Moving from traditional land lines to cloud-based SIP trunking for your business communications needs is a smart move. In addition to substantial cost savings, SIP offers increased flexibility, useful unified communications features, and built-in business continuity. Although the idea of switching to an IP-based voice solution may be a bit intimidating, it is actually quite straightforward and easy to accomplish. There are, however, a few things you need to do beforehand in order to have a painless implementation.
Before you ditch your expensive and restrictive traditional telephone system, be sure to:
Determine How Many Channels You Will Need
SIP trunks are usually sold on what’s known as an unlimited subscription. This means that you pay one monthly fee for each channel, regardless of how much time you spend making or receiving calls from most of the United States and Canada. A SIP channel is very much like a traditional telephone line. It can handle one incoming or outgoing call at a time. To figure out how many SIP channels you need, you’ll want to determine the maximum number of calls that will be in progress at any one time. Every business has different needs, but most don’t need a channel for each employee. Usually one channel for every three or four employees is sufficient. Because SIP is sold one channel at a time, you can pay for only what you need and add more at any time, so don’t worry if your estimate is a bit off.
Check Your Bandwidth
When you move to SIP, you’ll be combining your voice and data networks on one internet connection, so it is important to make sure that your bandwidth is sufficient. Fortunately, most modern, business-class internet connections are sufficient to support dozens of voice calls. Th amount of required bandwidth depends on the voice codec used by your SIP services provider. For example, SIP.US uses the G.711 voice codec which consumes 85kbps of bandwidth per call. That means that even a rather limited DSL connection with only 512kbps will support six concurrent calls. (Your connection is probably much faster.)
It is a good idea to test your speed and do the math. There are many speed tests available online, one example is http://speedtest.net.
Confirm that Your PBX is IP-Enabled
If your PBX equipment is fewer than 10 years old, it is probably already SIP compatible. If it has a data or Ethernet jack on the back, you are likely in good shape. Your user manual can confirm it for you. Look for references to SIP or IP-enabled. If you have an older system, don’t worry, you can still use SIP trunking. You will need to get an inexpensive device called an ATA (Analog Telephony Adapter) that will convert the signal for you. There are several ATAs in the market and they come in a variety of sizes, from single port all the way up to 24 analog ports.
Once you’ve checked these boxes, you are ready to start enjoying the cost savings and flexibility that SIP trunking gives to businesses. If you have any other concerns or questions, feel free to drop us a line. We get people up and running on SIP every day and we’re more than happy to help.