Businesses of all sizes are starting to make the switch from traditional telephone lines and their expensive, inflexible carrier contracts to the modern, digital approach of SIP trunking. In fact, the market for SIP trunks is expected to be more than ten billion dollars next year. Although SIP trunking has been around for more than a decade, it is a new concept for many. It’s not surprising that people have a lot of questions about what moving to an internet-based communications solution might mean for their business. Here are the answers to the questions we are asked most frequently.
What is SIP and SIP Trunking?
SIP is an acronym for Session Initiation Protocol. It is a standard for signaling and controlling multimedia communication sessions. SIP trunking is a way to deliver voice and other unified communications services over the internet. It works with a SIP enabled telephone system (PBX). SIP trunks can be used to replace traditional telephone carrier contracts or PRIs.
What is a SIP Channel?
A SIP channel represents one incoming or outgoing call. You can think of it like a traditional telephone line. Each SIP trunk can support any number of SIP channels. SIP trunks are often sold based on how many channels the business will need.
Why Do Businesses Choose SIP Trunking?
There are a lot of good reasons to move to SIP trunking, but the driving factor is usually cost. With SIP trunking, businesses can choose a plan that allows them to pay one low monthly fee per SIP channel and enjoy unlimited calling to most of the US and parts of Canada. This creates a predictable monthly bill. In addition, customers can add or remove channels any time they like, giving them complete flexibility and the opportunity to pay for only exactly what they need. This is in stark contrast to old-fashioned PRI lines which are sold only in groups of 23. SIP also makes it easy to take advantage of a host of unified communications features such as video, instant messaging, and application integration.
Is SIP the same thing as VoIP?
This is a question we get asked a lot and it isn’t surprising that people are confused because the terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It can be used for any type of voice call made over the internet. SIP is one protocol used to achieve VoIP, but it is not the only one.
How Do SIP Calls Sound?
One of the biggest fears held by businesses considering switching to SIP is that they must sacrifice audio quality in order to get the big savings that SIP offers. Fortunately, this is not the case. With a SIP solution provider that leverages Teir-1 networks and the right router configuration in place, SIP calls can be impossible to distinguish from calls made over regular telephone lines.
How Complicated is it to Setup and Maintain?
You do not have to be a telecommunications expert to set up and maintain SIP for your business. You simply need to find a SIP trunking vendor with an easy-to-use administration portal, good documentation, and a helpful support team. Getting started with SIP trunking requires some simple PBX and router configuration. Lack of expert resources does not need to keep you from making the jump.
Are there Any Up-Front Costs?
There is a good chance that you can use SIP with the PBX equipment you have today. Most PBX systems sold in the last 10 years are IP enabled and even if yours isn’t, there is a device called an ATA that can be used to make it compatible with SIP. If you have a business-class router, it probably is already enabled with the Quality of Service capabilities necessary to get the best SIP experience. Your SIP solution provider will charge some setup fees based on the number of channels, whether you need DIDs and other value-added services like e911 and inbound toll-free service. So yes, there are some initial fees, but they are minimal, especially in comparison to what it costs to install a new traditional telephone system.
Hopefully, these answers have been helpful. If you have other questions, please add them to the comments or send us a note. We make it easy to try SIP trunking for yourself by offering a free trial. Why not give it a whirl?