Tuesday, February 3, 2009

ITEXPO Service Provider Roundtable

It's been a busy couple of weeks.

Last week I was in Las Vegas for Network Instruments Observer training. This week, I'm in Miami attending the Internet Telephony Conference and Expo.

In between, I've been fighting a cold. Oh well, I guess there has to be a negative for hanging out in the hot spots of the country. No pun intended.

Below are some of the highlights I scribbled down during the 'Service Provider Roundtable'.

The following service providers participated:

8X8, Inc. - Hosted PBX services for the SMB market
Broadvox - Wholesale SIP trunk provider
inPhonex - Consumer Internet phone service provider with strong Latin America presence
MagicJack - Consumer Internet phone service provider
Telefonica - Global corporate communications provider, mainly in Latin America
TW Telecom - Provider of corporate fiber communications infrastructure in 75 US markets

This was a nice discussion about industry issues from a provider perspective.

Mentioned by the panel was the need for the providers to continually innovate. The last major innovation in the industry was 10-15 years ago when DSL was released.

Another issue the SIP providers faced five years ago was their lackluster 99.9% availability. Still not as good as traditional land line solutions, most SIP providers will guarantee 4 nines.

Most enterprises readily adopt NG (Next Generation) products, but not necessarily NG services like SIP. However, budgets will drive NG service adoption because they are more cost effective.

However, like most things, efficiency and reliability depend on proper implementation. This is complicated when these services are delivered over 'plug-and-play' Ethernet connectivity - complicating troubleshooting and blurring the DMARC.

The main take away, regarding SIP services, was to focus on function, instead of features. SIP reliability is very important. Nobody wants to tell their CXO that their phone services are down, again.

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