It’s important to understand your VoIP Provider’s network and their ability to adapt to a virtual disaster.
Not all VoIP providers are created equal.
Case in point, over the past several weeks, several providers have been attacked. The first to suffer a devastating attack was VoIP.ms. As you’ve probably heard, over this weekend Bandwidth.com, considered one of the 4 major Tier1 providers, was hit with a massive DDoS attack. An attack that still continues, with no resolution in sight, as of the date of this blog’s publishing.
What does this mean?
It means when you buy a VoIP solution from a provider, say OpenOne, 8×8 or RingCentral, we all purchase our phone numbers from an underlying provider or carrier. The big 4 being Bandwidth.com, Level3, Inteliquent and CenturyLink. However, there are others such as VoIP.ms and similar small carriers also providing numbers. These numbers are then used by the VoIP providers as part of what makes up their network.
It can be said easily over 80% of the voice traffic today is over VoIP and I would argue 100% of the long distance and International traffic is VoIP. This isn’t just a VoIP issue, but rather a telecommunications issue. In fact, the Bandwidth DDoS attack has affected 8×8, RingCentral, DialPad, Comcast, Google Voice, Microsoft, Twilio and many others, including our own solutions. Many continue to suffer as they are not nimble enough, nor have the relationships to adapt and change quickly.
What did we do?
As we realized the threat was going to continue longer than most disruptions, we migrated our bandwidth numbers to an alternate Tier 1 provider. Doing so protected the voice capabilities and call processing of our clients. Are ability to complete this migration, on a moment’s notice, was due to the robust nature of our network. Not to mention, the fact that we’ve also cultivated relationships with all major providers of VoIP phone numbers.
Unfortunately, other VoIP providers have not been so lucky. Many providers do not have access to the integrated networks that we do. Nor are there as many of the providers using Voip.ms suffered the same type of attach over a week ago and they are still under attack. In fact we actually migrated a client away from Voip.ms and were able to migrate their phone numbers within a short 24-hour period. This is why it’s important to use a company who possesses the ability to nimbly adjust their VoIP network. In our case, the underlying network migrated over 100,000 numbers within the course of a day. We know of another provider who is just starting their outgoing migration away from Bandwidth.com (as there is no foreseen end to their DDoS attack). Unfortunately, this provider doesn’t even know when the migration will take place. The reason we’re successful in a pinch, is we have the staff in place to take on the task of migration and the clout to make moves in the face of opposition.
This is why we choose to white label our service with one of the largest and most resilient providers of VoIP communications services.
It is important to ask the tough questions when choosing your VoIP provider. We’ve included a few starter pieces to get you going:
1. What is your underlying platform?
We partner with Netsapians, Cisco/Broadsoft or Metaswitch? (Run if they say it’s a “home-grown” platform, as this is a disaster in the making. In full-disclosure, at one time we too had a Frankenstein VoIP platform and later chose to deploy a true white labeled solution.) The solution we use has millions of phones on the network.
2. What is the size of the company and how many people are on the engineering and support team?
There are over 100 in customer service and support in the solution we provide.
3. Find out about the network design, as well as, how many points of geographical redundancy are in the network.
We have 4 geo-redundant locations, with multiple levels of redundancy, built into each data-center location.
4. What Data Centers do they use? Where are they located? Are they designed for VoIP? For Voice? Meaning, is it a voice optimized data center solution?
If it is AWS – RUN – the AWS network, and the like, is not designed for VoiP or real-time services. Unfortunately, many providers are deploying their solutions on sub-standard clouds these days and it’s is important to understand what type of data center is being used.