Four Problems with Toll Free Number Reliability

Problems with toll free number reliability can be caused by lack of multiple redundant routes, dependence on a single data center, lack of failover provisioning in key server and network components, or lack of direct tier 1 carrier interconnects.  Better-equipped VoIP service providers deliver reliable toll free and local DID number service by offering multiple redundant routes, multiple data centers, failover handling, and direct tier 1 carrier interconnects.

1. Lack of Multiple Redundant Routes

Some VoIP service providers have very few carrier interconnects and cannot offer multiple redundant routes between where a call originates and where it’s supposed to terminate.  Calls can be blocked by a single failure on any part of the single route.

Failures can be caused by something as simple as a contractor mistakenly cutting a piece of fiber or copper cable.  Network failures affecting VoIP service providers can also be caused by maintenance mistakes that happen when updating server or router software, or even by power failures impacting network infrastructure.

2. Dependence on a Single Data Center

Many VoIP providers have just a single data center through which all calls can be placed.  Something as simple as a diesel fuel spill from a backup generator or an HVAC failure can take the data center off the air, and disable all toll free numbers and local numbers the VoIP provider has issued to its customers.  Depending on the severity of the issue, the data center can potentially be down for weeks.

Better-equipped VoIP service providers use multiple data centers and have provisions to recover operations in a backup data center not affected by the outage.

Redundant Call Routing Diagram


3. Lack of Failover Provisioning

Servers manage call initiation, call routing and billing in real time.  Servers also manage security, store recordings, and provide reporting and management functions used by business VoIP phone system customers, including call centers and offices.

When servers encounter a hardware or software failure, the VoIP-based toll free numbers and local numbers they serve won’t be able to place or receive calls.  That puts businesses and call centers out of service.  Besides server hardware and software failure, power supply failures cascade forward and bring down servers.

Better-provisioned VoIP service providers use multiple servers that work together in a failover configuration so that if one server fails, calls can be handled by others in the cluster.  For these stronger providers, storage is organized into large storage networks with multiple redundant drives that protect against drive failures.  Multiple power supplies are used so no single supply failure brings down a server.  In the same way, network components like routers, switches, and firewalls are dual-pathed so that a diversity of routes, even within a data center, ensure that calls are processed without interruption.

4. Lack of Direct Carrier Interconnects

Smaller VoIP service providers often buy routes from intermediate carriers instead of having direct connections with tier 1 providers.  When something goes wrong, the small VoIP service providers have to contact the resellers who provide them access to routes, and then the resellers have to figure out who to call.  This takes time and delays resolution of the problem, and inherently yields lower reliability.

Top providers of toll free number service and local numbers have direct interconnects with tier 1 providers around the world.  These top providers can resolve problems much more quickly and deliver higher availability to their customers.

References – Failures Affecting Toll Free Number and Local Number Reliability