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What is SIP Trunking and Why Do I Need It?

You’re not alone if you’ve considered switching to SIP trunking—it’s a popular upgrade option to a company’s phone system, and for good reason. But with a whole alphabet soup of terminology surrounding it, from PBX to DID to PSDN, it’s no wonder so many ask the question, “what is SIP trunking and why do I need it?”

In this blog post, we’ll run through SIP trunking 101, break down the terminology surrounding it, and lay out five major benefits to explain why SIP trunking is such a popular telephony solution.  

What is SIP Trunking?  

SIP trunking uses an internet connection, rather than a traditional phone line, to operate company phone systems. In other words, it allows direct connection to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network, or traditional phone lines) through IP/Broadband.  

What is SIP trunking not? Elephants sipping water with their trunks

A SIP trunk is installed virtually over an internet connection, creating a single entry point. Hardware and wiring aren’t necessary because the need to physically connect to a phone company is eliminated.  

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a standard protocol in a UC (Unified Communications) solution and is used to enable signaling functions for VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and telephony in general. SIP and VoIP are not the same thing, but they both contribute to the same goal of connecting calls via the internet.  

SIP trunking’s “trunk” refers to circuit-switching telecommunications lines, but unlike traditional lines, it’s virtually connected using a dedicated line.   

SIP trunking is often a replacement for ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Networks), a telephony option designed to handle voice and data on a single link. Businesses switch away from ISDN for various reasons, including its lack of features and capabilities.  

Benefits of SIP Trunking

Knowing what SIP trunking is helps describe why it’s beneficial. Its features can reward businesses both financially and functionally, including in the following five ways.  

Snipping sheet of paper that says "Cost" with scissors

1. Significant Cost Savings

When it comes to SIP trunking, it’s well known that its cost savings are substantial. Here are some of the ways that SIP trunking cuts costs:

  • Reduced phone lines to one entry point means reduced charges and less IT maintenance cost
  • Phone numbers, or DID (Direct Inward Dialing Number), cost less because it doesn’t have the infrastructure costs of hardware and maintenance
  • You only pay for the lines needed or the minutes used, depending on your provider
  • Less maintenance, complexity, and administration—you no longer need to maintain IP infrastructure, and may even be able to eliminate your entire PBX (Private Branch Exchange, which switches lines on local calls)
  • Long distance service is typically significantly cheaper 

2. Eliminated Redundancy for a Unified Communications Solution

SIP trunking reduces the number of connections you need and is a great way to simplify into a single, IP-based network. If your company is spread across multiple locations, you’ll no longer need to connect each location’s PBX to ISDN.

3. Quick and Easy Scalability

SIP trunking is virtual, making it fast and easy to service or change the number of channels you need as your company grows, downsizes, or changes.

4. Flexibility

Because of SIP trunking’s scalability, it’s flexible to accommodate seasonality—where demands are greater or lesser at certain points of the year—by being able to rapidly change your telephony infrastructure to match. You can also easily change or keep outbound numbers no matter your location or if your company moves.

The number 24 circled with an arrow like a clock

5. Improved Phone Service Reliability

SIP trunking improves phone service reliability because it’s redundant—it can improve your company’s uptime during a failure or emergency by quickly rerouting service or forwarding the PBX to mobile phones. This can be done instantaneously, as opposed to up to 24 hours with other services, and without the expensive costs of call forwarding.  

Some are concerned about the security risk of SIP trunking, but when properly implemented, it is perfectly safe, if not even safer than before. This is especially true with the use of firewalls managed by your SIP provider.

Upgrade to SIP Trunking with LightBound

SIP trunking’s inherent benefits, including increased flexibility and cost savings, make it an easy choice for companies to make the switch from old technologies.

Is your company looking to buy or upgrade to a new phone system in the next 6 months? Talk to an expert to find out whether SIP trunking is right for your business.

LightBound is a SIP provider with a portfolio for all of your Unified Communications needs. We host and manage everything so you finally get a single, simplified source for local and long-distance service.

If you would like to learn more about transitioning to SIP trunking, contact us today!

Choosing a Cloud Provider is Like Buying a Home

Imagine you’re buying a new home, one of the biggest and most emotional decisions you’ll ever make. As the realtor opens the front door of the house you’re considering, you’re drawn into a world of new colors, textures, and smells.

The realtor escorts you to the dining room, where you envision your family sitting around the big oak table. Everything from the wall color to the furniture is what you’ve always dreamed about. The red sofa in the living room reminds you of your own, inviting you to sit down as though you already are home.

After seeing the living room, and especially the kitchen, you’re sold!

It sounds cheesy, but getting swept up in emotions and aesthetics is common for home buyers. Sellers seek to influence these warm and fuzzy feelings with staged decor, neutrally painted walls, and the smell of cookies baked right before the showing.

