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I thought it was time I chimed in on the new service pack [SP1] that has just been released to the Response Point manufacturers and what it means to Canadian small businesses that might take some interest in buying a Response Point PBX.

Response Point Service Pack 1 is mostly about the VoIP Gateway (SIP Trunking) capabilities with some extras like Click to Call and Call Presence.

The software based VoIP Gateway will allow the Response Point systems to connect to a SIP Trunk provider for PSTN connectivity. So now we can add capacity not just by plugging in telephones lines to the system but we can also connect virtual phone lines provided by a SIP Trunk service vendor over the Internet.

First question is, do we want to connect our phone system in our office to a virtual phone line over the Internet? Hmm, good question.

If you are like me and need to have your phone system working 100% of the time you might think that using SIP trunks for your telephone connectivity via the open Internet could be risky. If the Internet in your office drops so does your phone system. That means not only can you not work online but now you can’t receive or make phone calls either. Yikes!

It might not be as bad as it first would seem. The SIP Trunk provider or ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) can facilitate some interesting features that could help alleviate this problem. Most SIP Trunk service providers are capable of delivering services like simultaneous ring or twinning that can ring your primary line and your cell phone at the same time. If your main system goes down for whatever reason your business is not completely out of business. Although, this theory doesn’t really hold up when you have multiple lines in a hunt group with a primary line and a few over-lines.

Something else to consider is 911. 911 can be a bit of headache when dealing with SIP trunks. If you rely on SIP trunks for all of your telephone connectivity you will have to fill out some paperwork that ties the VoIP telephone service you are getting from your ITSP to your address.

LNP (Local Number Portability) is also a major headache. As an existing business you likely have had your existing telephone number for quite some time and are not really all that interested in changing it now. LNP laws in Canada say that the telephone company you are dealing with for that number must comply with your wishes when you ask to have that number ported to another provider, an ITSP in this case. Well, yes, they must comply but that doesn’t mean they will make it easy. It’s not abnormal in Canada for a number porting request to take upwards of a few months to complete. Yes, months!

In my mind I don’t think I would ask my customers to endure that kind of headache. I would likely use the SIP Trunks for additional capacity on outbound dialing which does not require any number porting and is not likely mission critical to the daily operations of the business. Since most of the traffic generated on most small office telephone systems is outbound, SIP Trunks could fill a potential requirement there.

I have been beating the Response Point Phone System drum pretty hard lately and for good reason, it’s a great SMB phone system. We have decided to start carrying the phone systems through Lypp as well. I also posted a quick summary on a Response Point installation I did for one of my customers on the Innovedia blog a few weeks back, the customer is loving that system.

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