Migrating Your Telephony to the Cloud? 3 Porting Problems

Guest Blog by Caitlin Long, Product Marketing Manager, Bandwidth

Migrating Your Telephony to the Cloud? 3 Porting Problems

The first in our Cloud Migration Best Practices series. Porting doesn’t have to be painful. Here’s how to make it go smoothly.

Having owned and operated a nationwide all-IP voice network for more than a decade, we’ve seen a lot of our customers migrate their telephony from on-prem to the cloud. Since customer service and co-creation is part of who we are at Bandwidth, we’ve been in the trenches with our customers, and felt their pain as they’ve migrated. In this series, we’ll outline the biggest migration challenges we’ve seen over and over, and share what companies like yours can do to proactively avoid them. The first up to bat is a big one: porting.

When you migrate your telephony to the cloud via a unified communications (UCaaS), conferencing, or contact center (CCaaS) solution, you’re given the option to access the PSTN in one of two ways:

  1. Use embedded calling plans that the cloud app provides, or
  2. Bring your own carrier (with dedicated SIP trunks)

If you choose Option 1 and want to keep your numbers, you have to port them to the cloud app provider. This is a common enough practice, but consistently raises three major pain points. Here’s what they are, why they happen, and how you can avoid them.

Porting Migraine #1: Unpredictable downtime

“Some time in the next seven days, your phones will stop working”

Porting directly to a cloud application (like Microsoft Teams or Genesys) without the right prep-work yields emails like, “Your phone will stop working sometime later this week. When it does, it’s time to log into the software that enables your new cloud telecom!” Downtime like that can be highly disruptive, especially when it happens in the middle of an important call, meeting, or presentation, when big revenue is on the line.

But why the unpredictability? UCaaS, CCaaS, and Conferencing providers specialise in their unique software solutions. They’re not in the business of providing PSTN connectivity themselves. That means migrating your on-prem phone service to the cloud always involves porting away from your legacy carrier to the VoIP provider that powers the cloud application. The average port timeline we see in these cases is still measured in days (or weeks for complex ports), not seconds.

Porting Migraine #2: Lack of control and the inability to plan

“I can’t move one department at a time, one floor at a time, or one building at a time. I don’t have enough control to migrate in a strategic way”

CTOs, CIOs, and VPs of Technology need the ability to migrate their organisations in a way that works for their employees, so they can implement change in a positive way. They need visibility and control, but the operational limitations from premature porting prevent it. Your chosen cloud app provider can help set rough expectations about what to expect for each phone number, but it’s far from enough to adequately plan a migration.

Why? A port is entirely dependent on the porting process of the losing carrier. When you port your numbers directly to a UCaaS solution, for example, the provider (or their carrier behind the scenes) has to look up the legacy carrier for each phone number and initiate ports—and often there are multiple carriers in a given order. This means your porting timeline is dependent on multiple processes from multiple carriers, and you most likely won’t have any line of sight or ability to speak to a human to troubleshoot or plan out the process.

Porting Migraine #3: It’s a one-way door

“Rolling back my numbers for any reason is a difficult, lengthy process. I can’t test functionality or pivot efficiently”

What happens when you your organisation undergoes a merger or acquisition and needs to consolidate platforms? Or what if your chosen cloud app is missing an important functionality that you currently have on-prem? That painful porting process that your organisation just fought through will have to start all over again. Just like it can be cumbersome to get your phone numbers to your cloud app, it’s cumbersome to get them back or move to another provider.

The Solution: How To Port Numbers Without Disruption

A single act of preparation can help you eliminate all of three of these porting migraines:

Complete the porting process before migrating to the cloud.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say. Here’s how:

  1. Plug in a Bandwidth SIP trunk parallel to your legacy trunk. This establishes a redundant path that enables uninterrupted service for the next step—porting the numbers.
  2. With our cloud-enabled SIP trunk in place, all of your numbers can be ported to Bandwidth without disruption. The calls route and desk phones ring, just like they always have, completely eliminating the challenge of unpredictable downtime. Why Bandwidth specifically? Because we power the cloud apps you’re moving to, so proactively plugging in a Bandwidth trunk and porting to Bandwidth numbers sets you up for instantaneous provisioning, precisely-managed migrations, and instant rollbacks. (Also because we’ve designed a next-level porting experience, including a dedicated, specialised team—the only one of its kind in the industry.)
  3. Once your porting is complete, you can personally schedule your migration to your UCaaS, CCaaS, or conferencing provider of choice right down to the second. Not “sometime in the next few days,” but a precise hour:min:second for each employee, each team, each floor, at each location. You get control to migrate your way, with no downtime.

Ports – even big, project ports – don’t have to be disruptive. Armed with a little intel and some preparation, you can migrate your telephony to the cloud on the timeline that works best for you. For more information about how Bandwidth gives businesses the control and flexibility to manage their telecom at scale, visit our website.

Caitlin Long

Guest Blog by Caitlin Long, Product Marketing Manager, Bandwidth
Bandwidth delivers cloud-ready voice, text messaging, and 9-1-1 built for the enterprise. We work with some of the biggest brands in the world to disrupt industries, create new products, and change the way people communicate. 


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