smartnet

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smartnet

AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Enables Media Gateway, E-SBC and IP-PBX Application Hosting on a Single Platform

Background

smartnet Online Service GmbH is a leading provider of telecommunications services in northern Germany. In addition to offering connectivity services such as SIP trunking, they also provide system integration services to their customers, with over five years experience in the VoIP market.

In 2010, one of smartnet’s customers, a subsidiary of a group of companies in the automotive industry, was acquired by another company. Before the acquisition, the customer had been using an IP-PBX hosted at the parent company’s site for their telephony services. Following the acquisition, the customer needed to find a new solution for their telecommunications requirements.

With no in-house know-how in the area of telephony and VoIP, the company turned to smartnet to provide a suitable solution that would meet their telecommunications needs.

Challenges

First and foremost, smartnet’s customer wanted to install a new IP-PBX system which would provide all the necessary communications functionality. An IP-based system was a must since, through the acquisition, the company was now part of a global group of companies, all of which were linked via a global IP telephony network. In addition to basic calling, the IP-PBX also needed to support conference calling with 15 or more participants.

Another issue that had to be resolved was integrating the approximately 200 Cisco phones that the company owned with the new IP-PBX. Before the acquisition, these phones had been connected to the old parent company’s PBX. By keeping them in service, the company could make significant savings in the migration process.

Other requirements of the new system were the inclusion of redundancy mechanisms to ensure continued communications in the case of service interruption and the ability to connect to multiple SIP trunks for external communications. Additionally, the whole solution had to be cost-effective with the overall cost falling within the company’s predefined budget.

Solution

With their extensive experience in deploying IP-based enterprise communications networks, smartnet was well-positioned to deploy their customer’s entire new system including internet access, data infrastructure, firewall and VoIP.

The VoIP solution that smartnet chose for their customer was based on the AudioCodes Mediant 1000 Media Gateway. The Mediant 1000 is a modular media gateway device that supports a combination of analog and digital telephony interfaces, with a maximum capacity of 120 ports per unit. It resides in a compact 1U chassis and offers redundancy via dual Ethernet ports and dual power supplies. For this deployment, the Mediant 1000 was provided with a four-port BRI interface. Three of these ports were connected to the PSTN to provide six telephone lines to be used as backup, in case of the primary SIP connection becoming unavailable.

The IP-PBX solution selected by smartnet for this project was a software product based on the open-source Asterisk platform. A major feature of the Mediant 1000 platform is its ability to host applications such as IP-PBX on its built-in OSN server module. The OSN module is a full-fledged server based on an Intel processor which resides on the Mediant 1000 platform. smartnet installed the IP-PBX solution on the OSN server, with a secondary OSN module in place to act as backup if the main server should fail. By using the OSN as the hardware platform for the IP-PBX, smartnet’s customer was able to limit capital and operational expenditure on the new solution, as well as reducing interoperability issues.

Another vital part of the solution was the AudioCodes Enterprise Session Border Controller (E-SBC) functionality which was also implemented on the Mediant 1000 platform. The AudioCodes E-SBC represents the demarcation point between the enterprise VoIP network and the SIP trunking service provider domain. The E-SBC provides protocol mediation between different SIP implementations ensuring smooth interoperability between the enterprise network and one or more SIP trunking providers. In this case, smartnet’s customer was able to interconnect with smartnet’s own Cirpack softswitch-based network without any major interoperability issues.

For the existing Cisco IP-Phones to interoperate with the new IP-PBX, it was necessary to upgrade their firmware to a version that supported SIP. Certain endpoints that were not SIP-ready had to be replaced by AudioCodes 320HD IP Phones and SNOM MeetingPoint conference phones. The AudioCodes 320HD IP Phone is a 4-line mid-range enterprise IP phone supporting up to 2 concurrent calls per unit. It includes a large multi-language graphic LCD display, is SIP compliant and supports High Definition (HD) VoIP to ensure exceptional voice quality.

Results

Thanks to smartnet’s expertise in deploying complex enterprise voice and data networks and the versatility of AudioCodes Mediant 1000 platform, the customer was able to complete the migration successfully within three months. The new IP-PBX was initially connected to the customer’s new head office in China via a SIP trunk provided by smartnet, supporting up to 30 concurrent calls. The majority of the existing Cisco phones were upgraded to support SIP which enabled them to be used in the new network.

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The benefits offered by the AudioCodes solution include:

  • Reduced capital and operational expenditure achieved by deploying the Mediant 1000 platform
  • Cost-effective hosting of the new IP-PBX on the Mediant 1000
  • Redundancy at various levels of the solution, ensuring continued availability of communications services even in the case of failure
  • Reliable and secured connection to SIP trunking providers through AudioCodes E-SBC functionality
  • High definition quality VoIP calls enabled by the AudioCodes 320HD IP Phones

The system deployed by smartnet in collaboration with AudioCodes provides a solid basis for the customer’s initial needs, while offering plenty of opportunities for increasing capacity and functionality in the future, as and when required.