The Future of Communications

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1 The Future of Communications Cost-Effective Alternatives to ISDN SIP TECHNOLOGY / CLOUD TELEPHONY Cavendish Communications Ltd Cavendish House, New Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 0ES

2 IP to replace ISDN? BT have announced their plan to migrate all customers over to IP services from ISDN by The future of telephony lies with VoIP solutions, in particular SIP technology and Hosted Cloud telephony. Our goal is that by 2025, all our voice customers will be served using an IP to the premises solution and will migrate off the traditional telephony platform. (Gavin Patterson, CEO of BT) A brief history of telephony lines (ISDN) First, there were PSTN (analogue) lines. Next came multi aux lines which allowed multiple calls on the same number. The introduction of ISDN (digital lines) in the form of ISDN2 and ISDN30 replaced the majority of business telephone lines in the UK, bringing with it a host of new benefi ts such as direct dial numbers and caller ID. In the UK today, there remain over 3 million ISDN channels ISDN has served businesses well for decades and as such, the growth of IP may be unsettling to some. However, it is important to understand the benefi ts that IP telephony can bring to your business. ISDN Public Phone Network What should you do? Firstly, there is no need to panic. A lot can happen in the space of ten years. It is important to start thinking about a switchover plan however. Here are some steps you can take now: 1 Familiarise 2 3 yourself with SIP and cloud solutions and consider the benefi ts these can bring to your business. Is your current hardware compatible with SIP? If not, you ll need to invest in a new system or cloud solution so factor this into your budgeting. Seek advice from a supplier who specialises in IP technology and who understands your business

3 VoIP explained You will often hear the terms VoIP or voice over IP being mentioned in conjunction with modern telephone systems and in basic terms this refers to the sending of voice information in packets across the internet. Traditionally, telephone systems have used the BT network of copper cables and more recently fi bre deployment of ISDN lines, but with the advent of VoIP, there are two main technologies which will be of interest: On-Premise Telephone System This technology is similar to what we are all used to; a telephone system installed on site with handsets deployed on desks that are wired back to the control unit. The main difference now is the way we connect to the outside world, and this is achieved through the use of SIP trunks. Cloud telephony Utilising your internet connection, your phones connect to an off site data centre where the telephone switching and features take place. The only equipment required in the offi ce is the handsets, as your hosted provider will take care of the physical lines into their premises. SIP Background & Benefits The majority of businesses in the UK are still using on premise solutions and many are connected to ISDN lines. Therefore, with this latest announcement and if you have not done so already, you may wish to consider migrating to SIP. SIP technology utilises any and all forms of broadband connectivity (ADSL, FTTC, Ethernet or MPLS) to deliver your phone lines, rather than the traditional method of copper cables. With the emergence of high speed internet access, this technology was inevitable and the good news is it brings a host of new benefi ts to your business, as well as being extremely cost effective.

4 SIP TRUNKS - How do they work? To help explain this technology, a simplified version of a typical broadband connection is shown below to demonstrate how SIP trunks are effectively delivered. Let s say the broadband pipe in this example is a 20mbps (megabits per second) connection depicted by a cross section of the theoretical bandwidth. SIP TRUNKS BROADBAND CONNECTION Each of the SIP trunks uses a small portion of this bandwidth to carry voice traffic, typically 100kbps (kilobits per second) or 0.10mbps. Therefore, one broadband connection is capable of carrying vast amounts of voice traffic. SIP trunks are effectively small portions of your available bandwidth set aside for voice calls as shown in the diagram. The Right Connectivity It is vital to ensure that all SIP trunks are deployed on suitable data connections, whether this be an Assured type broadband, FTTC (fibre to the cabinet), or Ethernet. This connectivity, in connection with a reliable SIP provider, is the main factor in guaranteeing the quality of your lines. This can be explained in the following way: BANDWIDTH IN USE On the left, our SIP trunks are functioning as normal, with our internet activity at a level where we are not using a lot of bandwidth. On the right however, where we see more heavy use of our connection (e.g. streaming video/ downloading large file) the SIP trunks no longer have sufficient bandwidth to make a call and the voice quality suffers as a result, with call clipping and often dropping of the call altogether. This tended to be a problem in the early days of SIP trunking when data connections were poor.

5 SIP trunks should therefore always be provided using one of the following: Assured broadband This is a dedicated circuit designed to only carry voice traffic. Typically these are rated to carry for example 5, 10 or 15 simultaneous calls (depending on location) guaranteeing the highest quality and availability. Assured broadband typically utilises ADSL2 technology which is widely available. Converged broadband Along the same lines as the assured service, these typically support both voice and data using FTTC (fibre broadband) which is rolling out across the country to the local cabinets. The advantage here is that due to the high bandwidth on offer, a greater number of trunks can be supported. Voice traffic is always prioritised however and will not suffer even when the connection is used heavily for data (for example streaming large amounts of video). Ethernet Dedicated fibre ethernet used to be cost prohibitive to many businesses, but is now readily available and much more affordable. With uncontended, private connections of anything up to 1GB now commonplace, a portion of the bandwidth is simply allocated for SIP traffic. What makes SIP different? Depicted below is our data connection with dedicated bandwidth for our SIP trunks as shown previously. Let us assume this is again a 20mb connection but this time with a 5mb allocation for SIP voice traffic. Even if the circuit were being heavily used for data, it would not affect the SIP trunk quality in any way. BROADBAND CONNECTION BANDWIDTH IN USE PROTECTED SIP TRUNKS

6 The Key Benefits of SIP SCALABLE You can have any number of trunks and add them / remove them as you require. For example, during a busy trading period you may look to increase the number of lines for just a month. This can be done almost instantaneously, unlike with traditional ISDN and with the associated BT minimum contract terms and long lead times of many weeks. FLEXIBLE You can move office anywhere in the country and keep the same number, without having to pay for unnecessary call forwarding. In addition, you can have geographic presence in any area of the country (e.g. based in London and using a Glasgow number.) Previously, ISDN limitations meant moving between exchanges caused a loss of your business telephone numbers. COST-EFFECTIVE SIP trunk rental is considerably cheaper than both ISDN and analogue lines, with substantially reduced (and in many cases free) calls offered as part of the package. This can in many cases offset the cost of having to upgrade to an IP telephone system or cloud platform as the savings on your monthly lines and calls can be significant. HIGH-QUALITY AUDIO A SIP call will equal the quality experienced on a copper line - something that customers are often concerned with. In the early days of SIP, issues around bandwidth could lead to voice degradation, although this has been largely eliminated with the advent of high speed connections. It is worth considering that as call quality is wholly dependent on the data connection carrying the call, suitable priority should be given to voice if it is sharing a data connection. RESILIENCE With the latest resilient SIP trunks deployed to separate data centres, a single point of failure on your lines can be eliminated without the need for adding major additional infrastructure. BUSINESS CONTINUITY It s easy and free to divert calls in the event of an emergency/relocation even without the resilient option described above.

7 In Summary: It is inevitable with this latest BT announcement that all businesses in the UK will at some point within the next ten years be moving their telephony over to VoIP, whether this be in the form of a hosted cloud solution or an on premise telephone system. The question is whether you should be looking to do this sooner rather than later, as with the numerous benefits that IP telephony brings to business, in conjunction with the extensive cost savings this technology offers, could mean you are actually better off making the switch now. For more information, please call us on or Cavendish Communications Ltd Cavendish House, New Road, Newhaven, East Sussex, BN9 0ES

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