By Dan Baldwin
Many of our Southern California based multi-location business customers ask us how they can get the upgraded "VoIP features" in their old PBX business phone systems like "voice mail in my email", "simultaneous ring", "work-at-home", etc. without having to "fork lift out" all the old phone systems in their multiple locations and buying all new IP-PBX phone systems.
For a couple of years now the answer to this inquiry has been "SIP Trunks". As many business end-user IT directors have learned, SIP trunking is an IP (Internet protocol) solution that uses a "black box" to connect an older analogue PBX business phone system to a broadband public or private business Internet connection.
"But who's SIP trunk black box to use and why?" is the main question asked by discerning IT directors. Just saying that a SIP trunk provider has a black box doesn't mean the solution works. Inside every IT director is the critic who says, "I think you should be more explicit here..." quoting the famous cartoonist Sydney Harris.
(Very few IT directors keep their jobs by accepting "and then a miracle occurs".)
This is why we introduce IT directors shopping for SIP trunking solutions to BandTel. In BandTel's Chief Technology Officer Peter Sandstrom, IT directors sense a kindrid spirit. When they read Peter's SIP trunking blog they hear not a salesperson but a peer who's answering their detailed "how does it work" questions without the usual sales fluff and marketing nonsense.
To let our business customers and prospects hear from Peter directly, we recently recorded an audio podcast with him to allow him to answer directly the question, "Why is BandTel better that their SIP trunking competitors for multi-location business customers."
Click the audio player below to listen to the interview. Scroll down further to access some of the detailed white papers that Peter references in the interview.
After listening to the interview call us so we can introduce you to BandTel and let you know how BandTel compares to the other SIP trunking solution providers we work with.
BandTel's CTO Explains How They're "Technically Better" Than Their SIP Trunk Competitors
Audio Podcast Description:
BandTel Chief Technical Officer Peter Sandstrom explains why BandTel suite of SIP trunking solutions are distributed by telecom agents and channel partners to their best multi-location end-user customers for use in their business phone systems.
Today we're speaking with Peter Sandstrom, Chief Technical Officer of BandTel, a solution provider that bills itself as "The Global Leader of Pure SIP Trunking". Peter thanks for speaking to us today.
1. Peter, for our listeners who are still trying to understand how SIP is different from other kinds of
transport mediums, can you give us a quick 90-second primer on what business owners and technology decision makers need to know about SIP and how it fits into their broad spectrum of business communications solutions?
Sure Dan. The core concept to take away with SIP as it related to voice telecommunications is that now you can move and converge all your voice communications over to the data (IP) side of the house.
Doing that gives you an enormous cost cutting potentials. With the migration of voice to a packet
based IP network you now have only one (not two) transport mediums to deploy, support, and
The cost savings potential of doing can be significant. Then beyond that packet telephony opens up whole new areas of application and usage possibilities that simply would be impossible or impractical to do with old circuit based PSTN technology.
2. Give us a quick history of BandTel. How is it that BandTel got into the SIP marketplace and which other SIP providers are seen by end-users as your nearest or most obvious competitors?
BandTel was started back in 2005. From the beginning we had decided to focus on enterprise and
larger scale users that had at their premise some sort of trunked device; i.e. by that I mean a PBX,
IVR (interactive voice response), or larger scale gateway. At that same time we also steered away form the residential and the hosted market place.
We felt back in 2005, and still do today, that our NPlus(tm) switching solution (which we'll go into shortly) was better suited for business oriented end user, and so gave us an advantage in that particular vertical space.
3. Let's talk about the top four solutions that BandTel's bringing to the business communications
marketplace. For each, how do you answer these questions?
- What is it?
- What customer problem does it solve? (What current situation is the customer migrating out of to get to it?)
- What's the cost/benefit justification?
- Why are your end-user customer choosing BandTel over your competitors for this particular solution?
A. NPlus(tm) - Let's start with BandTel's core, which is our NPlus switching architecture. Early on
we realized we needed to be as good or better then the PSTN when it came to reliability. We were
serving business users, and in that space going being down was not an option. So our answer was the NPlus(tm) concept.
BandTel has created a switching architecture that offers true redundant operation for the end
user. Any call in our network can be routed to any of our switches at any of our switching points of
presence. The dynamic connection between the customers SIP devices and BandTel's N switches is truly unique, and offered only by BandTel.
What that does is offers the end user total network switch survivability, and true non stop operation. This we feel is even better then PSTN, where you are always hardwired to a single telephone switch. We know of no other SIP provider today that offers this sort technology and service.
One of the biggest complaints of users of VoIP today is there service providers go down. BandTel,
since turning up NPlus(tm) back in 2006, has never been down. We win a lot of business because of that.
B. DID/800 Toll Free Global Number Services (GNS) Next let's focus on BandTel's Global Number Services, and Virtual Trunking. BandTel has the ability to offer customers a service that can terminate a DID call from almost any rate center in the United Stated, and many DIDs from foreign rate centers as well, to any customer SIP end point, regardless of where it is located. This is one of those VoIP applications that is simply impossible to do in traditional TDM telephony space at any price.
Lets taken an example of one of our customers using BandTel GNS. If you dial a shopping mall for information in the USA there's an 80% chance it will be transported over BandTel using the global
number services routing.
