Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Providing robust reliability for a globally distributed non-profit


ICANN holds meetings three times annually with key staff in globally diverse venues ranging in attendance of 1500 to 3000 individuals. This required a communication solution enabling mobility engineering staff to quickly bring the system up with less logistical effort spent to bringing up supporting infrastructure for communications.

Internet as an everyday service powers a tremendous number of technologies and enterprises – nearly all of which with a public Internet presence. Whether that be a simple homepage providing basic information about a company, an Internet media streaming service, cloud-based remote storage solutions, personal blogs, e-commerce, and beyond; each of these organizations and services needs to be able to be identified by systems accessing and to be able to identify in turn using a human meaningful format. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or more succinctly ICANN, oversees the immensely sized and complex interconnected network of unique identifiers that allow computers on the Internet to find one another. ICANN consists of more targeted committees, advisories, and departments such as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) who are responsible for important services and functions like administration of root nameservers, parameters of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) protocols, and delegation of IP address blocks to the Regional Internet Registries (RIR’s).

As a non-profit with a global presence and scope, ICANN’s ability to communicate with its own staff is just as important as communicating with its stakeholders globally. Despite its large scale and prominence as one of the cruxes that enables convenient Internet use, ICANN’s communication systems share the concerns of cost-effectiveness, reliability, ease of use and deployment, and feature set with organizations many magnitudes smaller than itself.

ICANN's Situation

Like most organizations, ICANN’s many locations necessitate a number of fixed handsets to reach key personnel in a reliable manner as a normal facet of daily operations. A little less common than most organizations, staff may be on call to address the potential of critical failure or impediment to operations swiftly with a consistent channel of communication. Even less common than most organizations, ICANN holds meetings three times annually with key staff in globally diverse venues ranging in attendance of 1500 to 3000 individuals necessitating a communication solution enabling mobility engineering staff to quickly bring the system up with less logistical effort spent to bringing up supporting infrastructure for communications.

While the scope of operations and the requirements for a communications system may have unique challenges, ICANN found itself seeking the same fundamental requirements as others: cost-effectiveness, reliability, ease of use and deployment, and a strong feature set.

Our Solution

For ICANN’s location in Washington DC, the previous phone system Switchvox and various providers presented a strong baseline of expectations when considering seeking a new provider: a solution that could be customized, less expensive, and agile. NocTel provided a cost-estimate and ROI for switching service in collaboration with the Washington DC site personnel, where the lack of maintenance and licensing fees were greatly welcomed in addition to a lower base rate for calling. Being an organization where on call personnel were present, ICANN found the service level agreement of NocTel’s support an ideal fit. Personnel with on call duties found NocTel’s customizable call routing functionality conducive to allowing others to reach them consistently through their on-premises handset number or extension, but having calls route to a mobile device in the event an incident occurs while not on-premise. With customized call routing, on call staff can be reached at the same number or extension even when not on-premise helping those reporting incidents to effectively reach on call staff and on call staff responding more expediently to new incidents and receiving and providing updates. Both for normal operations and in the event of emergency, allowing handsets located throughout the organization to dial one another directly through extension streamlined communication – particularly when an individual at one location frequently contacts others outside their local office.

NocTel’s conferencing phones and deployment drastically simplified one of the more costly and frustrating logistical aspects or ICANN’s engineering team responsible for setting up meetings in different locations thrice annually. Prior to considering and adopting NocTel, ICANN engineers would typically rent conference rooms and conference phones at each venue. With 1500 or more in attendance per meeting, this adds up to a large cost to execute the event – especially when factoring in rates varied by the hosting country. With NocTel’s solution, ICANN’s engineers needed only to procure suitable Internet connectivity for VoIP, segregate voice traffic on a dedicated VLAN, and connect up the conference phones. Not only did this prove incredibly simple, but ICANN was able to enjoy a much more reasonable call rate as the conference phones were provisioned with USA local numbers and thereby adopting domestic rates when calling into conference bridges or to other domestic handsets.

In addition to the assessment of NocTel service for each of the scenarios ICANN faced, adopting ICANN personnel were given training by NocTel technical staff on how to administrate handsets remotely via the web-based Control Panel. This resource with NocTel’s online knowledge base and 24×7 support for issues and queries gave ICANN all the materials needed to better understand how NocTel’s hosted VoIP service would accomplish their goals to improve operations and reduce expense while providing flexible operation and features.

Results and Feedback

After a combined service history of almost 4 years, ICANN has remained a consistently satisfied and valuable customer. NocTel’s conference phone solution has been fully adopted with a working fleet of Polycom devices deployed at each meeting. NocTel has proven year after year its solution remains effective for ICANN and has remained loyal to ensuring current service and expansion of service continues to be simple, effective, and affordable. As more handsets are added periodically at ICANN, NocTel has responded by dispatching engineers to assist onsite to address any unexpected difficulties and provide support and training for new staff starting service with NocTel.

In reflection, Reed Quinn, a systems engineer notes, “We now have redundant connectivity for service in our offices, utilizing a primary and backup connection to NocTel. We can reach our offices all over the world by dialing a 4-digit extension, regardless of their local equipment. NocTel service was selected because we were looking for a custom solution tailored to our needs. ICANN needed a provider who could offer us reliability and functionality for our stakeholders worldwide. On top of that, we really wanted a company that provides excellent customer support. We needed help building our caller experience and not only did they help us, they added our solution to their knowledge base the next day. With NocTel we feel like we matter because they’ve shown us we do.”

With NocTel we feel like we matter because they’ve shown us we do.

Reed Quinn, Systems Engineer, ICANN & IANA

Summary of Benefits Provided

While mobile conferencing for organizations may be a matter of utilizing the provided resources at a venue, for ICANN the scale of voice conferencing in conjunction with the wide variety of venue locations culminates into an unpleasantly expensive affair. With NocTel’s solution, ICANN has enjoyed the following benefits:

  • Simple plug-and-provision deployment of office handsets and conference phones allow extremely short deployment to use times
  • Consolidation of office and mobile conference voice services simplifies expenditure records for the organization
  • Straightforward structure of service bill leaves no ambiguity as to where or what aspect of service incurred what charge
  • Remote management and configuration of office handsets allow for quick changes even when not onsite
  • Conference phone rates incurring large savings due to the use of domestic call rates even when deployed internationally

As ICANN’s needs grow they can expect NocTel to be ready to listen, assist, and cooperatively solve future challenges. The same expectations are true for all our customers.


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