NET+ SIP Program: FAQ
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What are the services available? What is this service about?
As part of the ongoing effort of Internet2 to leverage the Internet2 Network for members, a community led team issued an RFP in January 2012 for Hosted PBX and SIP trunk services. After evaluating the bid responses, two vendors were selected—Aastra's Clearspan for Hosted PBX, and Level 3 for SIP trunk services. These services are available for purchase to organizations connected to Internet2. The intent is to replace existing PBXs or other hosted solutions an organization may be using with a less expensive alternative. You may choose one or the other, or both.
What Hosted PBX Services are offered?
There are two levels of service from Aastra's Clearspan—basic and premium. The basic service provides the user with a core set of basic features such as Hold, Transfer, Conferencing, etc. The premium service offers full PBX features. Voicemail and unified messaging (voicemails delivered as .wav files to the user's email address) can be added to either the basic or premium packages. There are also call center and conference features, and other advanced telephony features available.
What SIP Trunking Services are offered?
Regarding SIP trunks from Level 3, there are a variety of configurations available:
- SIP Trunks with Flat Rate Local and Long Distance: This service provides all call termination, both local and long distance, for a flat monthly fee. International calls are measured and billed on a per-minute model.
- SIP Trunks with Flat Rate Local and measured Long Distance: This service provides Flat Rate Local call termination with measured long distance per-minute pricing.
- Level 3 Long Distance and Toll Free: Level 3 Long Distance, International Long Distance, and Toll Free services are all available via as stand-alone service, as well as part of local trunk services.
- Level 3 Conferencing and Collaboration Services: Level 3 provides SIP-based voice, video and Web Conferencing services, either as a stand-alone service or integrated into a local trunk product.
Is there a contractual commitment for the service? If so, what are the terms and conditions?
Yes. The service is designed on a five year program to make sure the schools and the service providers don't invest a lot of energy in migration without a guarantee of reliable service over an extended period.
Do I have to be an Internet2 member to take advantage of these services?
The primary condition is that your organization must be connected to the Internet2 Network. If your organization is not a direct member of Internet2, then a more detailed discussion needs to happen.
Do you have more details about the service offering?
Internet2 hosted webinars (May 18 and 22, 2012) to provide more specific details about the SIP Services, the implementation, the costs, and how to sign up. Listen to the webinar recording (via Adobe Connect), view the presentation (PDF) or request more information by emailing SIP@internet2.edu..
I'm ready to sign up. What is my next step?
The website ordering process is being developed. Until further notice, please contact Internet2 by email at SIP@internet2.edu.
How long will this service be available?
The intent is to continue this service as long as the community is benefiting. The original services are intended for a minimum of 5 years. If necessary, before the expiration of the current contract a new RFP will be issued requiring the same SIP standards in the current environment as well as increased capabilities as applications develop.
What if the Internet2 Network is down? Will I lose my ability to make and receive phone calls?
Local survivability options are available from both Aastra and Level 3. There will be standard survivability configurations available or one can be customized to your organization's requirements.
Are there a minimum number of stations or trunks that my organization would need to sign up for?
Yes. For Aastra's Clearspan service, a minimum order of 50 is required initially from an organization (subsequent orders from the same organization do not have to order the minimum of 50). There is no minimum requirement for SIP trunks.
What telephone instrument choices are there?
The current models available include Aastra model numbers: 6731i, 6753i, 6755i, 6757i, 6739i, 6735i, 6737i and Polycom model numbers 321, 450, 560. Conference phones include the Polycom 6000 and 7000 series devices. In addition, soft clients from Aastra for PCs, Macs, and mobile devices are supported.
Will 911 be supported with both Aastra and Level 3?
There is a lot of flexibility with regard to routing calls. Aastra's Clearspan is fully compliant with NENA specifications and has the built-in ability to route E911calls to the appropriate PSAP or local public safety office. In addition, Aastra's Clearspan has the ability for advanced E911 such as dynamic endpoint tracking, security desktop alerting and integration with VoIP Positioning Center services. It is the responsibility of the local institution to maintain accurate entries in the PS-ALI database through their LEC.
If Aastra's Clearspan is chosen to replace an organization's dial tone service, Aastra will route calls as requested by the customer regardless of who provides trunks. If Aastra is not chosen as a dial tone replacement, but Level 3 is chosen for SIP trunks, the organization will need to route the calls appropriately. Level 3 has worked with a variety of customers and should be able to accept call route directions and send the call to the appropriate PSAP if desired.
What if I want to send my emergency calls to my campus police department instead of a PSAP?
No problem! Aastra's Clearspan offers a variety of routing options and can accommodate such a request.
What are the prices for the Hosted PBX services?
There is a complete pricing sheet available for all of the base services and optional services. Working with several schools, Internet2 developed a general estimate of an average cost per line. Each school will pay the actual costs for the specific services and features they purchase. A "full" service solution for a school at each discount level is available upon request. As the Internet2 members collectively increase the number of lines in service, the costs for all the schools will be reduced.
How long will it take to migrate from my current system to this new service?
Service turn-up, from Aastra, typically requires 45-90 days. Add-ons to existing customers typically require two to eight weeks depending on the number of users to switch over. Full campus migrations may be spread out over a 12 month period. If you choose Level 3 for trunk services, Level 3 generally recommends 6-8 weeks once a plan has been devised. If you choose both services, both Aastra and Level 3 will work with your organization to devise a comprehensive migration strategy.
Can you describe the migration process to a SIP dial tone service?
