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SIP Implementation Tips: How to Mitigate Surprises When Porting Phone Numbers

Starting early and good communication are keys to a smooth migrationm

When implementing a centralized SIP solution, there are a few activities you may be familiar with--like making sure your network is Class of Service-ready before getting started, or confirming that you have the necessary bandwidth. However, there are other, less-discussed implementation activities that will cause trouble if not anticipated.

In this and future posts in a series, we're going to cover some of the more common SIP implementation surprises--including porting, Caller ID, fax/modems/alarms, and more--and ways to overcome those challenges. Today, we'll focus on the specific issue of number porting. How do you effectively manage the porting of several hundreds or thousands of phone numbers at one time?

Tip #1: Get Your Current Carrier Involved Early in the Process--Your current carrier plays a big role in the process. Porting can be challenging because your new SIP carrier won't have sole control over the process. You'll be depending on your current provider--the carrier that is losing your business--to handle their part of the process. This can be challenging, especially if you're trying to accomplish the porting process during a single big migration night or weekend. With a large site and/or a lot of phone numbers, and the losing carrier having little motivation to make your needs a priority, getting an early start is critical.

Tip #2: Locate Accurate Documentation--To accurately and effectively port phone numbers from your existing carrier to your new carrier, you'll need to document your current circuits and DIDs. Start looking for that documentation before beginning the migration process, because it can take a long time. If your company or one of its branches has moved locations, if you're still using PRIs that were installed decades ago, or even if you just have a large site with lots of numbers, documenting everything will take time.

To get started, request your Customer Service record from your current provider--but do so long before you need it, as it can be time-consuming. Best-case scenario, you'll be able to take advantage of e-bonding, where your circuits and DIDs can be electronically transferred from your old carrier to your new carrier. But if you have an extremely large Customer Service record with thousands of pages, e-bonding may not be an option, meaning you'll need to manually review and document circuits and DIDs based on a printed record.

Either way, definitely get started early so you're ready for whatever challenges arise.

Tip #3: Be Mindful of Concurrent Order/Activity Restrictions--Another challenge that may surprise you during migration is that your current carrier may restrict you to one open order or activity on a circuit, which means that if you have something else going on with the circuit, voice or data--like an order for new DIDs or a separate porting request--you may not be able to place a new porting order. This is especially relevant if you're planning on a staggered migration where you're moving some phone numbers one night and some the next night.

So ask your current carrier what kinds of restrictions, if any, they place on concurrent orders before you finalize your migration plan.

Starting Early & Good Communication are Keys to a Smooth SIP Migration
Centralized SIP can bring many amazing benefits to your organization, so don't let number porting challenges slow you down. By getting an early start on the process, gathering accurate documentation, and understanding any activity restrictions your current carrier has in place, you'll be able to enjoy a smooth migration to centralized SIP.