SIP Trunking: A Primer

    Unified Communications market is full of news these days (Research: Interoperability issues still hold back SIP trunking adoption, North American SIP and VoIP Trunking Market $2 Billion) about SIP trunking or Internet Telephony Services Providers (ITSPs). You may be wondering what the hullabaloo is about.

    To understand the excitement, you have to spend a few minutes considering SIP in general.

    SIP, or Session Initiative Protocol, isn’t really a protocol for trunking. Nor is it a protocol for connecting endpoints to the network. It certainly handles both these applications but it’s much bigger. SIP is a generic protocol for establishing multi-media communications sessions across an IP network between one or more end-points. Simply, it’s a way that two or more parties can arrange to have a conversation with each other.

    Using SIP to connect your enterprise to your service provider eliminates the need for physical connections between your enterprise and the service provider and, along with this, eliminates the need for you to be physically located near your provider. All you need is way for IP packets to get from you to them and you’re in business.

    With SIP trunking, your customers now get a local number to reach you. This is because you are no longer limited by the need to physically connect to a near-by service provider. You can connect, through the IP network, into any region in the country effectively giving you a local point-of-presence anywhere you do business.

    Second, with SIP you also get more robust services.

    With legacy trunking you have a single, physical connection between you and the service provider. If something happens to that connection, your service goes down. Even if you have a second link to the same or different provider, your calls will typically not automatically move over to the second link unless you take action. SIP allows you to leverage multiple IP connections to maintain your services. As long as IP packets can move between you and the service provider, your calls continue to be delivered.

    Finally, SIP trunking lets you save money by only paying for the calls you make.

    Legacy solutions require that you determine the maximum number of calls you are going to need and subscribe to that many trunks. If your business typically has 100 calls active from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but only half that many during the non-prime time, you still have to pay for 100 calls all the time. With SIP, your calls use a portion of your IP bandwidth so you don’t have to dedicate a specific capacity. You can have 50 active calls in the morning, 100 in the afternoon, and zero at night when everyone is gone and only pay for what you use.

    If you have not started to leverage SIP in your communications services, it’s time to take a look.

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