It’s been well-documented that SIP is taking off in a big way in the U.S. and North America in general, so it’s only natural that multi-national companies would want to use the service in other regions as well.
The good news is SIP is now becoming more readily available in Europe and other markets as well.
“SIP is gaining traction in the EU,” says Peter Quinlan, VP of the Integrated Business Video Services for Tata Communications. Tata is an international company with broad experience helping multi-nationals deploy SIP to their widespread locations. “Being behind the U.S. is a result of lagging regulations, however the EU has moved quickly to catch up in terms of regulations and is experiencing significant SIP trunking adoption and growth.”
Research numbers bear that out. Infonetics Research says the global SIP trunking services market is on track to grow from $4.4 billion in 2014 to $8 billion in 2018 as we highlighted in this recent SIP market infographic. “The biggest market for SIP trunking services is North America, although new geographic markets continue to open up, helping fuel growth,” according to the company’s report.
Asked what’s driving demand for SIP internationally, Quinlan has a quick response: “Skype for Business is 1A,” he says, referring to the UC platform previously known as Microsoft Lync. “Others are following, including Cisco and Avaya, but Skype for Business seems to have been the tipping point for most large enterprises.”
That makes sense since SIP trunks can more effectively and inexpensively support the myriad UC applications that Skype for Business supports, including instant messaging, voice and video conferencing.
The challenge in rolling out SIP trunks internationally is dealing with the existing, disparate networks that are already in place. “Legacy telecom access methods like ISDN/PRI pose numerous challenges,” Quinlan says.
Perhaps the greatest challenge is the fact that SIP trunks represent a rather profound change from the TDM-based PRI services, as well as T1 and T3 lines. SIP means new physical interfaces to the carrier network and an all-IP approach to carrying voice and data. It’s also architecturally different, in that any amount of bandwidth on a SIP trunk can be dedicated to a certain application; there’s no longer a need to divvy up bandwidth in 64K or 1.5M bps chunks.
Moving to a SIP backbone enables companies to reduce the number of vendors they need to potentially just a single one, or at least a handful, Quinlan says. The offering also delivers improved quality of service capabilities, which is crucial for delay sensitive traffic such as voice and video, as well as better failover and redundancy capabilities.
The latter is because from a single, centralized SIP trunk hub site, traffic can be sent to any other networked site. So if a resource becomes unavailable at a central site, a video server for example, it’s a simple matter to redirect traffic to a backup location that offers the same service.
Most multinationals are adopting a SIP trunk architecture with centralized locations in each of three main geographic regions: North America, Europe and Asia/Pacific, Quinlan says. Whichever region has the highest number of users is typically first but the most common progression is U.S., Europe and then Asia/Pacific, he says.
“Centralizing voice and other SIP traffic has never been easier as a first step to SIP trunking rollout,” Quinlan says.