04/05/19 22:58 PM  

RingCentral Unified Communications Reference Architecture

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Summary
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Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Acronyms
3. Reference Architecture Specification
4. SMB/SoHo Networks
5. Wireless Networks
6. Wide-Area Networks
7. CloudConnect
8. Software-Defined Networks and SD-WAN Networks


1. Introduction
The purpose of this document is to provide customers with a reference architecture for the Unified Communication Services provided by RingCentral. This document provides a description of the reference architecture and its functional components. These components reside in the RingCentral Cloud, the network connecting the cloud with the enterprise sites, and at enterprise sites, and may be provided by RingCentral, carriers, and customers.

The RingCentral reference architecture can be used in conjunction with the Network Requirements and Recommendations to understand the context of the latter.

2. Acronyms

Table 1 summarizes the acronyms used in this document.
 

Table 1. Acronyms

BW

Bandwidth

PSTN

Public Switched Telephone Network

DMZ

Demilitarized Zone

QoS

Quality of Service

DSL

Digital Subscriber Line

SMB

Small and Medium-sized Business

IP

Internet Protocol

SoHo

Small office - Home office

ISP

Internet Service Provider

VLAN

Virtual Local Area Network

ICMP

Internet Control Message Protocol

VoIP

Voice over IP

ITSP

Internet Telephony Service Provider

WAN

Wide-Area Network

OTT

Over-the-Top (over plain internet service)

WiFi

Set of standards for wireless communication

PoE

Power over Ethernet

 

 


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3. Reference Architecture Specification
The RingCentral Unified Communications Reference Architecture is illustrated below. The top of the diagram indicates a call control function, a media server function, and carrier telephony interfaces. This functionality is implemented in the RingCentral cloud. Details of this functionality are not provided because they are irrelevant for the enterprise-site requirements stated in this document. The figure provides representative sample designs of enterprise sites, including smaller site illustrating SoHo environments. In terms of traffic flow, the notions of inbound and outbound are defined relative to the local enterprise network that is connected to a service provider network:

• outbound is away from the enterprise site or in the direction of the service provider network.
• inbound is to the enterprise site or from the service provider network into the local enterprise network.

The functionality in the Reference Architecture is color-coded as follows:
 
RingCentral-provided cloud-based and onsite functionality including call controller, voice and video media servers, carrier interfaces, phones, and RingCentral soft-clients running on enterprise computers, are illustrated in orange. Note that customers sometimes retain existing desk phones from prior non-RingCentral VoIP deployments, in which case it is not designated as RingCentral provided.

Internet is green

Customer functionality is blue.

An enterprise network may include one or more of the following functional components:
 
 Firewall - Supports inbound and outbound packet filtering and network interfaces that can be of Ethernet, cable modem, or other types.

 Router - Performs IP routing and packet forwarding, and may support other functions such as layer 3 bandwidth management and ICMP related functions.

 Ethernet Switch - Supports frame switching and may support additional functions such as VLANs, layer 2 port control and filtering, and Power over Ethernet (PoE).

 Desktop Telephone - The phones perform two main functions:
 
Call Control - Phone registration and call handling (setup, forwarding, teardown, call progress indication, etc.).

Voice Signal Processing - Analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog conversion, sidetone injection, voice framing, jitter buffering, echo cancellation, speaker and microphone functionality.
 
 Endpoint  - A device, such as a computer or mobile phone, running RingCentral softphone or collaboration applications such as RingCentral Meetings or Glip may be connected to an Ethernet switch or WiFi network. In case a wired network is used, a computer may also be connected in series with a desk phone connected.
 
RingCentral Reference Architecture
 
In general, enterprise network implementations are site dependent. For example, large offices will have more advanced firewalling, routing, and switching equipment than small branch-office sites. Implementation variations at enterprise sites include the following:
 
One or multiple ISP WAN links may be present. In the latter case, one dedicated link could be used for VoIP service and another link for data services. Failover may be implemented between both links.

