SIP has spelled the end of the road for Primary Rate Interface (PRI)
Representing the Public Switched Telephone Network, the primary rate interface, or PRI, is becoming largely obsolete as more and more businesses are recognizing the benefits of Voice Over IP technology and switching to SIP.
In addition to providing businesses with substantial cost savings by eliminating the need for expensive PRIs, BRIs, and local PTSN gateways, SIP is also extremely flexible and easily capable of scaling to meet the growing demands of companies large and small. Thanks to these benefits and many more, PRI is now considered by many as a dead technology reminiscent of a bygone era.
The Differences Between PRI and SIP
PRI is simply a digital circuit that provides 23 voice paths or channels as well as one signaling channel. PRI directly connects to the PSTN, so there is no need to question the call quality. However, since having a PRI system requires substantial hardware, cables, and costs, it is not ideal for today’s dynamic business environments.
SIP trunks, on the other hand, are call paths transmitted via the Internet that can be ordered in nearly any increment. Unlike PRI, there is no hardware to install, so it provides businesses with a cost-effective, malleable, and reliable data and telephony system. Here are some specific advantages related to SIP:
• SIP Provides a Virtual Connection
While PRI establishes a physical connection that requires each circuit to be physically connected via cables and the use of expensive termination hardware, SIP connections are virtual. Rather than being limited by frustrating hardware restrictions, businesses utilizing SIP are only limited by the bandwidth they have available, providing much greater flexibility.
• SIP is Easily Scalable
In order to scale up with PRI, you must have new circuits installed and add termination hardware in voice channel increments of 23. SIP, on the other hand, can be easily scaled up or down through a simple change in software configuration. Not only does this provide companies with burst capabilities on-demand, but it also allows new SIP trunks to be implemented in hours or days rather than weeks.
• SIP is More Cost-Efficient
The cost of operating a PRI is typically dependent on the number of circuits being used by a business. For companies requiring more voice channels, the cost model of PRI is noticeably inefficient. Thankfully, companies provide an array of pricing models for SIP based primarily on usage. In comparison to the cost of PRI circuits and hardware, SIP costs are significantly lower.
• Capacity Planning is Much Simpler with SIP
With PRI, additional capacity must typically be planned weeks in advance, because it takes considerable time to order and install new termination hardware and circuits. However, increasing capacity with SIP is as simple as making a quick and easy software change. With SIP, there is also only a single network to manage, a single set of necessary cables, and bandwidth can be freed up for data and used as needed. SIP trunks can also be grouped at one specific company location or shared in multiple locations across a company, allowing them to efficiently realize economies of scale.
• SIP is Ideal for Disaster Recovery Situations
While it is possible to divert calls to other locations with PRI in the event of an accident, it is a complex and expensive process. SIP technology, on the other hand, allows businesses to automatically re-route their calls to other locations should one location get knocked offline by a natural disaster or any other event.
Just like the days of the switchboard operator, the days of PRI have come and gone. SIP is simply much more cost-effective, flexible, and easy to manage, making it an ideal choice for today’s businesses.