The communications industry is experiencing a massive shift as businesses move away from traditional telephone lines to SIP trunks for connectivity to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Although SIP has many advantages, the primary driver is it’s significantly lower cost. (We’ll talk more about that in a minute.) For customers with PBX equipment that is not SIP-enabled, there is somewhat of a dilemma. Do you spend money on a new SIP-enabled PBX to save money on monthly costs? Fortunately, there is a way to get the advantages of SIP without investing in an SIP-enabled PBX.
How to Tell if Your PBX is SIP-Enabled
If you don’t spend a lot of time with your PBX hardware (who does?) you might not know whether it is SIP capable or not. It is usually pretty straightforward to determine. Most new PBX systems are SIP-enabled, so if you’ve purchased yours in the last few years it is probably SIP capable. If yours is much older, you’ll need to check to see if it is. If your PBX has an Ethernet jack or a data jack on the back, it most likely is SIP-enabled. Legacy key systems or older PBX systems have only analog lines. If there is no data jack, you can be sure that it is not SIP-enabled. If it does have a data jack and you still aren’t sure, you’ll need to have a look at the user manual. If it is ready for SIP, there will be some mention of it, most likely in the specifications section or there will be a section on “configuring a SIP trunk.” If you don’t have the manual, you may be able to find it online.
Using an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA)
If your PBX is not SIP-enabled, don’t worry, you can still benefit from SIP trucking. An analog telephone adapter (ATA) is a device that converts SIP to analog. It acts as a gateway to your PBX, enabling you to use SIP trucking. There are many ATAs available and they come in several sizes, from just a single port, all the way up to 24 analog ports. You do need to make sure that the SIP trunk provider you choose can support ATAs. SIP.US supports many, including the Linksys PAP2T, the Grandstream HT701, and the Cisco SPA8000.
Of course prices vary by size and manufacture, but jut to give you some prospective, the Cisco SPA800 is available on Amazon for $187.33. That’s a tiny investment considering the cost advantages of SIP. Your now SIP-enabled PBX will reduce your monthly telecommunications costs by up to 60%. Here’s how:
- The monthly costs for each SIP channel are usually substantially lower than the PRI lines they replace
- SIP channels can be purchased on at a time, vs. the 23 channel blocks in which traditional lines are sold. This means you can get, and pay for, exactly the number of channels you need
- SIP channels from SIP.US include local and long distance to most of the United States and Canada, making your monthly costs both lower and more predictable
There’s no reason to let your legacy PBX keep you from experiencing SIP. If you need help determining if your PBX is SIP-enabled or have other questions about using or setting up an ATA, feel free to contact us. We’re happy to help.