The Ultimate Guide forMoving From ISDN To SIPIs it time to upgrade your business telephony systems?1Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Contents The Business Telephony Landscape The History of SIP Trunks Ready To Migrate To SIP Trunks? 7 Steps For A Successful MigrationoooooooDocument your requirementsDefine expectationsDraw up a planChoose A SIP ProviderPrepare for migrating to SIPInstallation and testingPorting numbers and switching off ISDN2Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

The Business Telephony LandscapeBack in the 1990s ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) revolutionised businesscommunications and is in part responsible for the world’s rapid digital transformation.Since then technological developments have continued to shape the way we do business, withdemand for more agile and flexible solutions driving innovation, and innovation driving change.One such development is superfast fibre broadband, designed to meet the increasingly highdemands of our digital world. In turn, new technology like fibre broadband has created moreopportunities and innovation. For business communications, increased connectivity presents anideal opportunity to review existing systems and consider alternatives such as cloud telephony.Cloud telephony offers businesses many advantages over traditional ISDN services. The cost,scalability and flexibility available from cloud telephony solutions is increasingly making ISDNredundant. So much so that BT is set to phase out ISDN by 2025.If your business is currently reviewing your business communications systems, perhaps as a result ofupgrading your business broadband to a superfast dedicated connection, now is the time to considercloud telephony. This guide will help you make a business case for moving from ISDN to SIP trunksand provide a step-by-step plan for a successful migration.3Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

The History of SIP TrunksSIP Trunks? What are they?Cloud telephony uses a service called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Trunking. In essence, it is aform of VoIP telephony (Voice over Internet Protocol) that uses a dedicated IP connection such as aleased line or assured broadband.As well as facilitating voice calls, SIP Trunks can also carry other data so can be used for screensharing, instant messaging, video conferencing, integrated with CRM systems, and all othercommunications. This gives organisations, big and small, access to Unified Communications, whereall communication technologies are integrated and delivered over an Internet connection.In turn, Unified Communications can increase productivity and drive innovation in your business.Facilitating better remote working, promoting collaboration, reducing overheads, streamliningcommunications, and driving efficiencies.Tried and Tested TechnologyMany business leaders are concerned about using new technology. While being an early adopter canhave clear benefits if the technology allows your business to be more competitive, there is alwaysthe worry that it might become an expensive mistake.Although SIP Trunks may be new to you, they have actually been around for some time. In fact, thetechnology was first explored in the 1990s and has been in use since 2007. It continues to evolve –as is the nature of digital technology – but there has been significant research, development andtesting in this sphere, making it a reliable and trustworthy platform.SIP Trunk Myth BustingAs well as concerns about ‘new technology’ there are a few other SIP Trunk myths that need to bedebunked. If, when presenting the case for migrating to SIP Trunks from ISDN to your business’stakeholders you hear any of these statements, here are the facts that will help you make your case:“Call quality is poor” – our experience of other digital communications may lead some people tobelieve that SIP Trunking delivers poor call quality. For example, Skype calls are not always reliable,streaming music or video can result in buffering, and so there can be an assumption that any voicecall using the Internet could be compromised. The difference with SIP Trunks compared to Skype orstreaming entertainment is that calls use dedicated IP connections optimised for voice calls. Theyare as good quality, if not better, than ISDN calls.“SIP Trunks are not secure” – cloud telephony uses an Internet connection and therefore there arecyber security risks. However, just as with your organisation’s other IT networks and systems, thereare plenty of options to shore up your security. Firewalls are the first line defence but there areother solutions too such as fraud monitoring.4Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

