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SIP Forum to showcase SIP trunking interoperability for enterprises

The SIP Forum has announced SIPconnect-IT, a live testing initiative for SIP trunking interoperability, which could lower SIP trunking costs and complexity.

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking can present many challenges for enterprises. Service providers and IP PBX vendors often struggle with establishing interoperability between their technologies, which can drive up costs and slow down deployment for enterprises.

SIPconnect 1.1, a SIP trunking technical specification that was ratified last year by the SIP Forum board of directors, aims to eliminate that complexity. By complying with SIPconnect, vendors and service providers can reduce the rounds of interoperability testing they need to do for SIP trunking.

Now the SIP Forum has announced a new technical initiative for the first physical lab-based testing of SIP interoperability for SIPconnect 1.1 for vendors and service providers. SIPconnect-Interoperability Testing (SIPconnect-IT) will promote interoperability, development and testing of the specification.

Marc Robins, president and managing director of the SIP Forum, said SIPconnect-IT is meant to accelerate vendor and service provider interoperability with SIPconnect 1.1 and to promote the benefits of SIPconnect compliance in the market -- especially for the enterprise.

“The mission with SIPconnect-IT is not only technical, in terms of independent verification [and] validation that SIPconnect 1.1 is being adhered to, but also [to] do some more branding and expand the ecosystem and expand the number of companies supporting SIPconnect,” Robins said.

SIPconnect compliance benefits for the enterprise

Interoperability testing for SIPconnect is something that enterprises are demanding, Robins said.

“Companies are really looking for [SIP trunking] interoperability testing to be performed," he said. "Enterprises are very serious about SIP trunking.”

In order for service providers to certify third-party products for their networks for SIP trunking, engineers typically run tests on the products before they can be offered to enterprises, a process that is very costly to the service provider or IP PBX vendor. When vendors introduce new features and functionality in their products, those engineers have to go through another round of testing. SIPconnect can help service providers or vendors deliver those new features to end users faster, according to the SIP Forum.

SIPconnect compliance should eventually allow service providers and vendors to minimize or even eliminate the testing required by the service provider, Robins said.

Providers should save money with SIPconnect compliance, which could translate into savings opportunities for the enterprise. Vendors will also be able to bring products to market faster, removing weeks, if not months, from an enterprise’s deployment schedule, he added.

Compliance with SIPconnect will be able to reduce unexpected interoperability issues when an enterprise deploys SIP trunking, in addition to saving time on the deployment side, according to Robins.

“Enterprises don’t have to wonder what engineering changes are needed or what parameters may be at fault,” he said.  “SIPconnect 1.1 compliance eliminates a wide swath of decision making from the deployment exercise."

SIPconnect compliance also can eliminate or greatly reduce the need for a costly gateway at the end user's site, according to the SIP Forum.

There are 12 vendors and service providers currently recognized as compliant with the SIPconnect 1.1 technical recommendation, with several potential candidates who have not yet approached the SIP Forum, Robins noted.

From an enterprise perspective, Robins said seeing the SIPconnect-compliant label on a service or product should offer end users a confidence level.

“Just like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval does for other types of products, that’s our goal for SIPconnect,” he said.

The SIP Forum would like to see SIPconnect-IT grow into a yearly event. “We want companies to know that this is the way they should be going, and then offering our testing regimen for companies that are serious about displaying their [SIP] compliance to the market,” Robins said.

More on SIP trunking:

SIP trunking primer: What you need to know

Disaster recovery for SIP trunking

How to configure SIP trunking for the enterprise

Case study: Exploring the benefits of SIP trunking

SIP trunking compliance to be determined by SIP Forum

Prior to the live testing event, planning workshops will be held in early March in order for the SIP Forum to review draft test plans for the event completed by the nonprofit technology research and development company CableLabs and the University of New Hampshire - InterOperability Laboratory (UNH-IOL).

“The objective now is to gather key players interested in the developments of this testing to merge the two test plans into a single plan and to determine what we will need for the actual testing event,” Robins said.

Slated for mid-2012, the first interoperability and testing event for SIPconnect-IT will be hosted by CableLabs North American research labs in Louisville, Colo.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, News Writer

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