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Failover or failsafe?

June 18, 2010 10:06 AM | 0 Comments
I recently had a conversation about the need for PSTN failover. The basic proposition being that VoIP, IP telephony, SIP, Skype, etc. are OK, but if you have an IP network - be it broadband/DSL or SIP trunking, or an Ethernet WAN/LAN - you must have the option of being able to failover to the PSTN. Why?
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Is the lack of widespread support for full 'five-9's' reliability in IP-based networks  holding back the adoption of IP communications?

It is certainly something we thought might be the case, and so we set our engineers the task of providing redundancy mechanisms for IP communications , based on Aculab's SIP stack, that would enable end customers to build in the reliability they were craving.

Our goal was to enable our customers to build enterprise and service provider communications platforms that could match the reliability and resilience of a legacy TDM-based system, but also give the full unified communications experience made possible by IP.
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For over 30 years, designers of TDM networks have taken every step possible to minimise network downtime in search of the mythical 99.999% availability figure (just over 5 minutes downtime per year). The basic rule has been to eliminate any single point of failure. This philosophy has extended beyond simply duplicating the network hardware - separate buildings with separate power feeds and physical connecting cables are also a key part of a resilient network design.

For the IP-core network consisting of routers that are inherently designed to utilise multiple routing paths, this is not an issue; but for hardware attached at the network edge such as media processing servers, it is not so straightforward. An IP-based media server supporting VoIP and video services and using SIP for its signalling is one such platform that sits at the edge of the service delivery network.
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