Session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking is a technology that, while simple in concept, is complex in deployment. The beauty of SIP trunking is the ability to read messages as they travel between two devices, to see the session initiation. While the simplicity of the technology is attractive to enterprises, the implementation of the technology can be daunting. Approximately 20% of SIP trunking installs run into difficulties during installation and operation.

The complexity of SIP trunking: The sheer number of network elements involved with SIP trunking make it a complex implementation. Combined with the often large number of manufacturers’ service providers that may be necessary participants in SIP trunking, a change that influences only a line item or two on a telecom invoice comes with a lot of potential for problems.

Creating a plan: It’s important to have a detailed plan for implementation, with a timeline that allows for a slow moving, cautious approach. Problems in the transition can happen at a variety of spots, including the private branch exchange (PBX), edge-device vendors, equipment manufacturers and SIP trunk providers.

The most critical step for enterprises adding SIP trunking is to create a team that will handle the transition. Allocating resources and staff to navigate the change and address any problems is important, but they’ll also need to begin with design simplicity as the goal.

Nearly every SIP trunking configuration requires a Session Border Controller (SBC) which terminates the SIP trunk and offers security, call handling and management features. It may also fill the need for a network edge device for the wide area network (WAN).

Rather than sift through the seemingly countless choices for SIP trunking providers and separate SBC providers, you can instead create a procurement package for IP-WAN connectivity that includes the requirement that the provider is responsible for the WAN edge and the SBC. In your procurement documents, be sure to designate that the bid is for an installed configuration that works with IP switches already in use and any cloud connections that will be necessary for your business processes.

Careful planning includes a communication of clearly-defined enterprise needs and a complete cost/benefit analysis that includes all considerations related to WAN requirements, new equipment and WAN routing. You’ll need a thorough assessment of end-to-end management costs, as well as verification that bandwidth is adequate for SIP trunking.

Roll out your transition with caution, and plan ahead for each player in the process to sign off before implementation begins. At each point in the scheduled process, it should be possible to pull out and go back to the original configuration.

Installing SIP trunking is complex, but with the right providers, you can experience a successful implementation. Contact us at Clarksys to find out more about the right steps for SIP trunking deployment.