Nearly all companies that rely on Internet communications, whether a business that performs marketing calls, or a business dealing with logistics, or something else entirely, use SIP trunking. SIP trunking has become the primary means of IP trunking used for handling voice communications and video communications in a commercial sense, though, even with it being so prudent, not many, despite using it every day, really know what it is. Luckily, the below answers the question, “What is SIP Trunking?”

What is SIP Trunking?

SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is a method of transferring voice and other forms of unified communications services over the Internet. The data travels along these SIP trunks, which serve as the replacement for the more traditional physical telephone lines. Before SIP trunking became the primary means of transmitting audio data via the SIP protocol, the PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network, was the standard method for delivering communications and still is for some companies. However, the below details why those companies should make the change to SIP. The PSTN relies on copper phone lines to provide a physical connection between two devices. A SIP trunk service does away with this as the phone lines that transmit the data over the Internet are virtual. The virtual SIP lines ensure that a call can get made or received from anywhere in the world. The call gets broken down into digital packets and then sent across the Internet via the SIP trunking until it reaches its destination.

How Does It Work?

The question “what is SIP trunking?” can only get answered once it is clear how the phone service works. As already devised, SIP trunking is virtual, meaning it requires very minimal resources for a business to install it. A SIP trunking solution gets laid over the existing Internet connection that is already in place. The ability to reduce the multiple physical phone lines into a single-entry point for the business phone system has numerous advantages. This both reduces the costs and the cost of IT services for the maintenance of those lines. In truth, there is not much difference in how SIP trunking works over other protocols that worked alongside the older physical lines.

What is Needed for a Business to Implement SIP Trunking?

Reducing the operating costs of a business is just one advantage of SIP trunking, with more to be discussed below. However, before a business can start benefiting from those advantages, they first need to know what they need to implement it. For a company to begin using VoIP phones, or voice over Internet protocol phones, they need a SIP trunk that usually comes from an ITSP, or an Internet telephony service provider, rather than a typical telephone carrier. Once the IP telephony service gets contracted, the company will require a hosted PBX, or private branch exchange system, that is compatible with SIP, which the ITSP may even offer. These PBX systems may get referred to as VoIP PBX or IP PBX systems.

The IP PBX system routes phone calls over the data network. Unlike a regular exchange service, an Internet PBX supports not just phone calls, but other business communication services offered by hosted VoIP service providers, including video, SMS, and instant messaging, giving a business additional communication options away from their phone system. These systems are generally easy to configure and implement, so businesses won’t have to struggle to set them up.

With the SIP trunking in place, along with an IP PBX system installed, a business will need one more thing before they can start utilizing SIP trunking. IP phones are a vital component to both make and receive voice calls and to send and receive messages. These phones aren’t necessarily desktop phones, but also software phones on a computer, along with smartphones and tablets, through the use of an IP PBX app. These devices are known as SIP endpoints, which, with the use of SIP trunking, can direct a single call or message to as many endpoints as a business requires. This flexibility allows employees of a company to take and make SIP calls at their convenience.

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What Can SIP Trunking Do for a Business?

SIP Trunking Saves Money

SIP trunking allows nearly all calls to avoid traveling on the PSTN. Employees of a company will never have to rely on the PSTN. Instead, they can use the business’s system to communicate with one another. Calls from a consumer may travel on the PSTN for a brief period only. That ultimately means that phone calls via SIP trunking are much more affordable. Statistics show that a company will save around 35% on its phone bill once it switches over to SIP trunking. International phone calls and texts, especially, will seem much more affordable. In short, SIP trunking will provide a positive return on investment, or ROI, in record time. There may be a required investment into more Internet bandwidth, as the additional strain might reach the limit of bandwidth set in the ISP’s current package. However, that cost is minimal compared to a physical telephone line for each device.  Of course, saving money is great for any business, though it’s not the only advantage of SIP trunking.

SIP Trunking Allows for a Local Presence

A company with an established presence over the world, or one that is trying to cement its place for the first time, will find developing and maintaining that presence more accessible with the use of SIP trunking. SIP trunking allows a business to set its phone numbers, which can appear local to a consumer, even if the company is in a different town, state, or country. No local presence is needed, though a company can open up to that market. Consumers have proven to respond better to local businesses with numbers they are familiar with.

