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A SIP Gateway for Digital Handsets

Most companies that plan on replacing legacy digital phone sets with IP phones should first focus on upgrading their infrastructure. Why replace legacy digital handsets when a SIP gateway can emulate the digital hard phone as a SIP endpoint? The business value of replacing the actual hard phone is limited. Most of the enhanced UC features that add business value come through the computer desktop or the mobile smart phone.

A SIP phone gateway would take an existing digital hand set and convert the signaling to SIP and pass the media. Transcoding, media forking, status, and other IP phone functionality would also occur. The corporate hard phone should deliver basic phone functionality and a quality audio stream. The gateway will allow an enterprise to reap the benefits of an IP phone without having to make the full investment in swapping phones. Such benefits include:

* Software based MACDs
* Presence indication when someone is on the phone
* Mobility--Single number, multi-phone ringing, real time call transfers

This technology does not make sense on new real estate moves and having to run the parallel wiring required for digital phones. But, for existing buildings wired for phones with a legacy PBX and phones, there is an option to delay the investment required to upgrade to IP phones. That money in turn can be used for SIP Trunking to lower Telecom expenses, build a SIP infrastructure to integrate legacy systems with new SIP applications, and add new UC features that will help a business grow top line revenue.

In the evolution from legacy PBX systems to VoIP, the hard phone should be the last portion of the migration, not the first. The digital phone is dead, long live the digital phone.

3 message(s). Last at: Oct 9, 2009 12:11:35 AM
  • ANON1241162144958
    commented on Oct 9, 2009 12:11:35 AM
    Similar post by Dave Michels: http://www.pindropsoup.com/2009/01/digital-phones-are-future-anonymous.html
  • Matt Brunk
    commented on Oct 8, 2009 12:49:27 PM
    CITEL is indeed still around. Long before NoJitter and even VoIPLoop was the old php forum at BCR. We did use their gear -- multiple cards emulating the Norstar phones on a 3Com IP-PBX box. It saved the company a lot dough--- because they got the phones almost FREE but-- as Paul states above ..."another point of failure" YES, he is sooooooo right. That system configuration was a nightmare to maintain---getting the cards in the different chassis's to SYNCH just right and at the right time.

    Even while you are addressing SIP Gateways for SIP trunks and interconnecting--- this is still an issue to consider. Maybe the technology has improved since then but I'm glad that we're maintaining one less "point of failure." So both points Paul makes ring true- "there are other strategies" and picking and getting the right ones for the right customers continue to be the challenge.

    Looking back- MONEY was the motivator.
  • Paul McMillan
    commented on Oct 8, 2009 11:37:28 AM
    A few years ago a company called CITEL came along with a gateway that would conenct digital handsets to a new IP-PBX. I just did a quick check and it appears they are still around. In any event, I cant recall any customer having used this approach and Im not sure I see the value in adding another component to the infrastructure to make this work. Another point of failure, maintenance, and admin added just to preserve a desktop phone which in many cases has been depreciated several times over. While its true you dont need a desktop phone to get UC benefits its also true you dont need VOIP at all to get Some UC benefits. It might have some us as a migration tool where gateways could be moved around as an enterprise converts but there are clearly other migration strategies that have worked as well.

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