SIP Trunks: Goodbye to an Old Era?
The implementation was a bit easier than a year ago when I snagged my first SIP trunks to begin testing and evaluating the service.
Cutting the Verizon cord was a long mulled-over decision. The implementation was a bit easier than a year ago when I snagged my first SIP trunks to begin testing and evaluating the service. After weighing the pros and cons, I concluded that the time had come for change. This doesn't necessarily mean that I endorse SIP trunks as the solution for every SMB, because not all SMBs have access to qualified services.
Our Panasonic IP-PBX is certified with just three providers: Broadvox, cBeyond and XO Communications. We are using Broadvox for our needs because they are the only fit, since we don't have T1s or PRIs; we have FIOS. SMBs must ante up good reliable links to take advantage of SIP trunking and I don’t think anything beats FIOS (except MPLS), and I mean that with the highest compliment to Verizon.
Saying goodbye to Verizon voice is not because the CustoPak (Centrex) service wasn’t good or didn't offer value--it was/is good reliable service that offers basic tried and true features. It’s simply too expensive and the savings with SIP trunks are hard to ignore. Maybe it's "The Allure!" Verizon never delivered on their rumored services for FIOS customers in the form of IP or SIP service offerings, and when the Verizon customer service rep asked why I was disconnecting service I didn't bother to tell her the same story again. Since we had FIOS and our CustoPak (Centrex) changed over to fiber (FIOS) in 2005, we had no significant issues other than Verizon made a change from PPP to DHCP and we weren't notified, and then when we replaced our router we found on Verizon's side that the ARP cache does not refresh for two hours and no matter what, our new gear would not work for two hours. It's still fair to say because we have FIOS that we enjoy better than average service that most SMBs don't enjoy.
In It's the Economy, Stupid: SIP Trunks & Hosted vs. Premise, I noted some elements of fear. I'm not afraid to go after the provider, the factory guys or any vendor. Some exposure to SIP trunks helped me decide, as did time spent logging/discovering the reasons for past outages during the last 12 months and then pestering the provider about the configuration of the services and RFOs (reasons for outage). This all led me to believe the same rules of successful service apply--don't let them wear you down; instead you must wear them out. My decision isn't what I'd call popular among Interconnects and as Sandman of Chicago is quick to point out, the past misgivings and failures of ITSPs maybe indicative of the future. Even so, the cost benefits are too hard to ignore and I really think SIP trunks will take hold, but it's going to take much longer than what industry moguls think.
I also mentioned in The Dealer/VAR World of SIP Trunking that, "the savings are too substantial to ignore." Maybe I'm a miser but I've been paying to have cheap LD with the SIP trunks I originally wrote about, and we did save money. The real savings is in the bundle--and that amounted to 33% for us in this new implementation. After install costs our payback is less than two months.
Once the paperwork was submitted to Broadvox, a steady flow of communications ensued. Shortly afterwards Broadvox emailed a letter stating, "In accordance with the FCC requirements that were listed in the email you received when your SIP Trunking service was deployed, please find 911 labels enclosed with this letter. The 911 labels must be placed on or near equipment used in conjunction with this service."
No stickers are going on my phones--my box will route 911 or 9+911 calls to the analog line--yet another reason why LCR/ARS (least cost routing/automatic route selection) is not obsolete. Broadvox also noted in their letter, "Calls to 911 for testing purposes prior to trunk deployment will be assessed a non-negotiable minimum $50 fee per call if the number placing the call is not registered." So I called customer service to verify that registration was completed before testing 911 using the SIP trunks. There were two additional pages discussing the limitations of E911 using SIP trunks.
When an email arrived with a FOC (firm order confirmation), I wondered if the cut would happen on the date, and according to the email the estimated time to port the Verizon numbers was 11:00 am and the actual porting took place around 1:45 pm, and I didn't notice any disruption in calls. Later, I called Verizon and disconnect orders were in the system for our CustoPak service. By the next morning the Verizon lines were disconnected. Granted, all I did was make minor changes to our IP-PBX and the new SIP trunks were up and running in a few minutes. But I'd like for all the die-hards and anyone else to stop and think about this. My order was received with all necessary paperwork on a Monday after 4:30 pm and the trunks were ready for testing 48 hours later. Next, we were up and running in a few minutes using our new SIP trunks –not too many Telco customers can claim this unless it's getting your bandwidth increased (usually instantly for FIOS) or simple feature activations but most other changes to your services still takes days and weeks, or longer. Still, I'm not going to ignore 33% savings and I’m not one that usually gets lured by cost savings alone.