Case Study: Austen Consultants Takes 3CX to The Cloud with TelcoBridges ProSBC
Austen Consultants, a Fort Worth-based cloud provider added hosted 3CX UCaaS to their offering based on customer requests
To meet customer access and security needs, it was clear that VPN would not scale and an SBC solution was needed to address security and NAT issues
Austen deployed TelcoBridges’ ProSBC in their VMware cloud infrastructure to facilitate customer access, inbound and outbound SIP trunking traffic management
Robo calling problems were addressed with integration of TranNexus ClearIP cloud service
Austen Consultants expects to scale up hosted 3CX offering to support 2,500 extensions and beyond, working toward becoming a CLEC
Benefits of ProSBC include pay-as-you-grow subscription, high reliability, improved security and avoiding difficult to manage CPE equipment at client sites
UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) solutions, are gaining popularity in nearly every customer environment. They offer flexibility and mobility to seamlessly connect branch offices while also make it possible for employees to work from home without losing productivity.
According to analyst reports, more than 80% of companies in North America are moving some – or all – of their enterprise telephony to the cloud this year. The global UCaaS market is forecasted to reach $36 Billion within the next 5 years. This presents enormous opportunities for solutions providers that can assemble all of the telephony services customers need and deliver them in a cloud-based fashion.
In addition to enhancing company productivity and mobility, cloud-based UCaaS systems are affordable: they don’t require CAPEX, such as bulky on-premises equipment. Customers pay on a monthly basis, and the service scales seamlessly, enabling customers to add lines as they grow.
Solutions providers are pursuing these cloud-based opportunities by bringing PBX systems, such as 3CX to the cloud. Many of these providers are discovering how a greater level of access, interoperability and security can be obtained by acquiring or upgrading their Session Border Controller to TelcoBridges’ ProSBC. This case study explains how one solutions provider – Fort Worth Texas-based Austen Consultants – enhanced its cloud-based 3CX offering with ProSBC.
“I never wanted to be a phone guy… but we had a customer that asked us to host 3CX for them…”
—Matt Ussery, CEO of Austen Consultants
The benefits of an all-cloud solution aren’t exclusive to users. UCaaS providers like Austen Consultants build their business model on a “100%-cloud” approach that simplifies the customer experience with a plug-and-play installation of IP-phones.
While many providers rely on Azure or AWS to provide services to their customers, Austen has built its own data center in Fort Worth Texas for their own private cloud. This gives them greater cost certainty as their business grows. It also makes it easier to control variables, such as security, call-quality, robo-calls, and it enables them to cost-effectively route inbound and outbound traffic from different SIP Trunking providers as they grow into new markets.
When customer premises equipment (CPE) must be installed and serviced at each customer’s physical location, it becomes difficult, time consuming, and costly for providers to expand operations. By servicing their customers through a unified UCaaS-model (each with unique VPNs and Private IPs) enables Austen to scale in a planned and streamlined fashion.
More importantly, the cloud offers better customer service, because it’s faster and easier to troubleshoot problems when everything is one place.
But in order to do these things effectively, the Session Border Controller that powers the solution must be optimized for the cloud. Unlike the 3CX SBC, which would be deployed at each customer’s premises as CPE, TelcoBridges’ ProSBC is cloud-based and does not require CPE. This is a key differentiator, a leading reason for wide adoption of ProSBC.
“One of our big challenges was figuring out how to deal with NAT at the end customers. We tried VPN, but it just wasn’t scalable. We needed an SBC.”
Austen’s 3CX cloud solution is currently deployed by a number of schools, in Texas, California, Illinois, and Florida – and they also provide services to a number of police stations, city/municipal customers and enterprise customers. Austen is managing more than 500 extensions – and within the next couple months, they expect to scale up to 2,500 extensions. With each passing month, they add lines, and the system is scaling issue-free.
• The system relies on ProSBCs to facilitate inbound remote IP-phone access, and to manage the Network Address Translation (NAT) traversal, as branch offices and home users access the system through different types of routers.
• A pair of ProSBC instances are used on the back end to manage multiple inbound and outbound SIP Trunking providers. In this case, Austen chose to dedicate one virtualized SBC for inbound traffic and another separate SBC for outbound traffic, making configuration and performance measurement easier.
Directly connected to the Internet, ProSBC provides the first layer of defense against attacks. With a built-in firewall and automatic rules generation, ProSBC has the performance to deflect DOS and DDOS attacks, while also blocking sniffers and registration floods.
Also addressing the growing problem of robo calls, the combination of ProSBC and TransNexus’ ClearIP has proven effective at blocking more than 95-percent of the would-be robo calls attempting to access their network. In this configuration, ProSBC is configured to route SIP traffic directly to ClearIP, where the ClearIP cloud software analyzes the SIP header to determine if it’s likely a robo call (which would be terminated), or legitimate traffic, which gets forwarded to the appropriate extension.
Watch the recorded webinar with a demonstration of 3CX in the cloud with ProSBC on YouTube:
“Once we found FreeSBC, as complete neophytes, we had it up and running in 10 days”
Austen’s Matt Ussery is proud of the business they’ve built on 3CX and ProSBC: the company has plans to grow into a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (C-LEC), where they’ll offer a wider range of telephony services, additional hosting and consulting services on a global scale.
“Our business model and all of our future growth depends on one simple thing – happy customers,” states Matt Ussery. “We’re able to deliver an incredibly robust set of services, that’s easy to purchase, requires nothing more than plugging phones into the wall to deploy, and is rock solid from a customer support perspective.”
TelcoBridges’ support has been amazing, adds Ussery. “One of our remote customers was experiencing an anomaly, and TelcoBridges’ support team immediately customized code for us to fix the problem. We really appreciated how quickly they were able to address this unique issue.”
“ProSBC’s price point is a no-brainer,” concludes Ussery. “The tool is intuitive and easy to learn. Within ten days from first seeing ProSBC, we learned TelcoBridges’ terminology, mastered the traffic flows, and developed our Proof of Concept (POC). The seamless interplay with TransNexus’ ClearIP is also noteworthy, as one of our clients was experiencing more than 200 robo calls per day, and we were able to fix that problem with just a few clicks. We also like the fact that ProSBC is fully compatible with STIR/SHAKEN, so that’s an interesting option for us down the line.”
… In today’s world, our working environments are becoming more diverse, more flexible and more mobile. That means our telephony systems must keep up – to ensure that we have all the communications tools we need, regardless of where we work. UCaaS solutions are a preferred choice for our evolving work patterns, and the combination of 3CX and ProSBC – delivered by experts such as Austen Consultants – are leading the way in providing these solutions.