Checklist for Enabling a SIP Trunk

enabling a SIP trunkBusinesses looking to reduce communications cost and increase flexibility are turning to SIP trunking. The approach allows users to eliminate expensive PRI lines and sharply reduce or eliminate long distance charges. In addition, SIP trunking is flexible and easily scalable, allowing companies to pay for only the number of channels they need now and grow on-demand. The advantages are many, but there are a few things you need to consider before enabling a SIP trunk. This check list will help make sure you are ready.

Verify That Your PBX is SIP Enabled

Most modern PBX systems are ready for SIP, but if you have an older system, you’ll need to check. If your PBX has a data jack or Ethernet jack on the back, it is likely SIP enabled. To verify, check the user manual and look for a section that covers configuring a SIP trunk. Look for words like IP calling or SIP-enabled.  If your PBX is not SIP enabled, you can still take advantage of SIP trunking.  You’ll simply need to use something called an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). These devices convert SIP to analog and are available from manufactures such like Cisco and Grandstream.

Calculate the Number of Channels Needed

SIP is usually sold by the channel.  Each channel can handle one incoming or outgoing call at a time.  The number of channels you need depends on the number of employees and degree of phone usage. For most companies, one channel is sufficient for every three to four employees, but that can change if you have a telemarketing department or other heavy phone users.

Verify that Your Internet Bandwidth is Sufficient

Because SIP trunking uses the internet, rather than traditional telephone lines to deliver voice to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), it is important to make certain that you have enough bandwidth to ensure voice quality. The good news is that most modern business broadband connections, including Cable, T1, Metro Ethernet and DSL are sufficient for most business SIP needs. This article explains in more depth how you can calculate the amount of bandwidth you will need to support SIP trunking.

Make Sure QoS is Enabled

QoS stands for Quality of Service. It is a router setting that prioritizes voice traffic over data traffic. Some internet activities, such as streaming or downloading large files, require significant internet bandwidth.  Without QoS, this can degrade the quality of voice calls. Most business class routers have QoS capabilities, but if yours does not, changing to one that does should be seriously considered before enabling a SIP trunk.

Configure Your PBX

You will need to do a bit of PBX configuration to enable a SIP trunk. Your SIP trunking provider should give you instructions. We suggest choosing a SIP trunk vendor that will walk you through the process or configure your PBX for you if needed. It isn’t difficult, but it is important that it be done correctly.

Test Your Environment

Before committing to purchase SIP channels, it is a good idea to test the deployment to ensure that the SIP trunk, your PBX, your router and your internet connection all play nicely together. Be wary of any SIP trunking provider that won’t offer you a free trial before you make a commitment.

If you complete this checklist before enabling a SIP trunk, you can be confident that your business is ready to enjoy lower telephony costs with a solution that meets the exact needs of your business.

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