9 Questions to Ask Before Subscribing to a SIP Service

SIP trunkingSIP trunking questions is turning into the top choice for business communications and it’s no wonder why. SIP offers a low cost, easy to use and flexible alternative to traditional telephone lines. SIP trunks are easy to deploy and with the right vendor, you get all of the guidance and technical support you need. But there’s the rub. Not every vendor offers the same capabilities, flexibility, and help. Your telephones are the lifeline of your business, so it is essential that you choose a vendor with the right set of features and business practices. By asking each of the following questions, you’ll be able to select the best vendor for you.

Do you use a Tier-1, redundant network?

As with anything, there is a tradeoff between cost and reliability in SIP trunking. In order to cut costs, some venders leverage sub-standard networks that don’t offer the performance and reliability necessary to ensure uninterrupted, high-quality business communications. The best way to protect yourself against a bad SIP experience is to insist on a service that uses only Tier-1 upstream providers with redundant networks to route the SIP traffic.

Will it be easy for me to manage my SIP service?

SIP is popular with businesses of all sizes because it can be very easy to manage and maintain even if you don’t have experienced telecommunications experts on standby. You can find a SIP service that is easy to use and built for self-service with an online portal that is available from anywhere, anytime.

How much internet bandwidth will I need and what are your policies regarding internet service?

Because SIP trunking uses the internet to connect your calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network, you need to make sure that you have enough bandwidth to support the maximum number of concurrent calls that you expect. You should also ask about the policies of the vendor. Some vendors insist that you purchase internet connectivity from them, while others give you the flexibility to choose the best ISP for your business.

How am I protected against toll fraud?

Sadly, toll fraud is a persistent problem that is faced by the entire telecommunications industry. Bad actors are constantly coming up with new ways to defraud businesses, usually through unauthorized international calls. Every vendor you consider should have automated systems designed to detect toll fraud and protect clients from this type of theft.

Can I cancel any at time?

Flexibility is a big benefit of SIP trunking. Unlike traditional PRI contracts that bind you to a carrier for the long-term, you can find a SIP vendor that will let you cancel your subscription at any time. Make sure you understand the conditions under which you can cancel or reduce the number of SIP channels.

Can I use the service for telemarketing?

If you are a telemarketing organization or have a high volume call center, it is very important to discuss this with the vendor.  Some SIP trunking service providers are not set up to handle this type of traffic and add large surcharges. There are vendors that accept dialer traffic, but be sure to bring it up if this is an issue for you.

Can I use my PBX?

Most modern PBX systems are already IP enabled and should work well with SIP trunking, but there are a couple of caveats. Not all SIP services will work with the many open source, free PBX solutions out there, (Astrisk and FreePBX are examples) so if you are using one of these solutions, be sure to verify that the SIP trunking vendor supports them. Older PBX systems that are not IP enabled can work with some SIP solutions using a device called an Analog Telephone Adapter. If you have a legacy PBX, be sure to ask the vendor whether this is supported.

By asking these simple questions, you’ll ensure that the SIP trunking solution you choose will be a good fit for your business. Every reputable vendor should be happy to answer them for you. Once you check them off, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the cost savings and flexibility of your new SIP solution.