A new kind of agreement between a VOIP gateway maker and a service provider aims to take time and capital expenditure out of VOIP migration for businesses. Under a global supply arrangement announced Tuesday, VegaStream takes on the role of configuring, provisioning and shipping a ready-to-install gateway to enterprise customers of Primus.
VegaStream Inc. and Primus Telecommunications Group Inc. claim that VOIP service to enterprises can be turned up in as little as three days from delivery of the gateway.
Crucial to this speed is pre-shipping configuration. A Web-based template, built by VegaStream for Primus, asks Primus sales engineers or reseller partners all of the scale, interface and routing questions that VegaStream needs to know in order to deliver a plug-and-play SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) gateway adapted to Primus service offerings.
According to Michael Robinson, vice president of marketing at VegaStream, the device then will be installed by the integrator or by Primus channel partners.
The Web template automates provisioning and delivery for a range of VegaStream SIP gateways. At the lowest end of the scale, the Vega 50 connects Primus network to as few as eight analog phones, either directly or via a PBX.
At the high end, the Vega 100 is installed between the PBX and Primus network to serve 48 VOIP channels (equivalent to 48 phones) over two T1 lines. (It can serve as many as 60 channels when connecting to the 30-channel E1 trunks used outside North America and Japan.)
The combined offering also ensures compatibility between gateway and network, with support for NAT (Network Address Translation) and deployment across corporate firewalls. SIP registration and digest authentication (a challenge-response handshake between Primus SIP server and gateway) are supported for securing traffic.
On the service side, Primus delivers the benefits of a monitored IP network that reaches more than 150 countries, gaining cost savings through PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) toll bypass.
As part of the configuration process, customers will be able to choose whether to route all of their voice traffic onto Primus network or only certain kinds of calls, perhaps to take advantage of special calling plans with other providers for particular destinations. If all traffic goes over Primus, then no programming changes are necessary to the existing PBX.
The gateways also can be preprogrammed with translation tables to support a customized, unified dial plan among several company sites. This could mean, for example, that all four-digit phone numbers beginning with five are in the Los Angeles office; all numbers beginning with six are in the Tokyo branch. Such dial plans can be changed after installation through a VegaStream Web interface.
The supply agreement with Primus is nonexclusive; customers with other vendors gateways also may use Primus Telecom as VOIP carrier. Primarily a toll-savings play, the gateway and service offering does not play in the same space as IP Centrex, which typically adds an overlay of Web-administered voice mail, call forwarding, adds/moves/changes and other PBX functionality to a multi-PBX-vendor, multisite enterprise.
“The gateway offer really doesnt unlock the promise of VOIP as much as its a cost-reduction mechanism for toll charges,” said Robert Rosenberg, principal analyst at Insight Research Corp. in Boonton, N.J.
“This may be a good fit if saving money on long-distance or international calling is the sole objective. If you want to bring the other promises of VOIP into play, there are other service providers who also supply gateways.”