Many companies are eager to embrace the technological advantages of a unified communications-friendly infrastructure, but are challenged by the need to maintain some legacy telecom system functionality throughout that migration.
The reality of unified communications (UC) adoption is that a lot of organizations are not in a position to just “rip and replace” the old system with the new tools. Most migrations are gradual and occur in a phased and well-planned manner.
There are several reasons that an organization may want to undertake a phased migration:
- They’ve made significant investments in legacy PBX equipment that they aren’t ready to completely abandon.
- The IT staff lacks adequate manpower to perform a quick migration without any loss of service.
- There is not enough funding to simultaneously replace all handsets.
- Employees have concerns about maintaining legacy functionality such as fax and E911.
While relevant stakeholders sort through the complications of this migration, IT departments need a way to easily manage both the old and the new systems. It’s also important to ensure that the coexistence of these two systems does not have a negative impact on enterprise telecom functionality.
One of the best ways to manage the pain points of having two systems is through a tool called a session border controller (SBC). Among other functions, an SBC acts as an intermediary between the old and new systems. SBCs serve the following purposes:
- Transcode protocols between legacy equipment and new technologies.
- For example, SBCs ensure that newer UC-based technologies, such as enterprise chat and presence servers, can communicate with legacy fax and telecom systems.
- Distribute calls: SBCs recognize calls destined for both the new UC servers and the legacy system and perform the appropriate work on the backend to make sure the call goes through.
- Support business continuity and redundancy through automatic call rerouting in the case of a failure. This requires the use of SIP trunks in addition to the SBC.
The migration to UC, while worth it, comes with several pain points. The co-maintenance of legacy systems with newer systems is one of those barriers, and fortunately, it is a challenge easily overcome with the right tools. Organizations can leverage SBCs and other solutions to help ensure a seamless migration process to a more sophisticated and feature-rich UC system.