Tag Archive | phone system

SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX in Canada will speed HD Voice for small business

SIP trunks are simply another way of saying VoIP Provider for your phone system. A SIP trunk is a connection from a PBX (phone system) using SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to an ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider).

It might sound complicated but it’s really quite simple, SIP trunks take the place of your legacy telephone company. Most phone systems out there today are more than a couple of years old and are likely based on circuit switched technology. Newer IP-PBXs use packet switching technology, which means they leverage the Internet to deliver the same features you have now, and then some. The difference could be minor or major depending on what your PBX is capable of and what your ITSP can deliver in terms of features and functionality.

Since the PSTN (public switch telephone network) is tied to aging circuit switched technology it has limitations in terms of what media it can support. Essentially, it can deliver low quality voice, that’s it.

SIP Trunks replace older PRI and POTS interfaces that we are used to and bring to the table a wide variety of communications options. Depending on your IP-PBX and your ITSP you could potentially look forward to HD (High Defenition) Voice and potentially HD Video.

HD voice (and video) for small business in Canada will happen, it’s only a matter of time. As broadband providers increase upstream bandwidth and dual WAN link-failover devices become common place, SIP trunking will accellerate in growth and on-net (calls made on the ITSP network) HD Voice will become common place.

Unfortunately, HD communication off-net (eg. PSTN) is not going anywhere at any great speed. Jeff Pulver is back as he reboots the communications industry with his new HD Communication Summit. I welcome Jeff back with open arms, if anyone can convince operators to increase speed towards wide-band/HD adoption it would Jeff Pulver.

Today we can see SIP trunking providers and hosted pbx providers supporting wideband codecs and devices on their networks. This will allow user to communicate in high definition with other users that have devices that support it, in brief you could have better calls between you and your colleagues in the office and remote office workers connected to the same PBX, and that is a step in the right direction.

How much bandwidth do I need for Response Point? G.711 vs. G.729

G.711 is the default audio CODEC for most Response Point phones and requires approximately 90Kbps bandwidth upstream (your voice going out) and 90Kbps bandwidth downstream (your caller’s voice coming in).

To calculate peak usage take the peak concurrent callers x 90Kbps. For example: 5 concurrent calls x 90Kbps = 450Kbps is the required bandwidth for each direction. Keep in mind, this does not account for VPN usage for remote users or voice mail to email etc.

As an example, if you have a 1Mbps ADSL connection from your service provider, you might have an upstream bandwidth of approximately 700 Kbps. A conservative approach is to estimate just over half of the upstream bandwidth is available, ISPs generally over-sell their bandwidth. In this case, you could safely support 4 simultaneous G.711 calls if you were not doing anything else (e.g. downloading email, listening to online radio, downloading large files, etc.) on that connection.

The SMB Digital Voice network also supports G.729, which uses approximately 20Kbps bandwidth upstream (your voice going out) and 20Kbps bandwidth downstream (your caller’s voice coming in) for each call. G.729 provides very good call quality while minimizing bandwidth usage. The only noticeable difference would likely arise during on-net calls (calling other users on the SMB Phone network). G.711 offers a higher quality on-net call because G.711 does not compress audio, but as soon as the the call is handed off to the PSTN the call quality between G.711 and G.729 is hardly noticeable.

G.729 offers some real benefits, the most obvious is the 400% decrease in bandwidth capacity requirements. G.729 also handles Jitter more efficiency during times where low bandwidth / high congestion would likely render a similar call using G.711 unintelligible.

You can force your phone to use G.729 on Response Point handsets but some are harder to configure than others. For example, on Aastra 675x phones the global SIP settings are grayed out out via Javascript on page load making it tough to set the codec.

As a general rule of thumb, we like to recommend an independent broadband connection that you can use for Response Point. You may want to acquire a router that has dual WAN link failover, VPN Server (for remote sites) and some QOS traffic shaping functionality.

SMB Digital Voice integrated with Microsoft Response Point

A slide from John Frederiksen's (standing room only) keynote at ITexpo '09 Miami making reference to the new relationship with SMB Phone in Canada.

Every Microsoft Response Point system sold today is now bundled with the SMB Digital Voice service. Through the Response Point Administrator one can add SMB Phone service to their Response Point system in under 5 minutes.

Nortel yanked from NYSE?

Telecom equipment manufacturers are put to the test as the economy tightens.

Things are not looking all that rosy for Nortel these days, Canwest news had this to say..

With significant declines expected for the telecom equipment market in 2009, Nortel Networks Corp. runs the risk of losing market share regardless of whether it actually files for bankruptcy.

But while the company has denied it is pursuing insolvency protection and analysts say reports that it will are premature, others say a pre-emptive filing might not be a bad idea.

While Nortel is unlikely to face cash issues in 2009, UBS analyst Nikos Theodosopoulos said it might make sense to file in advance of a cash crunch.

Nortel on Thursday received notice from the New York Stock Exchange that it has six months to bring its average common share price back above $1 US, although the company said it is considering another share consolidation to remedy the problem.

Is this a reason to completely remove Nortel from consideration when shopping for a new small business phone system? No, it’s likley that they will get bought up or the government will bail them out (ugh, that is a whole other blog post), but if I were an SMB/SME looking at a Nortel solution I would likely give it some extra thought.

Can Response Point compete with Nortel in the SMB/SME space? I certainly believe that Response Point, when combined with high availability Internet and VoIP SIP trunks, drives great value and features not usually found in the 50 seat and under IP PBX offers.

The most significant advantage Response Point has over the competition (not just Nortel) is that it’s so darn easy to manage. Check out the Response Point Videos, more information on Response Point for Canada.

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