“There are hidden costs” – without a doubt one of the key drivers to migrate your businesstelephony to SIP Trunking is financial. Low or free call costs are a great incentive! However, somepeople believe that there is a hidden infrastructure costs. There are two main costs for SIP Trunking:monthly contract fee and call costs. However, you may also need to upgrade your PBX to an IPBXand also switching equipment. If your business does not have sufficient broadband bandwidth tohandle SIP calls, there are likely to be additional costs to increase capacity. A simple way to calculatehow much bandwidth you need is:Number of Concurrent Calls During Peak Business Hours x 85 Kilobits per second Bandwidth inMegabits per Second (Mbps) Needed to Support SIP TrunkingEven with these additional costs, most organisations will find that they still get positive ROI.“Migrating will result in downtime” – one of the main reasons organisations do not take advantageof new systems or technology is the fear that migrating from legacy systems will result inunsustainable downtime and potentially create further problems. This means that many businessesare not benefiting from the savings and increased performance services like SIP Trunking can deliver.Migrating from ISDN to SIP Trunks is extremely straightforward and should not result in anydowntime. By moving channels one by one, your business should still have your ISDN service untilthe last channel is up.5Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Ready To Migrate To SIP Trunks?With ISDN set to be phased out by BT over the next decade, organisations need to make someimportant decisions about when is the best time to migrate to cloud telephony. We believe thatthere is no time like the present, as making the switch now will ensure your organisation benefitsfrom savings immediately.But before cancelling your current ISDN contract and contacting the first SIP Trunking provider thatappears in your Internet search, some careful planning needs to be done first.The key to any successful new network or systems implementation is in planning ahead of time anddefining your requirement and expectations clearly. The following steps are our recommendation fora successful migration: your requirementsDefine expectationsDraw up a planChoose A SIP ProviderPrepare for migrating to SIPInstallation and testingPorting numbers and switching off ISDN6Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

7 Steps For A Successful MigrationStep 1: Document your requirementsDo you know what you need?First off you should audit your existing business telephony systems and map out the existing phonenetwork. Ask the following questions: How many phone numbers/DDIs do you have?What are they and where are they directed to? Do you have Freephone or local numbersdirecting to a main number or call centre? Do you have dedicated numbers for differentdepartments or senior executives?How are unanswered calls handled? Do you have call queues, voice recordings, touch-tonebutton systems, and voicemail?What about dedicated numbers to departments or individuals? Do they have voicemail?What about the extensions for different employees? What are they and do they also havevoicemail?With the big picture of what your current business phone network looks like, you can now start tothink about improvements, how to make it more efficient and how to future-proof it too.Step 2: Define expectationsWe recommend that you open up this part of the migration process up to all employees within yourorganisation. Solicit their input at this stage to identify areas for improvement and innovation. Theymay highlight issues that you are unaware of, or have insights that can help you implement a systemthat will deliver an even better ROI.Organisations often outgrow their legacy systems and therefore you may find that there is significantroom for improvement. Use feedback from employees to create a specification for the new SIPservice.Ask employees to consider the following questions based on their different working habits. Forexample, working at their desk in the office, using the telephone system in different parts of theoffice such as meeting rooms or from other departments, accessing the business telephony systemswhen remote working or on business trips (conferences, client meetings etc.) What do you think of the current telephone system?Have you experienced any issues with the current system? If so provide details.Is there anything you can think of that will improve communications internally or externally?7Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

