The jump from traditional phone lines to SIP trunking for business leads to big savings, increased flexibility, and the opportunity to use a host of unified communications features. Deploying a SIP solution is a lot easier than many people think, especially with the help of a supportive SIP trunking partner. There are, however, just a few things that need to be done ahead of time to ensure the success of your new communications solution.
Make Sure Your PBX is SIP Ready
The chances are very good that your PBX system is ready for SIP. Most PBX hardware manufactured in the last decade is ready for an IP connection. The best way to be sure is to check the user manual or the manufacturer’s website, but if you notice an Ethernet jack, you are probably in good shape. Don’t worry if your PBX is not already VoIP enabled. You can still benefit from SIP trunking with the use of a small, inexpensive piece of hardware known as an Analog Telephony Adapter or ATA. It will convert the digital SIP signal to analog.
Decide How Many SIP Channels You Will Need
SIP trunks are sold by the channel, with each channel representing one concurrent incoming or outgoing telephone call. This is much more flexible than traditional phone lines, which are sold only in groups of 23. The advantage for you is that you get and pay for only exactly what you need. The number of channels required depends on the size and type of your business. You probably don’t need one channel for every employee. In fact, most businesses find that one channel is enough for three or four employees, but that varies depending on how heavily you use the phones.
Check Your Bandwidth
Your voice calls will now be traversing the same network you use for general internet access, so you need to make sure that the bandwidth is sufficient. These days, most business networks are more than adequate for SIP trunking. If you have cable, T1, DSL or Metro Ethernet, you are likely in good shape. (If you want more detail, check out this post.)
Enable Quality of Service on Your Router
Quality of Service, or QoS for short, is a router setting that ensures that voice traffic gets the highest priority. This is important because if voice is competing with data for resources, you may experience jitter or lag, problems that lead to poor audio quality. If you are using a business-class router, it likely already has QoS capabilities and simply needs to be configured. If your router doesn’t have QoS, we recommend investing in one that does.
Set Up Your PBX
Some configuration of your PBX is necessary to get it working with SIP. The SIP trunking vendor you select should be able to provide you with a detailed guide for set up. You also want to be sure to pick a partner that can help you with any questions that come up and troubleshoot problems.
Run a Test
Your business communications are too important to risk, so be sure to test out the solution before you make the final switch. Any reputable SIP trunk provider will allow you to perform a free test up to an hour long to ensure that your PBX, internet connection, router, and SIP solution all work well together.
None of these items is terribly complicated and you don’t need to be a telco expert to complete any of them. Once you’ve checked off all of these things, you can rest assured that your transition to SIP will be a success.