7 Questions to Ask When Evaluating SIP Providers

Questions for SIP Providers
Important question to ask of SIP providers.

The old saying goes, “If you don’t know jewels, know your jeweler.” This advice is certainly applicable to the selection of a SIP provider. Most people aren’t intimately familiar with the intricacies of SIP trunking, so a certain level of trust between provider and customer is required. That’s why it is so important to be careful when evaluating SIP providers.  Each SIP provider being considered should be able to provide you with satisfactory answers to the following questions:

Describe your company history.

SIP trunking is a relatively new technology, having been introduced in 1996, so no provider has been around for terribly long.  However, there many brand new entrants into the market, so you want to be wary of SIP providers who can’t demonstrate a significant history of providing top quality customer service.

What is your quality of service?

Reputable SIP providers will provide you with information about their quality of service.  Particularly, you are interested in Packet Loss and Latency data.  Look for a SIP provider that can provide a Packet Loss of less than 1% and Latency of less than 150 milliseconds.

Do you offer automated provisioning?

With automated provisioning, you can scale your SIP infrastructure in seconds.  When you need additional channels or even if you need to scale down, you don’t want to wait for someone to process your order.  With today’s technology there’s no reason to choose a vendor that doesn’t offer this service.

How large is your DID footprint?

Your SIP provider should have available numbers in your area or be able to quickly and easily obtain them through their carrier.  You also want to make sure that they can port your telephone numbers in a maximum of 2 weeks.  If international calling is important to y our business, be sure to ask about International DIDs as well.

Do you charge for inbound CNAM delivery?

Incoming callerID Name (CNAM) is essential for businesses that need to identify callers.  Some SIP providers charge for this service.  Even thought it may be a fraction of a penny per use, there’s just no reason to pay for it when the best vendors offer it free of charge.

Do you utilize redundant SIP gateways?”

All of the SIP providers that you consider should have more than one gateway for routing SIP calls.  Additionally, the gateways should be in geographically dispersed locations to ensure uninterrupted service in the event of a technical failure or local emergency.

Do you release the media?

This may seem quite technical, but it is an important consideration.  Releasing the media, or the actual audio of the telephone call, directly to the underlying carrier’s closest gateways means the provider is a proxy for SIP signaling. This optimizes performance and reduces latency.  It is also useful to know that pinging the SIP provider’s gateway is not an accurate measure of performance if they are  releasing the media of the phone call to the carrier.  The question above about historical Packet Loss and Latency is a far better indicator of performance.

Knowing how each of the SIP providers you consider answers these questions should make vendor selection easier and should provide you with the piece of mind that you’ve made a great decision for your business.