One of my wife and my favorite hobbies is to look at new homes. We always find it fun to see what the latest design trends are and how quickly the features in new homes seem to improve. One of the downsides is the inevitable comparisons that we make to our existing home. After touring new models, our house can seem downright drab and we are sometimes frustrated that there is no cost effective way to upgrade our house to match the latest features. During one of our visits, it occurred to me that owning a home is a lot like managing a network.
Features and technologies are constantly improving…but much like I’m stuck with my old kitchen counter tops, network managers can feel like they are tied to legacy infrastructures that are too costly to upgrade. Many customers I speak with are eager to adopt VoIP but can’t find a way to overcome the cost of entry. They have sunk large amounts of capital in their existing TDM phone networks and don’t want to make another investment in upgrading to SIP trunking.
Fortunately for network managers, there is a cost effective and scalable way to stage the migration from TDM to SIP – the use of an IAD!
An IAD (or Integrated Access Device) is simply a router that contains the additional capability of making a SIP to TDM voice conversion. IADs can be configured with PRI, CAS Trunking or Analog (FXS) handoffs. This capability allows network managers to keep their TDM voice equipment in place while leveraging the cost benefits and feature functionality of SIP based voice services.
Customers can converge their voice onto their MPLS or internet circuits to lower cost while leveraging advance voice features like one number ringing, one number dialing and outage failover; a true win-win for network managers. Even better, the cost savings from the staged migration can be used to fund the upgrade to a fully native SIP solution with a network based IP PBX along with SIP handsets.
Now that I think about it, I wish that it was as easy to upgrade my kitchen as it is to move to SIP trunking! If I want to replace my countertops or cabinets I really only have two options. I can pay someone a lot of money to do it for me, or I can pay a little less and hope I don’t ruin the rest of my house (and possibly my marriage) while using a sledge hammer and crowbar to rip out the old ones.
Network managers have a much more elegant solution. They can utilize SIP over their existing private or public networks, convert it to TDM at their office locations with an IAD, continue to use their existing voice equipment and use all of their savings to fund their end state voice network. Wouldn’t it be great if home improvement was that simple?