SIP Trunking can offer solutions to common issues that are not possible with legacy telephonysystems. Use these values adding benefits to develop your specification:Reduce costs – financial savings are a key driver for migrating to SIP. Document your current costsfor maintaining your existing systems; monthly rental; costs of adding more channels especially ifyour organisation expects to grow; and call costs.Capacity – many organisations experience volume spikes at different times of the year. Seasonalspikes such as at Christmas, at the end of the financial year, or when a new product is launched, canbe planned for and capacity increased or decreased depending on demand.Unified Communications – now is the time to also benefit from Unified Communications (UC) andmap out how this could look in your workplace. Pulling all calls, voice messages, email, instantmessaging, video conferencing, etc. into one place increases productivity and drives savings andefficiencies across the board.Remote working – many organisations would like to allow staff to work remotely and benefit fromthe increased productivity and savings to be made. However, legacy systems often prevent this fromhappening or make it unsuccessful. SIP Trunking can help facilitate much more flexible workingarrangements and allow your organisation to get these benefits and savings.Better business continuity - there are two main reasons that calls go unanswered.1) a power outage or other incident causes systems to go down and customers cannot contact you.2) a key member of staff is not available to take that call – absent or away from their desk. SIPTrunking can allow you to redirect calls to another office with capacity to take those calls, to anemployee’s mobile phone, or to voicemail or another automated service.Dream big! This is your chance to not only address any issues you have with your current businesstelephony systems, but also to make telecommunications part of your business strategy. It is not justabout making and taking calls, there are opportunities to make a real difference to how yourbusiness operates and how individual employees work.Step 3: Draw up a planWith a clear picture of your current telephone network, the pain points and the positives, and now awell-defined idea of where improvements can be made and value added, it is time to create a plan.Document what have that you want to keep; phone numbers, extensions, voicemail, automatedservices, redirects etc. Add on all the extras that you can get by migrating to SIP and look for flawsand areas that can be improved further.Go back to employees, or key members of staff, to get their feedback and stress test the plan.Business continuity should be a priority when testing how the new telephone network can work.8Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Consider the following key areas: Identify all key members of staff - make a list of the employees and senior managementwho are essential for daily operations and their deputies when away. Collect contactinformation for these people, including business phone (ext.), home, mobile, business email,personnel email and any other way of contacting them.Redirects – identify what numbers to set up redirects to if business phones or othercommunications are down.Remote working – explore opportunities for key staff members to work from home in anemergency. Do you have the systems in place to support this, is this part of your newtelephony system?Create a directory of external contacts – list contact information for all essential suppliers,contractors, and service providers.List all communications equipment - create an inventory of all your communicationsequipment (phones, PCs, laptops, mobile devices, fax machines etc).Assess back up processes – make sure that there are robust back up processes in place forcritical data relating to communications. The frequency of backups should be aligned withthe importance of data to business operations.Safekeeping of critical data – your ability to enact disaster recovery and business continuityplans may depend on having access to certain data such as logins. For example, whatinformation will you need to have to redirect phone calls to alternative numbers? Thisinformation must be kept securely and be accessible to key members of staff in anemergency.Identify alternative supplies – if you are unable to access essential equipment such asphones or equipment, for example if your premises are out-of-bounds for some time, youmay need to rent or purchase replacements. Have a list of suppliers that can meet yourrequirements at short notice.Explore different scenarios – different incidences will require a different response; makesure you’ve considered all possible scenarios. For example, connectivity issues, localisedpower outages (both affecting your business only and also affecting a wider area), yourbuilding being inaccessible because of fire, flooding etc., equipment being permanentlydestroyed vs. temporarily unavailable etc.Create your Business Continuity Plan – as with your critical data, ensure all the relevantinformation is kept in one document and that it is circulated to key members of staff. Alsokeep extra copies at a secure offsite location.Test the plan – a Business Continuity Plan is worthless if you do not test it thoroughly.Testing will identify any flaws and ensure that key members of staff know what theprocedures are.Review regularly – changes to your organisation, such as migrating your business telephonyfrom ISDN to SIP, moving to new premises, expansion etc. will have an impact on yourBusiness Continuity Plan. Schedule regular reviews and always review and test after anysignificant changes.While you will be unable to test your BCP extensively until you have migrating to your new SIPservices, it will help you to align the services with your business operation and ensure they are fit forpurpose.9Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Step 4: Choose a SIP providerNow you have scoped out the project it is time to find a SIP provider. The following five points willhelp you benchmark different providers.