I don’t know anything about SIP. Can I still use SIP Trunking?

We get the chance to talk to people who are thinking about switching to SIP trunkinig for their business communications all the time. Most of them have heard from friends and peers about how much money can be saved. Cutting costs by up to 60% is an attractive proposition for sure, but many business leaders are concerned that a lack of technical expertise within the company means that they won’t be able to effectively replace their traditional phone lines without spending a fortune on consultants or hiring an expert. It’s a reasonable concern, but the fact is you don’t have to understand all of the complexities and nuances of telephony to make the switch to SIP. In fact, the whole process is quite simple.

There are only a few concepts that you need to understand.

The Basics

SIP trunking involves a few core components. Here’s what you need to know about each of them.

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PBX – The PBX (Public Branch Exchange) is the main hardware component of your phone system. It contains the software that controls calls (called a soft switch). It also contains applications for other communications features like voicemail, hold messages, automated attendants, call transfer, and the like. There is some easy PBX configuration required in order to get set up for SIP trunking, but your SIP provider should give you a configuration guide and help you get up and running.

One important note is that your PBX needs to be SIP enabled to work with SIP trunks. Most newer PBX systems are. You can check your owner’s manual to be sure. (If your PBX has a data (Ethernet) port, you are probably in good shape.)  If your PBX is not IP enabled, you can still enjoy the benefits of SIP. You’ll just need a device called an Analog Telephony Adapter (ATA). They are inexpensive and easy to set up.

Router – Your business router is the device that will connect your PBX to the Internet.  You probably already have one for your Internet services. There is an important router setting to configure. It is called Quality of Service or QoS. QoS is a setting that lets you give priority to voice traffic when voice and data traffic are competing for resources. Slight delays are not a problem for data, but they can cause a poor audio experience for voice calls, so you’ll want to make sure QoS is set up. Most business routers are equipped with this capability.

The Internet – SIP trunk calls are routed to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) over the internet. They are then delivered to the number dialed anywhere in the world.  It is important that your Internet bandwidth be sufficient for quality voice calling.  Most high-speed business connections will work fine, but you can review this post  for more details on how much bandwidth you’ll need to support your estimated number of concurrent calls.

Choosing Your Partner

We hope that this background has helped you become more confident that you will be able to successfully deploy your SIP trunks, giving yourself a cost cut and a flexible, easy to use communications solution. Be sure to choose a partner that will:

  • Allow you to cancel or add services at any time
  • Help you through the implementation
  • Provide expert technical support

If you want to become a telco expert, have at it! But it isn’t necessary for a successful SIP implementation. (Especially if you choose SIP.US!)