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SIP, Session Management and Beyond

May 6, 2010 - 3 Comments

SIP, Session Management and Beyond…What does it all MEAN?

Earlier this year, AT&T published a letter to the FCC in which they stated:

“Due to technological advances, changes in consumer preference and market forces, the question is when, not if, POTS service and the PSTN over which it is provided will become obsolete.”

  • Save
  • Simplify
  • Set-up for the Future

Segment 1: The Opportunity for Transformation

Two seriously cool guys join me to kick this all off: Wade Hamblin and Darryl Sladden paint the reality for customers today. The death of the PSTN is really more about the death of the development of new features in and on legacy systems for the immediate future. Furthermore, customer really need to have a way to leverage their existing infrastructure while layering newer features. The buzz is all around what the Gen Y workforce needs (or wants), but even us in the Gen X category expect newer technologies and flexibility in our communications. So what is an IT expert to do about all this?

Darryl and Wade give us a couple of high-level examples: leverage SIP trunking, even with your older PBX systems and use Session Management to centralize and simplify trunking and dial plans and enable layering of advanced technologies such as Quad, the Cisco Enterprise Social Media technology. Wade describes how you can also begin to extend your collaboration tools outside your enterprise. While at Voicecon, Wade and I captured a whiteboarding session on how Intercompany Media Engine integrates into your communications infrastructure.

Segment 2: Fundamentals of SIP

I LOVE this animation. Fun and educational. Seriously – hat’s off to the team for this one.




Segment 3: SIP Trunking with CUBE (Cisco Unified Border Element)

A recent article on SIP Trunking on describes the authors view of what is holding back the adoption of SIP Trunking. In a recent blog post here on TechWiseTV, I discussed that while I agree with some of the reasons listed, I felt the prevalence of legacy systems was also a contributing factor to slowing the adoption of SIP trunking.

Darryl Sladden co-author of the Cisco Press book on SIP Trunking, joins me in the lab to show how CUBE can remove this barrier. Using Cisco voice gateways, we can remove the PSTN PRIs from legacy systems and use an IP connection to centralize these and leverage SIP trunking at the central site. To be clear – this changes very little on your PBX – you can still use the PRI connection, now connecting it to a Cisco voice gateway – meaning you can avoid costly upgrades to older systems. In fact, some systems won’t even support SIP today (or QSIG for that matter if the system is old enough – I shudder to think of this).

Once you have a redundant WAN in place, some plans for emergency 911 and such, CUBE allows you to centralize the management and security of these trunks. Four things Border Element provides you (Darryl uses a familiar acronym, SSID, to remember these): Security, Session management, Inter-working, Demarcation.

Segment 4: Session Management and Legacy PBX Integration

Wade Hamblin is back and joins Jimmy Ray in the lab to dig into this whole “session management” business. As Jimmy Ray puts it, this is where “the butter meets the popcorn”.

The job of Session Management Edition (SME) is to sit in the middle of your network and bring together different protocols and systems. A perfect example of customer situation where this is helpful: acquisitions – how to you bring different systems together when your company acquires other companies? Jimmy Ray calls it out right away – that is nice, but don’t I have to upgrade my legacy PBX to do this? Nope. Session Management supports multiple protocols allows you to route between different communications systems and applications.

Watch as Wade takes Jimmy Ray by surprise with his declaration that with Intercompany Media Engine (IME) will work with your legacy PBX systems. What?! Don’t you need IP Phones to make that work? Nope! Want to see some IME calls in action? This video captures our SVP, Tony Bates, as he calls up some customers around the world and leverages the power of IME.

Service Advertisement Framework (SAF) allows you to advertise and discover the capabilities in the network. For example, a Communication Manager may “own” the 415 area code and advertise this – allowing all systems in the network to know to route all calls to 415 numbers to that system. Furthermore, this allows the network to be more resilient for automatic reconfiguring of routes.




Segment 5: Session Management and Unified Border Element

Wade is still trapped in the lab with Jimmy Ray and they begin to dig into the how native SIP built into Communications Manager since CM 5.0. This gives us the ability to normalize SIP messages centrally and customize how things are handled. Many service providers want to offer Early Offer – which is often a pain to manage and troubleshoot. In an upcoming release, we’ll be the ability to support native early offer. (Jimmy Ray cheers with joy!).

Some other benefits that pop up: centralized accounting and centralized troubleshooting. With centralized troubleshooting, we use the SIP ladder diagram to simplify the troubleshooting and provide a clear visual representation of what is going on with that call. Want to learn more about SIP ladder diagram? Join me and Wade on May 19th for a deep-dive workshop on this handy tool!

Finally, media manipulation on CUBE – Wade describes a scenario were the ability to clean out background noise and white noise would have been handy. (Ever tried your softphone from an airplane? It works, but everyone can hear all the noise around you!). Features in CUBE will screen out these kind of background noises. (This is not VAD!) Wade throws out one more teaser for the May 19th workshop: redundancy and resiliency in CUBE.




Final Thoughts

Boldly go into the future! Decisions are being made around you and no decision is a decision in of itself. You can leverage your existing investments and still bring new features into your communications infrastructure.

Other Cool Stuff

If you haven’t seen our Facebook page, check it out now! We have some fun out-takes and videos from the set.

If you haven’t seen them already, check out some videos from Voicecon – cool new technologies in new areas for Cisco. We are working on an upcoming TechWiseTV show that highlights some of these new products and our business video vision.

Got suggestions for a show? Tweet me @tinashakour

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  3. Great notes Tina – today’s show is going to be great! Darryl and Wade were just incredible to work with for this one and your flow really exceeded my expectations. Hats off!Robb