Is a SIP Number the Same as a Telephone Number?

How a SIP Number Benefits Business

Are SIP calls and traditional calls the same?

Same caller experience, very different business benefits.

This is a good question and one that we are asked frequently.  Although the technology is different, for all practical purposes answer is – yes, only better.  Understanding why requires a bit of background about SIP telephony.

How SIP is Different from Traditional Phone Lines

With traditional business phone systems, each physical phone line that connects your PBX to the local phone company can handle one incoming or outgoing call at a time. The lines are provided in PRI (Primary Rate Interface) groups each with 23 available lines. More calls means more lines.  SIP trunks, which offer an IP-based replacement to phone lines, can handle a number of calls at one time, which each call traversing a channel.  An increase in the number of possible concurrent calls does not require an additional SIP trunk, but only an increase in the number of available channels.

SIP Phone Numbers

SIP enabled phones have 10-digit phone numbers, just like ones operating over legacy phone lines.  In fact, in most cases, customers can port their existing phone numbers to a new SIP system.  Phone numbers can serve as main lines with as many channels as needed, or can be dedicated to individual phones or other destinations through direct inward dialing (DID).  Dialing to or from a SIP number is exactly the same as dialing a traditional line.

Features

The features of conventional lines are generally available for SIP numbers as well.  These include caller-id and caller-id with name (CNAM) where available. SIP phones can also be configured with “nomadic” e911 so that emergency operators are presented with the caller’s address in the same way they are with fixed lines.  The best SIP services offer features beyond what is available from local phone lines, including call detail records, online administration and automated back up routing in case of a PBX failure.

Business Benefit from SIP

So, if SIP lines function like legacy telephone lines, why do businesses make the switch?  The cost savings of SIP numbers over traditional phone lines can be significant.  As I mentioned before, conventional lines are provided in groups of 23 channels.  SIP can be provisioned one channel at a time, providing meaningful savings.  SIP also makes no distinction between local calls and calls to the lower 48 US states, meaning that long distance charges can be reduced or eliminated.  SIP trunking also offers the flexibility to add or eliminate channels as needed, giving companies the flexibility to adjust to business conditions without long term planning or commitment.

Although there may be no difference between a legacy phone line and a SIP phone line from the caller’s prospective, pulling back the covers a little bit reveals that the difference for the business can be huge in terms of reduced cost and increased agility.

 

 

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