• United States
Executive Editor

Using VoIP technology to improve network availability in emergency situtaions

Jan 03, 20062 mins

* How New York Board of Traders uses VoIP

While it may seem to run counter to the reputation of VoIP, the New York Board of Trade is using the technology as a way to improve network availability in case of an emergency.

The board runs an exchange where brokers buy and sell futures in cocoa, coffee, sugar, cotton and frozen orange juice concentrate – a business that involves lots of high-pressure deals. It’s one of those places where traders really do talk on two phones at once.

So the phone system is important, and after September 11, 2001, the board had to move from lowe Manhattan, where it had been located for more than 100 years, to a back-up site on Long Island. Two years later it is back in Manhattan, using a VoIP service that provides disaster backup that is elegant in its simplicity.

Within the board’s facility, the phone system is traditional TDM, using digital PBXs and the associated specialized trading applications and desktop phone “turrets” the brokers need. But calls to the outside are carried as VoIP on an MPLS network run by Paetec Financial Services, a New York area IP service provider.

Because the service compresses the voice, NYBOT saves  some money on T-1 lines that feed the phone system. Rather than using 64Kbps per call, the VoIP service uses 24Kbps, so a T-1 supports 60 rather than 24 calls.

But the main attraction is the fact that direct-dial incoming calls can be automatically broadcast to more than one phone. So each call is broadcast – to the desktop in the board of trade and to the corresponding desktop at the board’s disaster-recovery facility.

When it’s business-as-usual at the board, nobody is at the back-up site, so nobody answers the phone there. In an emergency, when the back-up site is being used, the phones are ringing at traders desks. The beauty of the setup is that when there is an emergency, nobody has to do anything to get the phones to ring at the disaster-recovery trading floor.

It’s a clever use of one of VoIPs capabilities.