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SIP Trunking Provides Mobility

Additionally, as touched on above, that new marketing power can get utilized, no matter where the call agent is, whether in the office, at home, or on the beach. One phone number will ring through to all the telephone devices a business owns, if they so wish, meaning missed SIP traffic, thus lost clients, will never again be a problem. SIP trunking massively increases a company’s ability to deal with concurrent calls, whether incoming or outbound calls, in a way that is physically not possible with traditional phone lines.

The Infrastructure is Easy to Scale

Another benefit of SIP trunking comes in the form of the infrastructure or lack of to be more precise. In non-virtual systems, phone lines need to get installed by the phone company, which can take days, if not weeks. Other virtual phone systems require hardware to get installed. When the time comes to scale up or down, those systems need upgrading to handle the new load. How is SIP trunking scaled? A business contacts the SIP service provider and purchases additional SIP channels. A short wait may be required while the system gets updated and then it’s ready to go. A new phone set may be necessary if the company doesn’t have a spare one laying around, though no external technicians will have to come into the office and disrupt the workday.

SIP Trunking is Reliable

One more benefit of SIP trunking worth mentioning, though by no means the final one, is the virtual phone lines’ reliability. From erratic weather to erratic drivers, it only takes one telephone pole to come down, for an area to lose its phone lines. Not many things can cause a virtual line to stop working, though a loss of service from an unreliable ISP might be one example. Even then, some SIP trunking suppliers come with contingencies that allow the calls to get routed to other phones or mobile devices, not connected to the SIP trunking in place.

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Optimizing the Use of SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking

Just because a business has implemented SIP trunking, some additional work is required to ensure the above advantages reveal themselves. Some things a company can do to ensure its SIP trunking is optimized include:

●      Choosing the Right SIP Provider – One significant benefit of SIP trunking is how much money it can save a company. However, just because a SIP trunk provider is the cheapest, it doesn’t mean they are the best. SIP trunking is an investment to help grow a business and should get treated like one. The SIP provider should offer all the services a business requires, including backup servers, as part of their disaster recovery plan, for when something happens at their primary server farm. A company looking to implement SIP trunking should also look out for a SIP provider that uses LCR, or least cost routing. LCR is a cheap way of routing calls, and it stays cheap because the provider employing it is most likely cutting corners, leading to subpar service.

●      Make Use of QoS – Nearly all networks, these days at least, come with a QoS, or Quality of Service, interface built-in. The QoS allows a network manager to prioritize which systems on the network receive bandwidth over others. High-priority traffic, like the SIP trunking in a business, needs to remain stable, so giving it high priority via the QoS ensures the data packets used for transporting the audio for VoIP calls won’t suffer to jitter and latency. A company without QoS won’t have a robust network, and if this affects a caller’s experience, they may see the company in a less than favorable light.

●      Ensure the System is Secure – A business’s network should be secure, whether dealing with SIP trunking or not. However, security is extra crucial for SIP trunking, especially if the company in question deals with confidential information passed via the data packets, such as a bank, or a medical institution, as some examples. Customers need to be able to trust that their information gets handled with care, and if it’s not, fines and lawsuits may follow. Additionally, a system at risk is a system that can get compromised. A talented hacker can enter the system and cause all kinds of chaos, whether overloading the system, which will cause it to shut down, or make use of the SIP trunking for their own nefarious needs. A SIP proxy server is one solution. The server will authenticate any user requests to ensure the people using the system are who they say they are.

●      Keep an Eye on the Quality of Service – Monitoring the SIP trunks is essential to ensure that both the call agent and the consumer receive the best experience. A SIP trunking provider can help with this by providing a MOS. The MOS, or Mean Opinion Score system, allows a business to gauge the user’s experience, typically with an easy to understand 1 to 5 scale. Customers desire a high-quality service, and with a MOS, a company can ensure they are getting that from the initial sales pitch to the closing transaction.

Why Should a Business Choose SIP Trunking?

An implemented SIP trunk will come with numerous benefits, with some listed above. The ability to save costs, scale on-demand, and provide local services from anywhere in the world, are just some reasons why SIP trunking stands out among competitors. What’s even better is that SIP trunking eliminates the need for a business to keep onsite IT professionals to implement and maintain the service, as SIP providers ensure the installation and interface is easy to use and stress-free. And if there are any problems because everything is virtual, the SIP trunking service provider can assist with troubleshooting without making a trip to the office, saving time, and again, saving money. SIP use has grown exponentially in recent years and it’s only getting bigger.

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