice calls, texting and email. It can even reduce the business’ carbon footprint and help the environment.


What Kind Of Equipment Do I Need For SIP Trunking?

The equipment that you will need for SIP trunking depends on your current system. If you have an older PBX system, then you may need a SIP-ISDN gateway bod. This acts as a translator between SIP and ISDN of the SIP trunks and PBX system. Individuals and businesses can run SIP trunking over the public internet. However, the quality will be poorer, including time delays and data loss. It is important to have a strong connection when setting up SIP trunks.

Regarding how many SIP trunks are needed, it depends on how many calls the individuals or businesses will be receiving at any give point. For instance, a customer contact center may require a SIP trunk per customer service agent, so that each one could receive simultaneous messages. However, a branch or department that is not so dependent on communication could make do with a SIP trunk per five or six employees.

SIP trunks need to be set up correctly to ensure maximum quality and efficiency, at which point they are more reliable that ISDN. Again, the most important part of SIP trunking is a strong connection – that is the only way to ensure polished and timely communication.

Most likely, SIP trunking will save you money by employing one system for most of your communication.


Advantages Of SIP Trunking

Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) is designed to connect different devices and applications to facilitate all different types of communication simultaneously, including video chats, phone calls, texts, email and instant messaging. SIP trunking connects the PBX of a user to a telephone network, sort of like a virtual phone line. Instead of transmitting information over an ISDN circuit, it sends information over a data network. This data can be the form of voice, text or even video. Both telephone line and ISDN connection can be used together to ensure constant and smooth communication.

The advantages of SIP trunking are numerous. SIP allows for the layering and cohesion of all of a user’s communication devices, from mobile phones to landlines to emails to texts. SIP trunking uses an existing connection and maximizes its efficiency, reducing the need for a monthly subscription to ISDN circuits. In addition, calls sent over the internet tend to be cheaper than calls over the telephone network, saving the user’s money. In addition, SIP trunking allows for many users to use the system simultaneously, rather than traditional circuits, which are limited to 30 users. This is especially beneficial for companies and business, including customer contact center.

SIP trunking also provides a backup system to maintain communication even if one of the connections go down. Successful businesses and individuals must be available and have smooth and timely communication. Thus, a system such as SIP trunking ensures that major players will never be out of the communication games, satisfying business partners and clients.




 
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