Why do sellers do it? Because it works. Once buyers are in “buy mode,” they soon forget about everything else.

But what about critical aspects of the home like the foundation or the condition of the roof that they’re about to live under? When distracted by aesthetics like furniture, buyers unwittingly wear blinders while choosing a home and core flaws go unnoticed until after move-in day.

Unfortunately, these blinders are similar to those that an IoT businesses, or any business, might wear when choosing a Cloud provider.

“Parts of the House” to Consider When Choosing a Cloud Provider

When confronted by a huge market of promising Cloud services, what are the attributes your IoT business should look for in a Cloud provider, and what are the blinders you need to look past?

1. Furniture

In the Cloud world, furniture is the brand of hardware and software that the Cloud is built with. This includes servers, network devices, storage devices, and virtualization platforms. These OEM brands can influence Cloud-buyers more than they should—and it’s these brands that often distract from other critical considerations.

These parts are important, but be warned: it can be like the new, exciting feeling of home-buying. You might see the Cloud infrastructure you’ve been looking forward to purchasing yourself and want to jump in right away. The important thing to realize is that every Cloud provider has many of these same features, and it’s only one checkbox of many that make up a good Cloud provider. Don’t let the “staging” stop you from investigating further.

2. Foundation

As a home-buyer, did you check the foundation of the home before you bought it? The answer is likely “Yes!”, because someone said you had to. If you’re buying Cloud services, you’re the one in charge, so no one is forcing, or even guiding, your hand—especially if you’re the smartest guy in the room.

But if you’re doing the right thing for the right reasons, you’ll want to check the reliability of the data center that your Cloud is hosted in, because not all data centers are the same. And not all Cloud providers even own their own data centers. A rock-solid data center with redundancy and certifications is an absolute must. Otherwise, you may find that your house is built on sand.

3. Roof

The last time you bought a home, did you inspect the roof yourself? Did you climb the ladder and check for leaks? Many homebuyers don’t. Having good internet and network connectivity is like having a solid roof over your head. After all, what good is the furniture if the roof is constantly leaking?

If you don’t feel qualified, have someone you trust check that your provider offers redundancy and failover capabilities. It’s vital that the provider has someone on staff that truly knows network so they can help you through the tough times when things go bump in the night. And they will, because if three things are certain it’s death, taxes, and internet outages.

Is there a second data center in case the first one goes down? As an IoT business, you know downtime can be devastating. A trustworthy Cloud provider will have precautions set up with this in mind, in addition to excellent connectivity and strong carrier relationships. At a minimum, you’ll want to make sure they have backup and failover options above and beyond your day-to-day production requirements.

Your Cloud provider should also offer service plans and 24/7/365 customer service for when things go wrong. Be wary of big, national corporations that sell you the Cloud infrastructure, but can’t be reached when you need them most. Make sure your provider is “always on,” and their people are always available.

Choosing LightBound as Your Dream Home (Cloud Provider)

LightBound clients not only get a good feeling when they walk in the door—they also get to enjoy that same cozy feeling for years to come. You’ll be able to check off all your boxes and sleep better at night knowing that we’ve got your back with a solid foundation and sturdy roof overhead. And, yes, we’ve got the eye-catching furniture to go with it.

This is what we do, it’s all we do—and it’s who we are.

Contact LightBound today to learn more about our Cloud portfolio and how we could be the dream home your IoT business has been looking for.

WAP: What are Wireless AP’s and Why Do They Matter?

Want to present your brand positively and professionally? Your company’s internet connection matters. The key to satisfied customers and productive employees in your office building is a fast, reliable internet connection.  

Think about the last time you worked at a location with a poor internet connection. You probably had trouble getting anything done, and frustration likely ensued. If you could have left the location to work somewhere else, you probably did.

Now imagine that the location has a reliable and strong internet connection. You work comfortably and productively in the space, appreciating how nice it is to have a reliable, fast connection. Well-installed WAPs, or wireless access points, can help provide the latter, positive experience.

What Are WAPs (Wireless Access Points)?

Growing companies rely on excellent wireless internet connection to function. An essential part of a successful wireless system is a hardware device called a WAP, or wireless access point, which makes it possible for wireless devices to connect to a wired network.  

A home network might only need one WAP, but companies typically require multiple WAPs throughout their office area, connecting each client wirelessly to the network. A proper installation of WAPs ensures a successful Wi-Fi connection. WAPs are often called access points (APs) in order to avoid confusion with wireless application protocols.  

Why Do You Need Enterprise-Level WAPs as a Management Company, Landlord, or Building Owner?

