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How to Design a Network for Changing Communications Demands

Vladimir Stanisic Alamy Stock Photo.jpg

Image: Vladimir Stanisic - Alamy Stock Photo
Internet technology and services have been accelerating at an astounding rate. Driven by the need to provide ever more sophisticated applications, services, and communications to support a market that has long been siloed and dependent on what the network and carriers can provide.
These innovations have changed the landscape of what now can be provided to support enterprise business expansion and needs. The advent of COVID-19 has forced this evolution even further and faster. We have seen just how quickly and completely we can adapt to this new reality and come out of the other side with a new standard of networking and communications needs.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes are eager to utilize their existing IT technology and infrastructure to bring SIP into the fold and integrate SIP with other applications to support their business. Traditional telecommunications is just one aspect of person-to-person user-to-user technology that is part of the overall landscape of UCaaS.
Enterprise Demand on the Traditional Carrier
Enterprise networks and users have become much more sophisticated and see the utility offered by technologies, such as UCaaS, SD-WAN, and the many ways information can be moved and routed for more secure and direct paths to information-based applications.
These innovations require leaning more on our carriers to accommodate and adopt these new schemes. Enterprise must rely on the capabilities of the carriers to meet their needs. The carrier dependency can often determine the speed of innovation if these controls are not expanded in a fashion required by the enterprise community.
What enterprise and businesses need today is their own eco system to manage, control and shape how their data and communications is managed and controlled.
Enterprise Design Needs
Enterprise networks require an environment and design specifically with the enterprise environment in mind, an environment that provides more than cost savings. These are factors to look for when expanding and designing your network.
You’ll need network visibility from a common command interface. Having many different interfaces to access for controlling your network is cumbersome and can lead to mistakes in provisioning. This also lacks in giving the administrators an overall dashboard of their network at a glance. A common interface for your network traffic allows you to see trending and spot possible issues before they happen.
Be sure to consider the need for network resilience. Having a robust network to prevent call failure is critical to the business and even more so when a call center is an integral part of your business. To obtain up time of 99.999% requires diversity in routing and alternate paths at lower layers utilizing techniques such as BGP routing and route advertising in the case of link failure. HA and geographic SBC platforms all play a critical role in assuring calls can route in the event of failures and keep these failures transparent to your user and customer base.
Finally, do not rely on a single carrier for your traffic. Be it DID calls or Toll Free, carrier diversity should be part of your network design. Utilize a design that puts you in control at the middle and top layers such that multiple carriers are a part of your routing schema. This can be accomplished by utilizing the right products and components to allow you to have primary and alternate, and even round robin carrier design.
Not only is diversity and control critical, but your key components must give you capabilities that are just not normally available with a traditional carrier offering, nor can it be found in a common interface.
When building dial plans, they need to be flexible enough to allow the enterprise to route based on DID and/or ANI and determine routes, including what carrier to use, on that dial plan.
Your key SBC components must allow you the capability to privately route traffic between your company’s internal SBC nodes without “tromboning” the calls in and out of the PSTN. This not only gives you better QoS and fewer hops but saves costs for MOU and provisioning more SIP instances to the carriers. And you should build direct access routes to products and services in the cloud such as Azure, Teams, and Zoom.
You’ll want to pay special attention to the command-and-control interface of your SBC nodes. You should be able to:
  • Generate CDRs in near real-time
  • Provide detail with data such as PCAP utilized by Wireshark
  • Monitor Port utilization
  • Monitor real-time traffic distribution reports by LATA, City and Country
  • Monitor real-time calls in the dashboard for ingress and egress traffic
  • Monitor Customized trigger alarms based on what your telecom IT team wants to monitor
  • Monitor real-time calls in the dashboard for ingress and egress traffic
  • Set up customized trigger alarms based on what your telecom IT team wants to monitor


You should always begin with the business needs when designing your key network components such as SBCs, and how they interconnect with the public switching network. Look at your business pain points, requirements, typical use cases within your company, and how you can smoothly orchestrate its operational requirement from day-to-day, and future needs aspects. Do not be constrained by provider limits with the myriad of technology options that are available today.

Nick is writing on behalf of the SCTC, a premier professional organization for independent consultants. SCTC consultant members are leaders in the industry, able to provide best of breed professional services in a wide array of technologies. Every consultant member commits annually to a strict Code of Ethics, ensuring they work for the client benefit only and do not receive financial compensation from vendors and service providers.