Thursday Oct 23, 2014

Resolving Enterprise Routing & Dialing Plan complexity with Enterprise Communications Broker (ECB)
By Gabriel Ostolaza

If you rely on PBXs to determine a Dial Plan and a routing plan, then as PBXs are added to the network, not only do you need to program the new PBXs, but a significant programming effort is also required on all the existing systems. By sending all calls to an Enterprise Communications Broker (ECB) for centralized processing, the addition of new PBXs requires only a simple configuration for that new PBX and a small modification to the existing ECB configuration.

In addition, added PBXs may be of different manufacture and require new skills and will further complicate the task.

It doesn’t matter whether the new PBXs are geographically local or remote.

Here is a challenge too often presented. To accomplish full, unblocked, communication between disparate networks, a mesh system seems the only answer. Such a mesh will expand on an N-squared algorithm leading to a completely unmanageably complex network. This type of network is unreliable, has many points of failure, is difficult to troubleshoot and difficult to scale.

Figure 1

Different locations within the same enterprise, such as Corporate HQ, branch office, remote office, regional HQ, and so on, may all have access to the enterprise network, trunks and private lines. However, each may have different Dial Plans – some use 4-digit extensions, others may use 5-digit extensions, or more. This is often governed by the vendor mix used in the different locations. It is particularly noticeable when one company acquires another and wishes to integrate the two companies’ telephone system. Some locations may use exactly the same scheme including the same number range, so that dialing 1234 in one location may wake up the folks in the cafeteria, while dialing 1234 in another location may call the boss.

When an employee travels from one location to another he/she must remember to use the dialing plan of the current location and a call back to his/her office usually ends up being a call on the public system rather than using the enterprise facilities.

What if a traveling employee could simply dial the extension of her primary location as if at his/her own desk? A smart telephone system would know that the employee wanted to make a call to another corporate location, rather than to a local extension.

This is called “Dialing Plan Management” and is a feature of the Oracle Enterprise Communications Broker (ECB).

Figure 2

Here is a para-typical ECB network configuration. In this network, an enterprise uses a variety of telephony equipment and services. The vendor equipment could be geographically dispersed world-wide, but are all connected to the same enterprise network. The enterprise telephony services and applications could be central or similarly dispersed, but shared by the whole enterprise.

Each vendor and/or location could use different Dial Plans, thus making calls between them difficult to avoid using external telephony services. This makes such calls expensive and vulnerable to security concerns.

To facilitate Dial Plan management and session routing, the ECB would be placed at some central, or core, location within the network. It is likely that it would have a close or direct link to the gateway devices such as an SBC if one is employed.


  • Centralizes enterprise-wide Dial Plan and session routing
  • Provides SIP registrar function for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) users
  • Provides session-aware layer for application enablement
  • Provides policy control and enforcement
  • Handles SIP traffic only – Not media


  • Streamlines architecture
  • Simplifies provisioning
  • Supports multivendor communications environment
  • Extends to new applications and services
Figure 3

Interface Layout

The ECB uses a purpose built GUI as its primary configuration and administration access. The GUI is not an “Add-on”, rather it is designed to be the primary access to the system. As a result, the GUI is well-designed and it provides the user an intuitive view into the system that makes configuration, provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting easy.

Figure 4

More information:
If you would like to find out more about the Oracle Enterprise Communications Broker, I advise taking the following Oracle University course: Oracle Communications ECB Configuration and Administration (3 days).

See all of the available training for Acme Packet products.
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Oracle University provides courses in traditional classroom and live virtual class formats. Custom and private training events can be arranged to suit your exact training requirements.

If you have any questions about the above or require training advice, please contact me:

About the Author:

Gabriel Ostolaza

Gabriel Ostolaza (Gabo) is an Industrial Engineer with a double Advanced University Degree from ICAI (Madrid) and Supelec (Paris). He is a highly motivated and passionate Technical Instructor/Developer and Training Manager with 8 years experience of Acme Packet/Oracle University Training, and 10 years at Nortel Training before that (Data, Voice, Security, SDH, DWDM, CTI and VoIP). He can deliver almost ALL Acme Packet courses in English, French or Spanish. His main achievement, of which he is deeply proud, is to lead a team of the most technical and professional instructors who are constantly achieving extremely good customer satisfaction. Excellence and efficiency are his objectives; passion and hard work are his way of achieving them.


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