3 Things You Need to Know Before Switching to SIP

switch to sipEvery year more and more businesses are making the switch from traditional PRI telephone lines to cloud-based SIP trunking for their communications needs. Why? Low cost and increased flexibility are the main factors driving SIP adoption. It is generally very easy to get started with SIP trunking and there is little upfront investment required. However, there are a few simple things that you need to know before getting started.

How Many Concurrent Calls Do You Need to Support?

You need to know how many concurrent calls you will need to support because this will determine how many SIP channels and how much internet bandwidth you will need. SIP is generally sold by the channel, which represents one incoming or outgoing phone call. In most businesses, everyone isn’t on the phone at the same time, so one channel for every three or four employees is usually plenty. This might be different for you if your business is heavily phone based. The good news is that if you find you need more channels, they can be added instantly, on-demand.

Is Your Internet Bandwidth Sufficient?

The short answer to this question is that it probably is. Most modern business internet connections are fast enough to support both data and voice communications. The more complete and technical explanation is that the amount of bandwidth necessary to support SIP trunking depends on the voice codec used by the SIP provider.  SIP.US uses the G.711 voice codec which consumes 85kbps of bandwidth per call.  That means that a cable connection of 512kbps, for example, will support 6 concurrent calls. (By the way, most broadband internet connections these days are much faster and can easily support dozens and dozens of calls.)

Make sure to use the actual bandwidth at your location, not the claims of your ISP when doing the calculations. Your provider’s “best case” number may be far from the actual results. There are several easy-to-use speed test applications online, including http://speedtest.net.

Is Your PBX IP-Enabled?

SIP trunking can be used on modern, IP-enabled or legacy PBX systems. The difference is that IP-enabled systems require no additional hardware to use SIP. You simply configure them an off you go. If you have an older PBX that is not IP enabled, you’ll need an inexpensive converter device called an ATA (analog telephony adapter.) How can you tell? If your PBX has an Ethernet jack (data jack) on the back, it is most likely SIP enabled. Check your user manual for a section on SIP configuration. If there is no data jack, you’ll most likely need an ATA. (You can get them from Grandstream or Cisco.)

Once you’ve answered these questions you’ll be ready to proceed down the path to significant cost savings, more control over your communications environment, and painless administration. Let us know if you are ready to take the next step.

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