For SIP phone service, there are generally two options: 1) Add new features to a legacy PBX or 2) Full VoIP deployment from Internet2's SIP Services on the Aastra Clearspan service. If option 1 is selected, SIP tie trunks are put in place between your existing PBX and the Aastra Clearspan service (additional fees apply for tie trunks). Routing between the two systems will need to be setup and tested. If option 2 (preferred) is chosen, numbers/extensions are assigned, phones are shipped and deployed and users can begin using the services immediately. Hybrid scenarios (a combination of both options) are also available.
What telephone numbers can I/will I use?
If you choose to use Aastra's Clearspan as your dial tone replacement but keep your current provider for trunks, porting is not required. If you choose to use Level 3 for trunk services, Level 3 will assist in porting your numbers from your current provider to Level 3.
I have an NPA/NXX block of numbers. Do I have to migrate them all over at once?
No. Numbers can be ported via blocks or individually.
How does the number porting process work? What does it cost me?
Individual or bulk porting requests are submitted via the Level 3 customer portal. The base price for porting is $0.50 per number. Additional discounts may be available for porting large blocks and will be handled on a case by case basis.
I have 3 different campus locations. Can I integrate them all into one dialing plan?
If you currently have one dialing plan for all campuses, you can integrate them into the same dialing plan whether choosing Aastra, Level 3, or both. If you do not have one dialing plan, depending on how many DID numbers you require, a new block of numbers will need to be obtained.
Is it possible to have a dialing plan between different schools?
It is possible, but further investigation would be required.
What about CALEA compliance?
Both Aastra and Level 3 are CALEA compliant.
What about ADA compliance?
Aastra devices are hearing-aid compatible. Level 3 supports 711 Telecommunications Relay Services as outlined in Title VI of the ADA.
I need to have detailed billing information for each department and for compliance. How will the bills be handled?
We've made it easy for you. Detailed billing information will be provided via a customer portal with the respective vendor.
There are a lot of features I have enabled on my PBX today. How do I make sure I have all of those on the Aastra Clearspan service?
The Aastra solution includes a very feature-rich platform. A list of features and feature descriptions can be found at http://www.internet2.edu/netplus/sipnew/docs/Hosted-PBX_Feature-Matrix.pdf.
Where is there an overview of all the features available?
The details of the SIP Services will be available at www.internet2.edu/sip.
How does the SIP phone service integrate with OCS (or LYNC)?
Aastra's Clearspan service has the capability to integrate with Microsoft OCS/Lync. There are many options and Aastra would work directly with the members to customize a solution. Level 3 SIP Trunking fully supports Microsoft Lync and is the SIP and Infrastructure provider for the Microsoft Lync Reference Architecture project.
Can I order long distance only? How does that connection work?
You can order long distance only from Level 3 provided your current trunk provider can route the calls to Level 3 (referred to as "PIC").
How are the long distance calls rated? Is the long distance based on a per-minute or a flat rate?
Level 3 has two options available. There is a per-minute charge available as well as a flat rate for domestic long distance services. International long distance services are available on a per minute basis.
Who will I call for support? Am I responsible for troubleshooting?
Users of either service will need to call your campus support group (i.e. the campus Help Desk). If that group cannot resolve the issue, campus support will call the appropriate vendor (Aastra or Level 3).
Can I obtain "sample service" if I just want to try this service for a few weeks?
Both Aastra and Level 3 would be glad to discuss the details of the service with you, and provide you the opportunity to see how this service works. If you are interested in this service, contact Internet2 at SIP@internet2.edu. A sales team with Aastra or Level 3 (or both) will contact you.
I have mostly Cisco/Avaya/other manufacturer telephones on my campus, will these work on the SIP phone service?
It is possible other phones will work, but it is best to contact Aastra for details.
I already have a state contract for my long distance service. Can I purchase only local service?
Provided your contract allows you to purchase only local trunks, Level 3 can provide this service.
I recently installed a new PBX System/currently have a PBX. Can I purchase local trunking without the Hosted PBX?
Yes. Level 3 can provide SIP trunks to a variety of PBX systems.
When I call another school on the SIP Service, will it be considered a long distance call? Or will it route over the Internet2 Network to save me money?
Aastra would view this as an "on net" call because it would traverse the Internet2 Network. Therefore, long distance charges would not apply. When a call utilizes a SIP trunk, a per-minute charge will be applied by Level 3 (if Level 3 is your SIP trunk provider) unless a flat rate service is purchased.
What devices do I have to install on campus? Do I have to buy and manage those? What options do I have to select the devices?
A list of compatible devices (Aastra's and other 3rd party products) will be made available. If these devices are purchased from Aastra, all SIP Service support calls will be handled by a single entity.
For SIP trunks, a session border controller (SBC) will be required by Level 3. The customer can purchase and manage their own SBC or the SBC can be purchased from and managed by Level 3. Level 3 supports session border controllers from most vendors.
How does faxing work? Can I continue to use my existing fax machines? Do you have fax to email capabilities?
Provided your carrier supports the T.38 fax relay standard (Level 3 supports T.38), Aastra has the ability to process and route inbound T.38 fax calls to a user's email account. Depending on the age and model of your fax machine, a gateway adapter may be required to enable your device to utilize the Hosted PBX service to operate.
What are the service levels for the service? What happens if I have poor service?
Level 3 provides services levels for both service availability and call completion of 99.9%. Customers are entitled to service credits when the SLAs are not met. Aastra employs network monitoring tools to track performance.
Thank you for your interest in Internet2 NET+ SIP Services. Please check NET+ SIP Services home for updates as they become available. Check Internet2 NET+ Services for news and updates on all Internet2 NET+ service offerings. Have a question not answered here? Send an email to SIP@internet2.edu.