Multiple firewalls may be present, for example, to demarcate a DMZ.

The Wide Area Network interface, firewall, router, and switch may be implemented as separate functions or combinations of functions. In larger deployments, functions are often implemented as individual devices. In SMB environments, functions are often combined into fewer devices. An example is an all-in-one modem or cable modem, which combines the WAN interface, firewall, router, and switch functions. An all-in-one modem may also be configured to operate in bypass mode. In bypass mode, a separate firewall and router located behind the modem may be deployed to provide more advanced firewalling and routing capabilities.

Multiple sites may be connected into a hub-and-spoke architecture, where all traffic between sites traverses the central hub. Traffic to/from the Internet may also have to pass the central hub. For redundancy purposes, the remote spokes may have a local Internet connection.

Sites may be connected to the RingCentral cloud by one or more private CloudConnect links, see section 8.

Several levels of routers or Ethernet switches may be present. This is typically the case at large enterprise site, which often have core switches connecting to access switches.

Sites may have various types of desk phones and softphones, depending on user needs.
 
Voice and video calls can be made between phones at a single enterprise site, between phones at different enterprise sites, or calls may connect to an ITSP or a PSTN gateway. The Call Controller registers the phones and handles call orchestration between various components. To support calls, the following types of connectivity must exist from endpoints in the enterprise network:
 
• Call control connectivity with RingCentral Call Controller
• Media path connectivity with RingCentral Media Service
• Connectivity with various types of support services such as the RingCentral provisioning service and a network time service.
 
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4. SMB/SoHo Networks
Small Medium Businesses and Small Office - Home Office (SMB/SoHo) networks are mostly connected to cable provider or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) ISP networks.

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5. Wireless Networks
WiFi and 4G networks are pervasively used for enterprise communication since they provide flexible modes of cooperation between workers. WiFi devices include laptops, mobile phones, and hand-held devices.

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6. Wide-Area Networks
Enterprises can use Wide-Area Networks (WANs) in various ways:
• Between sites within an enterprise as a private network.
• To connect an enterprise site or data center via a public or private connection to RingCentral leveraging CloudConnect (Section 7).

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7. CloudConnect
RingCentral CloudConnect supports the ability to implement private connectivity between one or more enterprise sites and the RingCentral Unified Communication Cloud. Depending on the type of CloudConnect, the enterprise/carrier Wide-Area Network (WAN) can be extended into one or both RingCentral data centers in a cloud region, see https://www.ringcentral.com/office/features/cloudconnect/overview.html. The network interface between the WAN and the RingCentral cloud must meet RingCentral’s physical and peering protocol requirements.
 
Table 1. CloudConnect Options
CloudConnect Option
Architecture
Simplex + OTT
A CloudConnect circuit from the carrier/enterprise WAN cloud to a single RingCentral data center, with OTT backup
Georedundant + OTT
A CloudConnect circuit from the carrier/enterprise WAN cloud to each of the RingCentral data centers within a cloud region, with optional OTT backup

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8. Software-Defined Networks and SD-WAN Networks
A Software-Defined Network (SDN) provides the ability to consistently manage connectivity and connection parameters, such as security and QoS, between sites leveraging centralized network control. Connections can be established between sites and services in a matter of minutes to hours, which used to take days or months. SDNs are an inlay network technology in the sense that they replace or optimize current network technologies to simplify end-to-end management of connections.

In contrast to SDN, Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) is an overlay network technology build on top of already existing network infrastructures of one or more Internet Service Providers. It has similar characteristics as SDN by leveraging centralized control of connections. In addition, an SD-WAN allows dynamic steering of traffic over one or multiple service provider networks to establish the highest quality connection.

Both SDN and SD-WAN networks support delivery of RingCentral Unified Communication services provided that the network requirements stated in this document are met. RingCentral has a select group of SD-WAN Connectivity partners.
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