SIP Trunks Get Easier

by Andrew Prokop | Arrow Systems Integration

Source: No Jitter

We all know how easy it is to get an email address. You go to Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft, fill out a few simple questions, and in less than two minutes, you have a working email address with an unlimited ability to send and receive emails to any other email user across the world. What could be simpler?

Compare that to ordering and installing a SIP trunk from a traditional voice carrier. Despite the fact that SIP is just another IP service, it can take weeks or months from the time you place an order to your first SIP call. In today's speed-of-light business environment, delay means lost dollars, customers, and goodwill. Impatient people like me want it, and we want it now.

It's communications carrier Flowroute's goal to make SIP trunks almost as easy as creating a new Gmail address -- open an account, enter your requirements, and start making calls. Okay, it's a little more involved than that, but not much.

Of course, ease of installation without functionality is worthless. That's why Flowroute set out to develop a product on par with SIP trunk solutions offered by the likes of AT&T, Verizon, CenturyLink, and Sprint. This includes:

  • Inbound calling with unlimited channels (think SIP session) or unlimited minutes
  • Outbound calling with call quality optimized over the most reliable routes available; outbound SIP channels are always unlimited
  • Independence from any particular PSTN carrier -- Flowroute's platform chooses the best carrier at any given point in time
  • Local phone numbers supported across the U.S. and Canada
  • New or existing (i.e. ported) toll-free numbers
  • Toll-fraud protection that keeps Flowroute customers safe from intruders looking to steal SIP sessions and minutes
  • Real-time active routing that allows an enterprise to maximize uptime and savings
  • A personalized portal that gives administrators the insights and flexibility needed to optimize trunk utilization

Of particular interest to me was the additional information that Flowroute supports in its SIP messaging. I may be wrong about this, but I am not aware of another carrier that supports X-Tag headers in SIP INVITE or 200 OK messages. These user-defined headers allow for the insertion of extended logging information into a CDR ( Call Detail Record). While not required by every enterprise, this additional data can be used by those that desire more detailed billing and utilization reports.

Another thing that thrills me is the inclusion of ISUP-OLI and JIP information in SIP requests. For those of you who aren't old-school ISDN people like me, these elements provide additional intelligence about the caller. For example, you will know if the call originated from a pay phone (I am assuming that they still exist) or a prison. Additionally, ISUP and JIP information can be used to identify and act on location spoofing. Again, this may not be of interest to all users, but I know of many contact centers where detailed location data could be utilized for more sophisticated call routing and reporting.

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