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What You Need To Know: Number Porting

Updated: Feb 5, 2019

Multiple number porting seems straightforward at a glance, but it’s a process with a lot of complication behind the scenes that can potentially bottleneck and impact the process. My team and I have assisted in porting tens of thousands of numbers and the questions remain the same; What happens if the numbers do not transfer correctly, can we roll back to the existing voice solution (typically called a "Snapback")? What happens if some of the numbers work and some do not? What happens if the numbers get stuck in the porting process and they are unable to work on the new solution or the existing? All of these are good questions.

What happens if some numbers work and some don’t?

This is traditionally the easiest issue to fix. If all the numbers are on one LOA or RESPORG and on one account with the losing carrier, only some numbers are working, most of the time it is not the paperwork that is the issue. If some of the numbers work and some do not, it usually means they are not programmed correctly with the winning carrier. Typically, the winning carrier can make quick changes to bring the number up. However, we strongly encourage having an experienced team on a conference call with the winning carrier during a number port to assist with any call routing or programming.

Numbers that are Stuck in the port:

Numbers stuck in the porting process traditionally means they were not programmed correctly to be released from the losing carrier and the winning carrier can’t find them to bring them into their solution. If this happens you need to work with the losing carrier to ensure the numbers are released and then with the winning carrier to find them and program them correctly in their switches.

Snapback Process:

This is a last resort during a port gone bad. Snapback means you have successfully ported the numbers to the winning carrier and for whatever reason the numbers are not working, and services can’t come up, you need to start the Snapback process pulling the numbers back to the original carrier.

The winning carrier needs to release the numbers back to the losing carrier. Then the losing carrier needs to place the numbers back into the routing solution they were once on. If done right, the numbers should come right back up once they are brought back to the losing carrier (routing is not usually purged from the losing carrier right away, so bringing the numbers back quickly will ensure they fall right back into the previous routing tables if this is done correctly).

8xx numbers traditionally are quickly completed for a Snapback (20 minutes to 2 hours) if you can get the proper teams at both the losing and winning carrier to make it a priority. DID’s and 1FB’s are a different situation. It can take 4 – 48 hours to bring a DID or 1FB back into production depending on how busy the teams are from both carriers and the complexity.

Because of the downtime for a Snapback, it is very important to have tribute numbers during the port process. “Tribute numbers” are test numbers to port with little to no traffic associated to them, and this will ensure interoperability. Once the tribute numbers test clean, it is good practice to port numbers in batches. If something starts to go wrong not all numbers will need to be put through the Snapback process.

Additional items to consider:

Have a QA team available to test numbers as they are ported and propagated through the solution. Make sure you have the phone numbers and escalation list for the losing carriers LNP, RESPORG groups in case you need to Snapback (you should already have the winning carrier on a bridge during the porting time). Have a predetermined strategy if/when you want to call the port unsuccessful so there are no questions as to what needs to be done and when.

Lastly, it is vital to have a dedicated team (like mine) in place to assist with porting and your project. If you are planning a migration/port and need advice from an experienced team of professionals, fill out the “contact us” section on this blog. The sooner you engage us the better. A bad port can be a resume maker.


© Chris Newell and Techvoyager.net 2019

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