Large and small telecommunications service providers are adopting session initiation protocol (SIP) into their business voice offerings.

That would include Verizon on one end of the spectrum to regional players such as VoIPstreet on the other, to name two companies mentioned in the news earlier this month. (For more, click here and here).

A cable operator wanting to get into this game can go a couple of routes, stemming from where the company draws the line of demarcation between itself and the business customer.

One option is to put it where the SIP trunk comes in. In other words, the customer owns the PBX and the operator is only responsible for the connectivity. “(But) some MSOs will go to VARs and offer what they consider a certified solution,” said Eli Baruch, senior director product management, ARRIS.

Existing interconnects that sell PBX and trunking services from the PSTN side have a rolodex of businesses and are looking to jump on the new technology bandwagon. “Alliances are particularly a way small cable operators can start penetrating the business market,” said Cliff Rees, CEO, XCast Labs.

Another option for operators with 10,000 to 80,000 customers would be a reseller model, purchasing an integrated package of technology and infrastructure from a company like XCast. “Most of them, at this point, are purely interested in residential, but a few are starting getting interested in penetrating the business market,” Rees said.

On the other end of the spectrum are MSOs who are working to run the show themselves from start to finish, providing a complete end-to-end interface. “They will put the IP PBX behind and control and maintain that,” Baruch said.

Providing and managing the PBX on premise is one type of managed service; IP Centrex is another. “Some of us are looking at driving deeper into the customer’s network,” said Charles Scarborough, senior director of product development, Cox Business Services.

“Cox Business is not there, but those are things we are looking at closely.”

SIP-related specs

According to a CableLabs paper presented at last year’s Cable-Tec Expo, application profiles that build off of PacketCable 2.0 base specifications include Business SIP Services (BSS), which addresses a hosted service, and SIP Enterprise Connect (SIP-EC), which deals with SIP trunking.

The specifications related to BSS are PacketCable Business SIP Services Feature Specification and PacketCable Business SIP Services Provisioning Specification.

As for SIP-EC, the specs are still under development. They include SIPconnect 1.1 from the SIP Forum and enhancements to PacketCable 2.0. PacketCable SIP Enterprise Connect Specification, will encompass the above as well as any additional requirements.

For more on business telephony, see the April issue of Communications Technology.

-Monta Monaco Hernon

The Daily

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