Is Your UC Network “Intelligent”?
Author’s note: This is the third of a three-part series of posts on Session Border Controllers. You can read the first post, Session Border Controllers – 5 Reasons Why Your Company Needs One, and the second, “My Firewall Will Secure My UC Network, Right?” – Think Again
We all (hopefully) know business communications are always evolving. With SIP well over 20 years old, we’ve gone from old touch-tone phones to Voice over IP to now “cloud” unified communication providers. And, with merger & acquisitions happening every day, workers are now communicating with their new colleagues around the world across many disparate platforms and devices. Many meetings and collaboration today happen over Skype for Business or other video-enabled platforms. Furthermore, with the rise of WebRTC, communications are being embedded in applications to make it easier for customers and employees to communicate. So the pace of communication and how we communicate is under constant change.
While business communications are ever changing…that change is good for businesses, but it does come with some challenges. Today’s enterprises strive to improve customer service and make employee collaboration more efficient. So how do you optimize the use of network resources and simplify network operations? Intelligent session and routing control solutions can help enterprises reach this goal.
By centralizing policy and routing, enterprises can bring together heterogeneous multi-vendor environments and enable multiple PBXs to communicate, thereby simplifying and centralizing the routing infrastructure.
What does this actually mean? Well, Ribbon’s SBC and intelligent routing control solutions are designed to improve enterprise communications by enabling various types of policies and routing scenarios in UC networks. For example:
Centralizing Dial Plans
Large enterprise networks may contain a dozen or more PBXs spread out around the world at various office locations, with each PBX requiring a specialized engineer to provision and update dial plans, routing and subscriber information for that office. It is an operational nightmare to manage and provide new services on this sort of “un-unified” network.
Enterprises need to consolidate and centralize all those dial plans, routing and subscriber information in a single master server. This dramatically reduces both their operational expenditures (OPEX) and the management complexity associated with PBX-based information management while allowing for an easier and more efficient dial plan to manage.
International Toll Avoidance
With SBCs and a centralized policy and routing server, enterprises not only can create a centralized dial plan but, also leverage their own IP-based enterprise wide-area network (WAN) for VoIP calls. Thereby, eliminating national and international long-distance toll charges between employees anywhere in the world.
For enterprises that span multiple countries, a centralized policy and routing server can help reduce toll charges by keeping calls on-net and only breaking out to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) if necessary. Typically, enterprises save about 55 to 75 percent on toll charges with a centralized policy and routing server.
An SBC with a centralized policy and routing server also enables network failure avoidance for higher reliability in the enterprise network. The policy server quickly reroutes calls around SIP trunk failures to ensure service availability.
Microsoft Active Directory (MSAD) Routing and Translation
Microsoft’s Active Directory is used by a majority of enterprises for a centralized provisioning point of employee’s access and use of the network. When combined with a centralized policy and routing server, enterprises can create a powerful communication solution for their employees.
Enterprise users’ information can be retrieved by a centralized policy and routing server from Microsoft’s Active Directory service and provide the following services to them:
- Calls to the employee/user can be forwarded to another number (e.g. home, mobile, office) of the user based on configured policy.
- Caller display name can be populated based on Microsoft Active Directory (MSAD) attributes such as “cn” (common name), display name, user Principal name.
- Determine the users of Skype for Business/Lync voice lines and route the call appropriately.
Ribbon’s SBC and policy solutions enable enterprises to substantially reduce both their communications Capital Expenditures (CAPEX) and OPEX, while still improving the richness and quality of their communications services. To learn more about how you can intelligently manage your UC sessions here is a great, short and easy-to-read “Dummies Guide” on intelligent session control.