All-IP: What you need to know about modern telephone systems

Simon Rascher
Woman with white blouse makes all-IP phone call via modern telephone system

Before All-IP, different data streams such as telephony, television, fax, etc. were transmitted via separate infrastructures. With All-IP, these data streams are combined and sent and received on the basis of the "Internet Protocol" (IP for short). It is the basis for the transmission of data packets via the internet. Next Generation Network" (NGN) is also often used as a synonym for All-IP, which replaces the ISDN network.

The most important component for telephony is Voice-over-IP or VoIP for short. It refers to the conversion of speech into data packets, which are then sent via the internet or LAN and decrypted on the other side so that the recipient can hear the speech.

Challenges due to All-IP

Regardless of the medium and transmission, telephony is still a real-time communication. Therefore, the voice data packets need a certain prioritisation. If a data packet is lost, the telephone call is choppy, the conversation partners have a time delay or, in the worst case, the connection is interrupted and the call is over.

Quality of Service (QoS) is used to manipulate data traffic in such a way that data packets to be prioritised can be treated differently by network devices. This gives priority to real-time critical data streams such as voice.

Flexibility through All-IP

The greatest advantage of an all-IP telephone system is the added flexibility. The extension is no longer determined by the telephone wiring, but by the IP address of the end device - i.e. the telephone. When employees move to new offices, they can take their telephones with them, connect them to the network there and each employee keeps his or her extension number.

There is also more flexibility in the location of the telephone system and the connected telephone lines. Nomadic (location-independent) use of the connections is therefore possible. In this way, a company can use site networking to supply all sites with a telephone system and also switch the telephone connections from different dialling codes to a central telephone system. For example, a central support department can be operated for all company locations, although the customer dials the known telephone number from the main location. Here, however, there are sometimes restrictions to be observed by the ITSP (Internet Telephony Service Provider) such as the contractual exclusion of nomadic use or limited provisioning options of the providers at all locations.

Phone systems from the cloud

It is also possible to decouple an all-IP telephone system from proprietary hardware and to operate it on virtualisation environments. This also eliminates the limits on scalability that still exist with classic telephone cabling due to the number of ports, telephone sockets, modules or slots. In the area of end devices, the use of SoftClients - i.e. software for telephoning with headsets - can also eliminate telephones altogether.

Especially the home office connection of employees can be implemented in many ways. For example, the collaboration tool Microsoft Teams can also be connected to the All-IP telephone systems in several gradations. Either to synchronise only the status (busy, absent, free) between the telephone system and MS Teams or to use Microsoft Teams as a SoftClient. This can be implemented through the so-called Direct Routing by means of Session Border Controller (SBC). This means that calls are routed between the telephone system and MS Teams via a certified gateway (SBC).

More freedom for redundancies

The possibilities for redundant systems have become much more numerous with All-IP, because the restrictions due to rigid line paths no longer apply. Often, only systems for the enterprise sector were able to switch terminals to a second instance in hot standby here. Other users had to physically connect a second telephone system in the event of a failure, which meant a lot of downtime. By using IP telephony, site networks can be set up in a geo-redundant manner. In the event of a telephone system failure (loss of internet connection, fire, power failure, etc.) at the main location, a failover to a second telephone system at another location can take over telephony company-wide without noticeable downtime.


It pays to invest

The changeover of network operators to All-IP and thus the switch-off of ISDN is in its final stages. For many companies it is worth switching over and investing in solutions for All-IP systems. This is because the elimination of a second infrastructure and the decoupling of the hardware allow for significant cost savings - while at the same time increasing reliability. The new transmission technology offers better voice quality and is a perfect component of the Modern Workplace due to its increased flexibility. With the help of an experienced service provider and good project support during the implementation of an IP communication system, the advantages of the new technology outweigh the disadvantages for the majority of companies.

Simon Rascher
Simon Rascher
Teamlead Software Development

With his hands-on mentality, the organisational talent literally rolls up his sleeves and is there when he is needed. His team also appreciates this about the likeable Franconian. As team leader of software development in the web environment, his focus is on team building and further training within his department.

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