SIP trunking has become a buzzword in the telecom industry. What is it, and why should you consider taking advantage of it?
SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) refers to the technology which relies on a data network for voice communication. SIP trunking replaces the traditional telephone network by using your data network to connect to the Public Switched Telephone Network. (SIP trunks become your “phone lines” to the outside world.)
You should consider switching to SIP trunks because you may be able to realize several benefits, such as:
- Reduced communications costs (potentially significant savings on your monthly phone bill)
- Better features (DIDs, control over outgoing number, etc.)
- Simplified communications infrastructure
Top Benefits of SIP Trunking
*Reduce Communications Costs
Monthly line access costs tend to be significantly less with SIP trunks than they do with standard telephone lines. Many companies discover that the cost savings of switching to SIP more than offsets the cost of upgrading their phone system or the cost of breaking a contract with their service provider.
SIP trunks use bandwidth flexibly and efficiently, so you can get more from available broadband bandwidth.
In addition to the standard business services you expect, SIP supports advanced IP services, such as the ability to have local numbers in various markets served by one central business phone system—so called parties only see the phone number you want them to see, and don’t try to call you on a secondary number. In addition, Direct Inward Dialing (DIDs) numbers can be assigned to individual extensions.
*Simplify the Communications Infrastructure
Since SIP Trunking works over IP networks, it potentially eliminates the complexity of managing separate services such as PRI or multiple analog lines.
*Get More out of Available Trunk Bandwidth
Unlike ISDN trunks with their fixed voice or data channels, with SIP trunking, bandwidth can be dynamically allocated between voice and data at any time. If there are many concurrent calls, more bandwidth can be used for voice, and if nobody is talking on the phone, all bandwidth is available for data.
*Support Business-grade Voice Quality
Shifting voice calls onto the data network doesn’t require compromise. You can get the voice quality you expect by using a business-grade broadband connection and enterprise-class router/firewall, with the router being configured to prioritize voice traffic over data traffic.
Let Baron Help You Decide
Although saving money may be the primary reason for going to SIP trunking, there are other factors to consider when choosing the best vendor. There are major differences in how providers package, price and deliver their offerings. We believe you should consider these questions when making this important decision:
Question #1: What are my call capacity needs?
While most businesses do not want callers to get busy signals, you also do not want to have more lines and expense than you need.
Count your current lines, both incoming & outgoing, and note how many times during a week they are all in use. Identify heavy call periods or seasonal call volumes and factor this into your decision.
Question #2: How much bandwidth will I need for SIP trunks?
Each telephone conversation will require a certain amount of bandwidth. This amount can vary, but along with that comes a variation in quality.
There are several compression algorithms that impact the quality and bandwidth requirements. To be safe, we recommend you figure 80k per call, times the number of simultaneous calls, to arrive at the bandwidth needed.
Voice does not consume a huge amount of bandwidth, but it is still necessary to properly calculate the requirements.
Question #3: Will I have to change my current internet service?
That will depend on whether or not your bandwidth meets or exceeds your current needs, after factoring in the voice traffic.
Many businesses find that they are able to improve the internet performance at the same time as moving to SIP trunking.
It is important to review all the applications that are utilizing the internet connection including cloud-based applications.
Question #4: Will I have to change my Trunking Service Provider?
While some legacy service providers are beginning to offer SIP services, it is likely that you will want to move to an Internet Telephony Service Provider.
Not all providers are alike! Some lack Quality Of Service standards (QOS) and Service Level Agreements (SLA’s) which are critical in order to provide a quality connection.
Voice conversations cannot wait when the data traffic is slowed. Prioritization of voice traffic may be required if network congestion exists due to insufficient broadband.
Using a “business class” internet service connection or transport method is critical.
Question #5: What extra equipment will I need?
You will need either a gateway, which converts SIP to analog, or an interface device that accepts the SIP trunking service directly into your telephone system.
Many systems today are being designed to natively accept SIP service and thereby eliminate the analog hardware of the past.
Question #6: What about my fax and alarm lines?
Two devices that remain dependent on analog lines are your fax and alarm systems. Fax simply does not work reliably over VOIP. As technology advances continue, we expect the “fax over SIP” functionality to improve. In the meantime, you should keep an analog line for fax or move to an e-fax application and manage fax electronically at the desktop.
Alarm systems have traditionally used analog lines, however many alarm companies now support other connection methods. Contact your alarm company to learn more from them about your options.
Many businesses use the same analog line for fax and alarm needs.
Question #7: What other things should I consider when moving to SIP trunking?
You may want to consider a backup internet circuit and run voice and data on separate circuits. This also provides a higher reliability in the event of internet service disruption.
You will want to review your current service to determine if you are under a contract with the current provider. Even if you are, you may be able to benefit from SIP by moving a portion of your service (outbound calling for example) to SIP until the contract term is expired. In some cases, the savings from SIP are so great that paying the early termination fee to get out of the contract still makes sense.