This week, Allworx, Rochester, NY-based supplier of complete IP communications systems for small and medium-size businesses, announced a partnership with North Carolina-based Bandwidth.com, a national supplier of business communications services.
The offspring of this union is a complete telephony solution, combining Allworx’s award winning hardware/software infrastructure with SIP trunk connectivity from Bandwidth.com.
Allworx’s solution (see VoIPplanet.com’s recent in-depth look) is unique in the VoIP world in that it provides not only the IP voice component—in the form of rich PBX functionality wedded to key system operation—but the data networking infrastructure as well—complete with firewall, e-mail, HTTP ad FTP support, backup, and other vital tools. Allworx’s product line, which is distributed through VARs and resellers, is aimed at companies—or offices—of between 30 and 100 employees per site.
Bandwidth.com’s roots are anchored in provisioning T-1 and T-3-based Internet connectivity for its customers (see VoIPplanet.com profile). More recently the company has begun to offer hosted VoIP service (through a number of national outlets), managed network services, and a growing range of IP connectivity options, with SIP trunking emerging in recent months as a key offering.
“Our strategic imperative in the marketplace over the course of the next eighteen months to two years, is to enable the VAR channel with the sale of SIP trunking” Bandwidth.com CEO Henry Kaestner told VoIPplanet.com in a recent conversation. This week’s joint announcement with Allworx bears out Kaestner’s statement.
A SIP trunk is a direct connection from an organization’s IP network to its telephone service provider’s SIP network. Beyond avoiding unnecessary connections to the PSTN, it is different from conventional analog/TDM service in several respects.
As Bandwidth.com VP of product management and marketing Steve Lacoff explained to VoIPplanet.com: “A SIP trunk is a separate and distinct offer from the T-1 someone would buy. It is a virtual trunk, it is not a physical trunk.” That is, you still need a T-1 to carry the traffic; the SIP trunking is an application overlay on the physical connection.
A single T-1 line will support between 16 and 45 (or so) SIP trunks, depending on the codec used, according to Kaestner, and the service provider can provision just the number of trunks the customer needs—unlike analog service over T-1 where you’re paying for the total capacity of the connection, whether it’s being used or not.
“Think of a SIP trunk as a concurrent voice call,” Kaestner told VoIPplanet.com.
Customers “can use that SIP trunk for a range of dialing services,” added Steve Lacoff. “We provide unlimited inbound and local dialing,” as part of the SIP trunk service. “They could buy an 800 number from us and do 800 dialing, and they could do long-distance termination,” he explained.
A major benefit of SIP trunking is the price: $20 per trunk per month—about half the cost of a typical analog line.
But there are flexibility benefits, too: “We built this where they can oversubscribe these SIP trunks,” Lacoff pointed out. “Let’s say a customer has an office of 20 people. We built this where they can oversubscribe these SIP trunks, meaning if those 20 people are all going to be on the phone at the same time, they probably only need four or five trunks.” Furthermore, for customers with multiple sites, SIP trunks are not tied to specific sites. Rather, all the customer’s sites have full access to all of the SIP trunks supplied.
All of this makes SIP trunking a real selling point for anyone offering an IP telephony solution to small and medium-size businesses.
“This alliance makes it transparent for the customer to transition from traditional telephone service to VoIP, ” said Sandra Gault, EVP of marketing for Allworx. “It’s easier for resellers to deliver the combined solution,” she commented.
“We’re thrilled to work with Allworx because our alliance provides an enhanced value proposition that will help resellers penetrate the SMB market even further,” said Bandwidth.com’s Kaestner.