SIP trunking is an increasingly popular approach to business communications primarily due to its low cost and flexibility. SIP trunking allows businesses to get rid of expensive traditional PRI lines and greatly reduce or eliminate long distance charges altogether. Not only that, but SIP trunking is easily scalable, so companies pay for only the exact number of channels that they need with the ability to grow instantly on-demand. Although it may sound technically complicated, with the right partner enabling a SIP trunk is something almost anyone can do. Here are the six simple steps involved.
Step 1 – Find Out if Your PBX is SIP Enabled
If your PBX system was made in the last ten years, it is probably already SIP enabled. If it is older, you’ll need to check. If it has a data jack or Ethernet jack on the back, there’s a good chance that it is ready for SIP trunking. Check the user guide for a section that talks about setting up a SIP trunk. You’ll notice words like “IP Calling” or “SIP-enabled.” If you determine that your PBX is not IP enabled, that’s OK. You can still use SIP trunking, but you’ll need a device called an Analog Telephony Adapter (ATA). The ATA converts analog signals to digital. They are inexpensive and available from companies like Grandstream and Cisco.
Step 2 – Figure Out How Many SIP Channels You Need
Most SIP trunks are sold by the channel. Each channel supports one outgoing or incoming call. So that means that the number of channels you need depends on how you use your phones. It usually isn’t necessary to have a channel for each employee unless your business is such that it is likely everyone will be on the phone at the same time. Most businesses find, however, that one channel is sufficient for three to four employees.
Step 3 – Check Your Internet Bandwidth
SIP trunking uses the internet to send your calls to the Public Switched Telephone Network, so you want to make sure that you have enough bandwidth to ensure quality calls. If you are using a modern business internet connection like cable, T1, or DSL, you are probably fine. To be sure, check out this article on how to calculate the exact amount of bandwidth you will need for SIP trunking.
Step 4 – Verify that QoS is Enabled
Quality of Service, or QoS for short, is a router setting that gives voice traffic priority over data traffic on the network. This prevents certain activities like downloading large files or streaming video from impacting voice quality. Your router probably already has QoS capabilities, so make sure they are enabled. If it doesn’t, it is a good idea to get one that does.
Step 5 – Set Up Your PBX
You do need to complete some configuration on your PBX to enable SIP trunking. Your SIP vendor should give you instructions. It is smart to pick a SIP trunking provider that is available to walk you through the process or configure your PBX for you if you run into any issues.
Step 6 – Take a Test Drive
The last step is to do a test to make sure that your environment, SIP solution and equipment all work well together. Your SIP trunking vendor should offer a free trial so that you can be certain all is well before you commit.
That’s really all there is to it. Once you do these simple steps, you can kick back, relax and figure out what to do with all the money you’ll save.