#1: SecurityFor any company switching over to a SIP provider, or placing any of their communications in thecloud, security should always be the top priority. When weighing up different vendors, look out forthe following phrases: TLS: Transport-Layer Security is a widely used (also referred to as SSL) cryptographic protocolthat ensures the connection is private and safeguards message integrity. For extra security,IP-PBXs and SIPs should operate behind firewalls and if necessary, transmit safely fromwithin a Virtual Private Network (VPN).STRP: Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol isn’t as commonplace, but this allows for liveencryption of audio streams, for added security.Also look for providers with ISO certification and those that are transparent about their data securitypolicies.#2: SupportIdentify provider that offer excellent support. Working with a provider that offers first-class supportmeans you won’t be without a phone line for long if anything goes wrong. Knowing that you can beup and running quickly, even when you need disaster recovery support, is essential for peace ofmind and business continuity planning.#3: CommunicationSIP providers are in the communication business. They exist to ensure you can call clients andcolleagues and they can call you; or you can do a conference call, or do a quick screen share. But itdoesn't help anyone if they speak in jargon and acronyms, making everything twice as confusing asnecessary. Work with a SIP provider that speaks in plain English.#4: PriceWhile SIP Trunking offers significant cost savings and is a key reason that organisations move to SIP,don’t choose a provider based on price alone. Cheaper providers are unlikely to offer the support orService Level Agreements you may expect, so compare different providers based on what they offer,as well as price.#5: ConnectivitySpeak to a SIP provider early on to see if you need to make any changes to your business broadbandbefore investigating further. You will need enough bandwidth to use SIP services and therefore yourbusiness may need to first invest in fibre optic broadband.Once you’ve identified and chosen a SIP provider the next few steps will be straightforward as theywill guide you through them.10Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Step 5: Prepare for migrating to SIPWith your SIP provider identify what additional equipment or services are required. This couldinclude:Increased bandwidth – your Internet connection will need to handle voice data and therefore youmay need more bandwidth. Remember the simple way to calculate what you need:Number of Concurrent Calls During Peak Business Hours x 85 Kilobits per second Bandwidth inMegabits per Second (Mbps) Needed to Support SIP TrunkingAn Assured Broadband Connection or a Leased Line is typically needed for ensuring this connectionis dedicated only to your business and not shared with the public.PBX – your existing PBX may not be compatible with your new SIP service and so you will need toupgrade to an IPBX. Make sure your SIP provider checks the interoperability between your PBX andtheir SIP services and factor in any additional investment in hardware into your budget.IP phones – check to see if your existing business phones are compatible with SIP calls. Whileanalogue handsets will work with SIP you may lose some of the functionality with older phones.Switches – for optimum performance data traffic and voice should be separated completely usingswitching equipment. What you need will depend on the number of phones using the system. Withyour business telecoms network clearly mapped out, your SIP provider will be able to advise you onwhat switching infrastructure you need.Step 6: Installation and testingAt this point you can hand over the migration process to your SIP provider who will manage theinstallation and testing. However, you will also want reassurance that everything is working asplanned by trialling the test numbers.Put your new telephony system through its paces by testing it against your plan paying particularattention to the procedures outlined in your Business Continuity Plan.11Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

Step 7: Porting numbers and switching off ISDNOnce you are confident that your new SIP services meet your expectations it is time to port phonenumbers to the new service. If your business uses location specific phone numbers but you wantthese calls to be answered your central office, these numbers will require porting.This means keeping the number and moving it to your new service provider – it’s a commonprocedure with mobile phone services. With business phone numbers, this can take around 14 daysdepending your existing provider and the porting agreement in place.Once you have confirmation that these numbers have been ported you can switch off your ISDNservice.ConclusionIt really is very easy to migrate your business telephony from ISDN to SIP Trunks and with ISDNbecoming increasingly obsolete there are compelling reasons to do so now. As with any new ITnetwork implementation it is important that your business prepares thoroughly before pressing themigration button; but if you have followed the steps outlined above your new SIP service shoulddeliver significant savings and other business benefits in a very short space of time.If you have any questions about migrating to SIP Trunks and would like to speak to an expert aboutyour business telephony, please get in touch. Call 0161 788 000012Incom-CNS is the UK's ultimate communications partner.Call our team on 0161 788 0000 or email [email protected]

redundant. So much so that BT is set to phase out ISDN by 2025. If your business is currently reviewing your business communications systems, perhaps as a result of upgrading your busi