Evaluating SIP Trunk Providers – What to Look For – What to Avoid

Choosing the Right SIP Trunk Vendor

What to look for in a SIP provider.
Don’t let this happen to you.

If you are considering implementing SIP trunking and looking for the best SIP trunk provider for you, it might be hard to get past all of the “marketing-speak” and find out what really sets each provider apart.  With so many providers offering similar technology, how do you make the right choice?  Here are a few key things to look for in a SIP provider and a few red flags.

Straightforward, Predictable SIP Trunk Pricing

One of the main reasons companies are moving away from traditional telephone lines and toward VoIP SIP trunks is the substantial cost savings that can be achieved.  It is important, therefore, to choose a SIP provider that offers a straightforward and easy-to-understand SIP pricing structure.  Make sure that you understand not only the monthly costs for each channel, but other setup fees, fees for toll free service, DIDs and ports.  If you require international calling, be sure that the provider offers competitive rates as well as protection against international toll fraud.  Avoid providers that are not upfront about all fees or charge excessively for support and other services that most providers offer at no additional charge.

Service and Bandwidth Flexibility

Another key advantage of SIP trunking over PRI lines is the ease and flexibility with which channels can be added or cancelled.  Users of SIP trunks shouldn’t need to guess how many lines will be needed in the future, rather they should be able to add or remove lines as needed without any long term contract or obligation.  The best providers offer easy to use self-service tools that let you customize your solution on the fly to meet the changing requirements for your business.  Also, look for a provider that offers you the flexibility to choose and purchase the high-speed Internet bandwidth that makes sense for your business.  Watch out for those that require you purchase connectivity from them. This boosts their profit, but denies you the chance to shop for the best value and service for your particular location and needs.

Compatibility With Your PBX of Choice

Not all SIP services are compatible with every IP-PBX.  Be sure that the SIP provider you select has experience working with the PBX you have deployed and those you might consider using in the future.  Pay particular attention if you are using one of the open source PBX solutions such as Asterisk, Elastix, FreeSwitch or other popular Graphical User Interfaces used to configure and control Asterisk, as some SIP solutions do not play well with these.

Reliable, Redundant Infrastructure

For most businesses, voice communications are critical.  For this reason, you’ll want to ensure that the SIP provider you select has a Tier 1 network with multiple gateways in different geographic locations.  This will ensure that you do not put all your eggs in one basket and risk service interruption if a single data center experiences a failure for any reason.  The popularity of SIP means that new providers are entering the market all the time.  You want to select one that has made the necessary infrastructure investments to protect your business.

You deserve a painless and hassle-free SIP installation experience.  Choosing the right SIP service provider can go a long way to helping you achieve the cost savings and flexibility you need without any headaches or surprises. It’s worth the investment of a little time to makes sure the vendor you select meets these core criteria.