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Frequently asked questions
SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is a protocol (i.e. language) that communications applications use to talk to one another over an IP network.
SIP is used to create, manage, and terminate calls (or sessions) in an IP-based network. SIP is the instruction set that tells an application how to process a phone call.
SIP Trunking is a way to make voice calls over the internet. This communication method allows for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls to be made, for messages (SMS/MMS) to be passed, 911 emergency calls to be made and other SIP-based real-time communications.
The primary benefit of SIP trunks over PRIs is cost savings as this method is far more scalable and generally comes with less fixed overhead costs.
SIP makes converged networks possible because it is an application, not a service. In the same way that copper lines transmit signals rather than create them, SIP allows any endpoint to communicate with another, as long as the two endpoints agree to use SIP. That means that a single-location company can converge its networks, roles, and equipment into one system that meets all of its communication needs. Convergence offers concrete benefits, in that:
- Routers and switches are used more efficiently
- Combined roles are enabled, so endpoints can both send and receive voice, data, and video
- Networks can be mixed to integrate voice and applications
- Costs are reduced because SIP is a virtual infrastructure
- SIP Trunking removes the TDM Constraint and provides flexibility to manage at scale
- Fewer or even just one SIP provider must be engaged
Speed, agility, and leanness are guiding principles for companies that need to stay competitive today. And in order to support those principles,
businesses need technology that supports them as well. Compare SIP to traditional phone services and the advantages are clear.
SIP delivers significant savings. Traditional analog circuits are costly because they have to be designed, configured, maintained, and upgraded. SIP trunking provides the same call quality as traditional line, but since it runs over the Internet, it doesn’t require the same level of design and configuration. Plus, the maintenance and upgrades to the network would be necessary whether SIP trunking was being run through them or not.
The infrastructure costs for SIP trunking are also lower because SIP eliminates the need for primary rate interfaces (PRIs), which require enterprises to buy lines in bundles of 23. PRI customers who need 10 lines have to buy a bundle of 23, leaving 13 unused. SIP, however, can be purchased in whatever number of units a business requires.
Long-distance, local inbound, and termination services can be included, providing another opportunity to save costs. Plus, SIP trunking delivers cost savings as great as 60% over traditional methods.
A business should look to a SIP trunking provider when they decide that their needs are being met with a premise-based PBX but want the benefit of virtual circuits and more flexible pricing options. This system is often referred to as an IP-PBX (Internet Protocol private branch exchange). Coupled with SIP trunks, an IP-PBX serves up similar features to hosted solutions. SIP trunks typically save a business customer money over a hosted solution in that a SIP trunk can serve the needs of three to four employees, while a hosted seat is needed for each employee.
Today many companies use SIP trunking to power the calling within their UCaaS and CCaaS platforms, but generally SIP Trunks can work with any SIP-ready hosted PBX system. SIP Trunks can also be made to work with a traditional analog or key phone system with an IAD (Integrated Access Device).
With all the advantages that SIP trunking offers, why do any companies still use traditional services? It’s simple. Traditional telecom has been in existence for over 100 years. Over its lifetime, copper has been widely adopted, of course, and it’s the telephone technology that most of us grew up using. The short answer is: it was the best option that businesses have had until recent years. SIP trunking is only about 10 years old. That means it was purpose-built to work in today’s business environment. Since the advent of SIP trunking as a business tool, nearly 70% of decision-makers have adopted SIP, and of those adopters, 96% report satisfaction with call quality. A protocol can only achieve widespread adoption when it’s based on consistent standards. The guidelines for how a SIP trunk should work and interoperate with a phone system are defined and guided by the SIP Forum, an organization of telecom experts who work toward the continual improvement of SIP standards.
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