Junction Networks: On-demand, self-service SIP communications

Junction Networks, Inc., headquartered in New York City, was founded in 2004, and today serves thousands of business customers with next generation hosted VoIP communications services.

The company targets small and medium business customers, and passed some significant milestones with their one thousandth customer in 2007, and the 50 millionth call placed over their business communications platform in April 2009.

Junction Networks’ service is available everywhere, and is typically deployed for customers with 5–100 end stations. The firm has also been recognized with a number of awards, including the Excellence in Technology 2008 award from Small Business Computing Magazine.

The company provides two key services: SIP and IAX trunking, and hosted voice services. The trunking service provides inbound, outbound, and toll-free inbound service, and supports all SIP and IAX-based platforms, including those from Asterisk, Fonality, and Switchvox. (IAX is the Inter-Asterisk Exchange protocol, an application layer protocol that combines both control functions and media services in one protocol. IAX is described in an Internet Draft document.)

Junction Networks’ hosted PBX service is named OnSIP, and the company claims to have a unique platform that is built using standards-based components, is 100-percent SIP-compliant, leverages no underlying proprietary components, and is scalable to support thousands of users.

Notably, the service is delivered completely on demand—with no contracts, commitments or minimums and no cost per user, extension, or phone. Customers are welcome to try the hosted service free for 30 days, deploy any SIP compliant phone or soft phone, use the service from any physical location, and move from location to location. Phones can be deployed and moved anywhere a broadband connection is available. One of OnSIP’s key differentiators is that there is no cost per user, extension, or seat. Junction Networks charges for the minutes used and features used, with an average cost per user per month of $18.00 based on the pay-as-you-go model. Additional services, such as conference bridging, can be added for a nominal charge.

Junction Networks claims that a new customer can sign up, configure an entire account (add users, purchase live phone numbers, configure phones, add voicemail boxes, record greetings, etc.) in a matter of minutes—without talking to a salesperson. The entire service is configurable by the customer through a web portal, and all service changes, phone number orders, etc. are performed live, and in real time. For customers wanting a turnkey solution, OnSIP has a growing number of agents available to provide on-site installation, configuration, and support.

Junction Networks has embraced its commitment to SIP as an open standard, and allows its customers to do some unique things with the phones and phone numbers. First—and unlike any other hosted provider we know of—Junction Networks does not require its customers to buy a particular SIP phone, or use a proprietary phone. In fact, the company does not sell any phones at all. Instead, the OnSIP service works with any SIP-compatible phone, including those on their recommended list from Polycom, snom, Aastra, and Linksys. Next, customers can register unlimited phones, users and SIP-addressable endpoints with no additional fees. Third, customers can use their favorite phone-number providers and carriers, and forward calls inbound to OnSIP SIP addresses to leverage the OnSIP PBX applications.

The company takes the position that SIP is emerging as one of multiple communications media options, with VoIP, video, presence, and IM to be delivered using SIP as a single communications service. Since OnSIP serves as a host for all SIP traffic to a domain, customers are allowed to use their own domain for personal SIP addressing. The SIP domain hosting capabilities allow a company to receive incoming SIP calls using their own domain name. Users have personal SIP addresses, just like e-mail addresses, and can be reached from any open SIP network, such as FWD (formerly Free World Dialup) and SIPPhone, without charge.

One example of this SIP-centric architecture is Junction Networks’ E911 service. Unlike most providers who tie E911 to a phone and a phone number, OnSIP provisions E911 per user, allowing users to move from location to location, phone to phone, and simply update their physical location for the service to work. Users can maintain numerous addresses to simply change active location with little hassle.

Further information on the Junction Networks solutions can be found at www.junctionnetworks.com. Our next tutorial will continue our review of various service providers hosted voice solutions.

Copyright Acknowledgement: © 2009 DigiNet Corporation®, All Rights Reserved

Author’s Biography
Mark A. Miller, P.E. is President of DigiNet Corporation®, a Denver-based consulting engineering firm. He is the author of many books on networking technologies, including Voice over IP Technologies, and Internet Technologies Handbook, both published by John Wiley & Sons.

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