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While the benefits of SIP trunking are well documented, an area that often gets overlooked is the range of management and administration that is extended to customers.
Unlike the physical limitation of circuit-based telecom trunks, the IP-based nature of SIP trunking is highly dynamic. Once provisioned, SIP trunking services can be reconfigured on the fly, such as adding call capacity or redirecting call traffic around trouble. As a result, businesses can now take advantage of a whole new set of management and control models that have formed around SIP trunking.
At the most basic level, SIP trunking providers offer the same level of full-service support they provided with their legacy telecommunications circuits, retaining complete responsibility and control over their customers' communications infrastructure.
For small businesses that want to maximize the benefits of SIP trunking but lack the in-house technical expertise to manage their own services, relying on the service provider to install, provision and maintain their trunks is likely the easiest option.
The downside of service provider control, however, is a lack of agility. All changes to services require a customer to contact the service provider, who then initiates the changes. The high level of human intervention required in this provider-driven support model adds a cumbersome layer to dynamic SIP trunking services.
More and more businesses, however, are opting for shared responsibility of administrating their SIP trunks. In these cases, the service provider will do the initial provisioning of services and number porting and will then extend the most common administrative operations to the customer.
Web portals, APIs offer administrative controls
Through a dedicated Web portal, businesses can see the status of their deployed trunks, access call detail records, and, through analytics, identify capacity and other issues that impact their communications infrastructure.
More importantly, the Web portal also enables businesses to make changes to their SIP services, including adding or reducing call capacity, re-routing numbers between locations and allocating new phone numbers. For businesses with capable in-house IT staff, self-service Web portals allow for tailored communication services to meet their exact needs and quickly adapt to changes in the future.
Several providers have taken this self-service or shared control to the next level, exposing control of SIP trunking services through APIs. These APIs allow purpose-built applications to receive real-time intelligence on call volumes, network and call status, and allow programmatic changes to be made to the services in response.
For example, a call center application, through APIs, can sense a spike in call traffic and dynamically allocate additional concurrent call paths to handle the additional load. Likewise, when the spike in calls diminishes, the application can scale back down to a normal SIP capacity.
API-driven SIP trunking services can accomplish all of this without any human intervention. While not every business needs voice services to be this dynamic, API-driven SIP trunking services are enabling a high level of feedback and automated responses that are simply not possible to achieve with legacy services.
Ultimately, unlike the telecom services of the past, SIP trunking services are designed for the cloud era, with tiered leaves of administrative control to match. Businesses looking to make the jump to SIP should consider which level of management and control best suits their organization and its needs.
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