When dealing with VoIP traffic on today’s networks it is inevitable that you will run across an issue involving NAT and SIP. It is helpful to understand what NAT (Network Address Translation) does before you see why this causes a problem with SIP (Session Initiation Protocol).
As phone system dealers, your objective is to sell business phone systems, right? In the old days, you’d walk into a prospective client’s office, learn their needs, and craft a proposal to meet and often exceed them. You’d know what the competition was bringing to the table and you’d know how to overcome those objections.
In the world of telecommunications, SIP is a buzzword used by many but often misunderstood. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is defined in RFC 3261. SIP is a signaling protocol designed to set up, tear down and modify phone calls on modern VoIP networks. To be clear, SIP is not what transports the actual audio stream for a phone call; that transport is provided by the RTP (Real-time Transport Protocol) in a modern VoIP network and will be addressed in a later blog post.
In my family we play Pinochle. It’s a card game with a universal set of standard rules. Like many families who enjoy games together, we’ve adapted our game with a set of house rules that make Pinochle at the Moorman house much more enjoyable than the same game played down the street at the Winston’s. At least that’s what my Grandma will tell you.
Just like my family game of Pinochle, VoIP has its own set of universal rules that the industry follows, but we have our own house rules that make our VoIP more fun and easier to sell. This guide will hopefully clear up some of the confusion around N2Net VoIP vernacular and offer clients and agents a handy cheat sheet with the N2Net house rules.
Your desk phone rings. You’re in the middle of a time sensitive report and glance over to see who’s calling. The PBX caller ID number is 888-555-5565 with a caller ID name of Unknown. You chalk that one up as a telemarketer and keep typing. Five minutes later the phone rings again. This time, the number is local and the corresponding name is that of your largest account, so you stop typing and grab the call.
Once in a while, though, the number is legitimate but the name is wrong. Why does it happen? And if you’ve ever been the one showing up as someone else to other people, you know how difficult it can be to remedy, especially if it’s started happening right after you’ve changed providers.
I work with a lot of agents and phone system dealers who are currently working with, or have worked with Broadvox at one time or another. It’s part and parcel of being in this industry. Broadvox is the big kid in the sandbox and rightly so. They’ve made the investments and have grown their company substantially over the last several years. They are to the SIP carrier world what the Bell companies are to the traditional carrier world.
So what’s wrong with Broadvox? Absolutely nothing. I’m sure they have a ton of very happy customers and agents. They wouldn’t be in business otherwise. This article isn’t about bashing Broadvox. I don’t know or work with them. The information I receive comes in via agents and their experiences. Some are happy while others have expressed frustration.
The life of a Toshiba dealer, or any system dealer, isn’t one that’s typically envied by others in the sales universe. Phone systems are expensive. They last a long time. The sales cycle can sometimes go on for months, and it’s a constant stream of prospecting. Closing, then, is what separates mediocre dealers from great dealers. It also dictates whether you’re thriving or just surviving.
Thriving dealers have great toolboxes. They use their wrench to overcome objection ‘x’ and the hammer to overcome objection ‘y.’ Some of their tools might be discounts on the initial purchase, value-added services like maintenance agreements, or ‘x’ number of MAC’s included with the initial purchase. They’re the ones who look at carrier services, LAN cabling, and try to understand the complete solution.