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SIP: Looking Behind the Curtain

I'll be perfectly honest. When I was asked back to Enterprise Connect to present my SIP workshop, SIP: Behind the Curtain, my first reaction was, "Again? Don't people already know what SIP is and why they should be using it?"

After all, SIP has been around since the late 1990s, and you would be hard pressed to find a telephony provider that hasn't been offering SIP trunks for years. While I completely understand why an enterprise would not want to risk its business and customer base on unproven technology, SIP has evolved to the point where I would call it more of a commodity than cutting edge.

But I learned a long time ago that just because I want something to be, there is no guarantee that it will be. In fact, looking around some of the companies I have personally worked with, I see that far too many have yet to jettison their ISDN trunks. So, until they swap out their 30-year-old technology for 20-year-old technology, it appears that I have my work cut out for me.

Putting Myself in Your Place

My approach to putting together a presentation is very simple. I ask myself, "If it was me in the audience, what would I like to learn?" In the case of SIP, I would want to know enough about this technology to not be afraid of it. This is especially important for those that will be tasked by their management to research the best way to implement SIP. You need to understand the vocabulary of SIP when you speak with carriers and equipment providers. It's tough to know what you are hearing if you aren't well acquainted with the phrases and terms.

Next, I would want to understand the value proposition of SIP. Nobody spends money on new technology for the sake of newness. I would want to learn how to articulate the costs and cost savings of SIP to those who control the purse strings of my company.

Since every plan of this nature is fraught with risk, I would want to know what could go wrong, how to recognize problems, and what needs to occur to set things right again. While SIP has been successfully implemented thousands of times across the world, mistakes, misunderstandings, and Murphy's Law have the potential of driving up costs, driving away business, and aggravating users inside and outside of an enterprise.

This leads to the last big thing I would hope to go home with: How do I go about converting to SIP? Where do I begin, how do I carry out the transition, and how do I know when I'm done? Knowing me, I would also want to know what I should be thinking about after I'm done. After all, our communications industry has been in constant flux for decades. There is always something new on the horizon poised to replace this year's latest and greatest technology -- even 20 year old SIP.

A Little Bit Nerdy, A Little Bit Not

Here is what I can promise you if you take a chance on my session. First, as someone who personally loves to know what makes things tick, I will spend time explaining SIP as a protocol and as an architecture. You will learn the difference between a SIP User Agent Client and a SIP User Agent Server. You will see examples of SIP Proxies and Redirect Servers. And you will learn what a Back-to-Back User Agent is and why it's important.

You will learn this because this is how SIP will be described in session border controller (SBC) documents. You will learn this because I have seen carriers send over the most convoluted questionnaires that freely bandy these terms about.

And speaking of session border controllers, I will spend a decent amount of time on why you need one. I will also give you a few good ideas as to where it needs to be positioned.

While a deep dive into SIP security would easily triple the time allotted for my session, I will introduce you to the basics of what you need to do to protect your enterprise from the bad guys.

Lastly, I will jettison all the geek speak, and provide you with the steps you need to take as you prepare your SIP rollout. These are the things I've done during my many SIP engagements. No two organizations are exactly alike, but they all have enough in common to make this a worthwhile discussion for everyone.

Mischief Managed

I hope I have been able to convince at least a few of the SIP holdouts as to why they should attend my session. There is also room for those who have already started on their SIP journey. You may only get one or two new ideas, but there is value in that, too. Heck, I may even learn something from the audience, and that will make this session as valuable to me as I hope it is for you.

Attend Andrew's SIP Tutorial, "SIP: Behind the Curtain," taking place Monday, March 12, from 2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. And learn more about SIP/SIP Trunking at Enterprise Connect 2018, March 12 to 15, in Orlando, Fla. Register now using the code NOJITTER to save an additional $200 off the Early Bird Pricing or get a free Expo Plus pass.

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