This particular client has provisioned close to 1,000 DID numbers with us in rate centers all across the USA. The DIDs correspond to local dialing areas for the mall they wish to serve. So when these DIDs are dialed they are all routed by BandTel back to one of two large IVR systems in BandTel SIP space owned by our client. One is on the East Coast. The other the West. There's no long distance charges incurred by the caller or our client, and the end user thinks they're placing a local call to the mall.
This is the type of application that, for all practical purposes, is impossible to do in PSTN space. So for an organization that wish's to be freed from the PSTN rate center, and have no geographical ties to location for DID calls, this service is invaluable.
We have a white paper on our website that goes into more detail on Global Number Services. Note that BandTel is one of only a very few VoIP carriers that can offer a service like this.
C. VectorX Let's move to the customer premise side next. BandTel has just released a new product called VectorX. We believe it is the product that has thus far been missing to solve the dilemma of voice convergence for the small to medium size enterprise. In short VectorX is a policy router that...
* address's Quality of Service (QoS) on the last mile
* address's and resolves the VoIP/firewall interface issue
* address's offers VoIP security, protecting against fraud from outside malicious users
One of the other big complaints with VoIP is it is perceived to "not sound as good" as traditional
telephone. The reason for that in almost all cases it comes back to the last mile, and the fact that the end user has no quality of service arbitration on the IP circuit from their ISP that they're using for both voice and bulk enterprise data.
What happens in that case is voice is traversing over the IP pipe, then some bulk data, like email or file transfers, comes along and preempts that voice, causing all the pops and cutouts that many have come to learn and hate with VoIP.
The only way to resolve this is to arbitrate the services. One needs to give the real-time voice priority over the non real-time- bulk traffic, such as email, web browsing, file transfers, and whatever else.
The BandTel VectorX product does just that. It is inserted between the ISPs modem and the customers firewall. And since VectorX is a bridged IP device it is totally invisible to the corporate firewall, and so requires no changes be made to any of the enterprise networking infrastructure.
Communications Technology ran our VectorX white paper as an article their June 2011 edition.
D. Tangent Last, lets talk about Tangent. VoIP is radically different from TDM PSTN technology, so your current circuit based PBX or phone system is incompatible with SIP, or VOIP. But you can
convert it and make compatible easily enough.
To do that one needs to acquire a gateway device that converts you current TDM equipment to the
new packet based SIP format. Lots of manufactures make SIP to TDM gateway products, and they all do basically the same thing.
But setup and configuration varies widely. In many cases its not trivial, so having the expertise in
house to deploy a configure and a SIP gateway, successfully, with the corporate PBX or phone
system, may be out of reach.
That being the reality BandTel answered with Tangent. Tangent is a fully managed gateway
system that we offer as a product to our customers. We configure it, install it, and manage it for the customer as part of the service. In so doing the client has little or nothing to do to interface their legacy gear successfully to BandTel SIP trunking services.
4. Solution partners have a lot of SIP providers to choose from so, different from why end-users choose BandTel, why do SIP solution partners choose BandTel to introduce to their customers over other well known SIP brands?
For starters, I'd go right back to NPlus. If you are servicing business users their phone cannot be
down. NPlus provides a means to make the service 99.999% reliable and operational. We know of
no other SIP -Trunking vendor today that can offers a similar architecture to make that possible.
Support- BandTel has a great 24x7 support team, that can work with the solutions partner 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Further, if a solutions partner joins the BandTel partner program they are
given access to some very powerful tools to help them resolve issues. One of those is called SIPView. This allows a partner to look in real-time at SIP call traces of any of their clients, and see exactly what's going on.
Another is call quality and carrier diversity. BandTel has designed its VoIP network such that
maximum delays between endpoints is kept to a minimum. In North America its almost always less the 80 Msecs, and on average 40 Msecs. This low delay makes for a great phone call. Conversely, many of our competitors are at 120Mescs and well above. We feel that 120 MSecs is the threshold for business calls. Beyond that point we fell the transport medium is not suitable.
CPE expertise - BandTel has been converging communication onto IP network for over 6 years. in
that time we learned what works at the CPE (customer premesis equipment) site. Most other SIP providers ignore that aspect of the service, and leave it as an exercise for the end user. To us that's a big mistake, and major wrong done to the customer. Getting it right at the customer premise is critical to delivering workable SIP trunking services.
BandTel knows how to do that, and shares its expertise with its partners and customers.
5. What else do end-users and business technology solution providers need to know about BandTel?
BandTel is focused on the business user. Further, we do not offer hosted services as we feel it is a technology that does not scale, and so has limited potential for the enterprise. We believe the PBX (legacy or IP enabled) is a better solution for the business user.
Last, we understand the public Internet, and know how to make it work for telephone applications. Its our view that if you can't leverage the public internet, and are asked to bring in private IP facilities` for voice, then much of the reason for VoIP is taken away. In that case you might as well just bring back the TDM circuit.
But if one understands the last mile QoS issues, Customer Premise issues, and VoIP security, then the cost savings and flexibilities that can realized using public IP networks for telephony applications are really quit significant.
BandTel does understand these issues, and has proven that over and over by successfully deploying cost effective VoIP solutions for thousands of business users across the Untied States.
How Can You Find Out if This Will Help Your Company?
Looking for a Southern California based, vendor neutral business communications technology service expert that can help you out with your multi-location telecom or data network problems?
Click here to learn about how we might be able to fix your problem for free, then contact me directly at 951-251-5155 or Dan@BaldwinTel.com.
BaldwinTel helps multi-location businesses across the United States but specializes Southern California especially San Diego County, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County and San Bernardino County.