We’re not going to lie. Telephony can be very complicated. The Wikipedia page for Telephony Terminology has 70 terms and 66 acronyms. Truly understanding every aspect of telephony requires a working knowledge of communication software, networking, switches, routers, codexes, and a whole lot more. It’s no wonder that telephony consultants can charge a bundle. Given the complexity of the telco business, it’s understandable that many business owners and IT managers don’t want to touch it with a 10 foot poll. But, we have good news. You don’t have to be well versed in the nuances and intricacies of telephony to get the advantages of using a SIP trunk. In fact, you only need to understand a few key concepts and you can be on your way to significant cost savings and convenience.
SIP Trunk Basics
You only need to know a little bit about each component of a SIP solution to use SIP trunking. Here are the basics.
PBX – The PBX (Public Branch Exchange) is probably what you think of when you think of your “phone system.” It is what controls calls and adds features like voicemail, automated attendants, hold, call transfer and the rest. Some simple configuration of your PBX is necessary in order to use SIP trunking, but it fairly straight forward and the best SIP trunk providers will walk you through getting it set up.
In order to work with SIP, your PBX needs to be IP enabled. Most modern PBX solutions are, but if yours isn’t, you’ll need to add just one more component, an Analog Telephony Adapter (ATA). Even if this is the case, it isn’t expensive or difficult to set up.
Router – Your router is what will connect your PBX to the Internet. You likely already have one for your Internet services. There is only one thing that needs to be configured on your router to get the most reliable SIP trunk service and that is something called Quality of Service (QoS). QoS ensures that voice traffic gets priority over other traffic on the network. This makes it so large downloads don’t impact your voice quality. Your router likely has QoS capabilities, but if not, inexpensive ones are avialble.
The Internet – SIP trunk calls are routed over the internet to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) where they are connected with the number dialed anywhere in the world. It is important that your Internet bandwidth be sufficient for quality voice calling. Most broadband connections will work fine, but you can check here for more details on how much bandwidth you’ll need to support your estimated number of concurrent calls.
Hopefully understanding the basics of SIP trunking makes you more comfortable with the approach and your ability to configure and use it. Increase your chances of success even further by picking a SIP trunk provider that will let you test the solution before you commit to purchase. This way you’ll be able to gain confidence in your ability to get it up and running as well as test the suitability of your router and Internet connection. Also, be sure that your SIP provider will support you if you have questions or technical issues during your installation. If you choose SIP.US and give us access to your PBX, we’ll even configure the system for you.
If you want to become a telephony guru, don’t let us stop you. We’d love to welcome you to our ranks, but it isn’t at all necessary if you want to use SIP to save money and increase flexibility.