Enterprise-Level WAPs provide the following features and benefits:

  • Scales your Wi-Fi connection to a larger number of clients  
  • Enables local Wi-Fi networks to connect to other wired networks
  • Scales your network to larger distances
  • Creates reliable wireless internet access across your building or space
  • Improves your bottom line and brand perception through improved end-user satisfaction, efficiency, and productivity

In all, enterprise-level WAPs allow your company to offer the best wireless internet connection for your users, improving their experience, and benefiting your company.

Installing WAPs in Your Office or Space

How many WAPs does your office need? Where is the optimal location to place them? If all the decisions involved feels a bit overwhelming, you’re not alone. Figuring out how and where to place routers across a space for the most reliable signal can prove to be a complex challenge. Thankfully, LightBound is well-equipped with the tools and knowledge to help.

As part of LightBound’s full Cloud Portfolio, we can supply the right number of WAPs and help determine the best locations to set them up across your office space. Contact LightBound today to get started or ask any questions you might have about wireless access points.

How to Destroy Your Business By Not Having a DRaaS Provider

What if your business was losing more than $5,000 per minute? For a few hours? What about a few days? This is the estimated cost of critical applications being down or outages due to disaster, according to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey (2014). Data-loss disasters aren’t a rarity, with more than one-third of respondents having lost one or more critical applications, VMs, or critical data for hours within the past year of the survey.

Historically, most of us think that disasters are primarily due to natural disasters like like fires, floods, or tornadoes. While mother nature is partly to blame, virtual and logical disasters are more common today, including hackers, security exposures, and major network outages that disconnect employees and customers from infrastructure and applications.

Unfortunately, many businesses remain vulnerable to disaster, with 3 out of 4 at risk of failing to “make the grade for Disaster Recovery Preparedness.” The cost is lost business, damaged reputations, and lost resources diverted to disaster recovery. Take a look at three real-life disasters, illustrating the devastating costs that could have been prevented with a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provider.

1. Delta Backup Failure Takes a Toll on Air Line’s Reputation and Bottom Line

Major American airline, Delta, faced a nightmare when a critical control module at their Technology Command Center malfunctioned. The surge to the transformer and loss of power forced them to halt flights on August 8, 2016. Though power was restored quickly, “critical systems and network equipment didn’t switch over to backups.” Thousands of passengers were left stranded and “#Delta” trended on Twitter because disgruntled customers spread negative publicity. A DRaaS solution would have significantly reduced the downtime, financial loss, and damage to Delta’s reputation as a reliable airline.

2. Company’s Lack of Backup Means Devastating Data Loss

In another instance, a company’s junior software developer “instantly overwrote the company’s production servers with an incorrect command during his onboarding.” When he shared his story on Reddit after being fired, users pointed out that the company was at fault for failing to back up their databases or having security measures in place to prevent something like this from being a possibility. In an instant, this company experienced a devastating data loss that could have been quickly and easily recovered with a DRaaS provider.

3. Ransomware Leads to Costly Downtime for Vulnerable Businesses

In May of this year, a ransomware attack known as WannaCry, affected more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries, with victims including hospitals, banks, telecommunications companies and warehouses. WannaCry held computer data hostage until a ransom was paid. Yet, the biggest hit to targets of this attack wasn’t necessarily the ransom, but the downtime caused by the attack. With DRaaS, downtime from WannaCry would have been significantly lower and the ransoms could have been ignored.

How Can Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) Help?

With DRaaS solutions, it’s affordable, achievable, and fast to recover data losses from a disaster. “DRaaS uses a cloud provider’s computers, networking and storage to act as the target site for replication and recovery of your company’s critical data and applications,” explains Zerto. DRaaS solutions provide data recovery in minutes, where one-fourth of businesses lose most or all of their datacenter for hours, or even days.

Protecting Your Business’ Reputation and Bottom Line With LightBound

Basic backup procedures can help you recover data when disaster strikes, but it is significantly slower than the minutes-long recovery time achievable with DRaaS solutions. With the negative effects of downtime on your brand’s bottom line, every second that it takes to recover counts.

LightBound’s DRaaS solution helps make disaster recovery affordable, achievable, and fast. Contact us today to find out how LightBound can protect your business with DRaaS solutions.

View the full “Total Cost of Downtime For Your Business” LightBound infographic on our website. 

What’s All The Fuss About Fiber Internet And Why Does It Matter?

Meet John Jones.

John could be anyone. Your best friend, your neighbor, a relative, your boss, or a co-worker. Above all, he’s someone you think has it all going on. He’s up on the latest trends and he’s got it all together. He’s a techno-gadget guy, and he is the one person who makes you feel like you need to “keep up with the Joneses.”

If you are a buyer of technology or a gadget-lover, you undoubtedly know someone like John and have experienced the feeling of wanting something, even though you may not even know what it is – or why you want it. You’re not sure what it is, but John has it, so you gotta have it!

Problem is, if you don’t really know what “IT” is, or how to differentiate between the options, “IT” is kinda difficult to shop for, eh? Read more