SIP Trunking: What You Need to Know

SIP Trunking, or Session-Initiated Protocol, is a cost-effective, straightforward and speedy way to run your phone-based business service using the internet. This technology has helped to revolutionize businesses but not every entrepreneur is familiar with how SIP trunking works.

What is SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and streaming media service, based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) which allows Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSP) to deliver telephone services to customers who are equipped with SIP-based facilities. This enables organizations or businesses to place phone calls via the PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network. For SIP trunking to operate, you will need either an IP-enabled private branch exchange (PBX), a VoIP vendor, or an Internet connection, paired with an effective gateway that supports this type of IP-based communications.

SIP Trunking doesn’t involve the use of a physical trunk. Instead, it utilizes less cumbersome protocols delivered through a SIP provider, which enables your company or organization to use and enjoy Internet-based telephone services.

SIP Trunking: Is It Right For Your Company?

SIP Trunking is a well-established communication gateway that is also cost-efficient, flexible, and reliable. SIP providers, however, are unique in their own ways.

Organizations or companies that use SIP trunking often need to consider the up-front equipment investment. While SIP trunking is easy to use and manage, finding professionals who are skilled enough to conduct implementation and regular maintenance might be somewhat difficult.

Regardless, SIP trunking is ideal for many companies, particularly those that are ready to enjoy the advantages of Internet-based communication. You may benefit from using SIP trunking if:

  1. Your company always seems to struggle with confusing and/or surprisingly high monthly bills.
  2. If you find traditional telephone lines unreliable.
  3. You often spend more money than you expected for phone calls.
  4. You need to have both on-site and remote phone lines for your employees.

SIP Trunking: What are the Benefits?

One of the most popular things about SIP trunking is its cost-effectiveness. But there is more than just the low price to the list of advantages; here are a few of the most common benefits of SIP trunking:

1. Big Savings

Traditional phone services often have different charges for local calls, long distance calls, and international calls. SIP trunking, on the other hand, allows you to have the same kind of access with a simpler pricing scheme. Generally, SIP trunking is paid at a per-user rate.

Instead of the monthly phone bill surprise from your traditional phone company, SIP providers let you enjoy a predictable, lower monthly cost. By some estimates, the average company can save up to 50% a month by using SIP compared to traditional phone connections, especially for those organizations that do bulk long distance and international calls.

2. Immediate Return on Investment

Companies which use SIP are more likely to reach their target Return on Investment (ROI) sooner, because this technology has a lower upfront investment. Because SIP trunking does not require a capital investment, companies will see a cost savings from their first monthly bill.

3. Fast Growing

Using SIP trunking gives your company even greater potential for growth and the ability to reach several geographic locations. SIP trunking uses a single network which combines voice and data thus remote workers are easily connected. SIP trunking also allows for mobility and flexibility, hence a greater chance of opening new markets and locations, and employing workers remotely without any major phone-related problem.

4. Integrated Communications

Another advantage of using SIP trunking is that it can act as a UCaaS gateway. This means you will be offered several communication tools, like fiber-optic Internet connection, video conferencing, group messaging and more. This gives your company the benefits of using an IP-based business and communications suite that will enhance worker productivity and efficiency.

5. Mobility

With SIP trunking, you can easily connect to your workers’ mobile devices through a user-friendly and flexible VoIP app. This application is safe and secure and allows your remote workers to stay connected with your company’s on-premise communication systems. This technology also keeps your remote workers mobile and fully reachable anytime through one dedicated communication systems.

6. Network Consolidation

Many companies still pay for standard telephone service as well as data service. SIP trunking allows your company to have both voice and data in one network, which essentially considers voice calls as a data transmission, similar to emails and messages.

While this technology may demand an increase in bandwidth allowance on your company’s data connection, it will help your business save more money over the long term. At the same time, it will increase reliability, particularly if you are using a fiber-optic connection.

7. No Need for Physical infrastructure

Using traditional phone services usually requires the building or expansion of a company’s infrastructure, which can be a challenging, as well as costly, undertaking. Installing new phone lines from your local telecommunications company may require you to wait for a long period. Moreover, other than the office phones, your remote employees will also need another set of company-provided mobile phones in order to communicate with each other. These phones, obviously, are an additional investment.

SIP trunking, conversely, allows you to add phone lines easier. It is as simple as connecting your handsets or mobile phones to your data connection. Remote workers can be included in your company’s communication network using a dedicated phone number and an extension number, as well.

8. Less Costly Hardware

This type of communication technology does not require your organization to use additional hardware installations, which can be quite costly. Because adding phone lines through SIP trunking only requires the purchase of additional handsets, the upfront investment is greatly minimized.

9. SIP is More Reliable

Bad weather can often take a toll on traditional telephone connections, whether due to a downed phone line, damage to a telephone pole or problems with the phone company’s transmission substations. With SIP, those worries are moot, thus there will be fewer service failures and improved reliability.

10. Easy to Manage

Unlike traditional telephone connections, SIP trunking, as well as VoIP phones, provides user-friendly portals for easier on-site management. It also allows for easy call routing adjustments, extension change, and on-demand phone lines add-ons.

Things to Expect From a SIP Trunking Provider

At a minimum, here is what you should expect from your SIP trunking service:

1. Easy-to-Use Interface

A good platform should provide you with a powerful, but user-friendly control panel that makes managing your account simple and easy. The control panel or interface is where you manage contacts, calls, billing, and other services. You may also obtain call data records from the control panel.

Make sure that the program does not have confusing controls and data, which can make the service difficult to manage overall. Test out a provider first so that you can better gauge the control panel capability and ease of operation.

2. Outbound Dialer

While some SIP trunking service providers do not offer automatic outbound dialing, there are some higher end providers that will allow you to have telemarketing traffic. This can be very crucial to your growing business. You may not think that you need this feature at first, but choosing a SIP trunking service that offers this option could save you time and money in the future.

3. Real-time Data

It is an advantage for a business to have access to real-time call data when needed. When looking for a SIP trunking provider, make sure that you can have call data records in real-time; this will allow you to understand your calls and traffic, and see which communication medium works and which does not.

Check out providers that can offer the most recent records and make sure you can easily export this data in a comma-separated values (CSV) file or spreadsheet format to make analysis fast and easy.

4. Flexible Internet Service

If the SIP trunking provider requires you to use their data connectivity or Internet services, it may lessen your flexibility of service and can even lead to poor service connections. It is better if you can choose your own internet connection, allowing you to get service with a much larger bandwidth to better operate your business.

5. Fraud Protection

Choose a SIP trunking service that comes with protection from call fraud, especially international fraud. Ask if the SIP provider has real-time protection that catches and stops call fraud and if they are able to alert you in the event of suspicious activity. Knowing that your company and assets are protected will give you peace of mind and more time to think about the business instead of worrying about fraudulent schemes.

6. Simple Pricing

Pick a SIP trunking provider with a simple and transparent price plan. A no-contract plan is preferable and highly recommended to ensure any changes or cancellation is hassle-free. A provider with a low monthly fee and no hidden charges should be at the top of your list, too.

7. Multiple PBX Routing

A SIP trunking service that offers a secondary PBX call routing option could also be highly beneficial to your business. If the SIP provider also offers call forwarding, jump at it. These are two of the more important and useful features that you won’t want to miss.

Top SIP Trunking Vendors

Here are some of the most popular SIP trunking providers:

8×8 X Series

This VoIP phone system is packed with features, such as video calling, video conferencing, shared meetings, to name a few. The 8×8 X Series product line is mainly focused on small to medium sized businesses. Unlike its earlier iteration, this version now has an updated user interface, plus new desktop and mobile applications and other fresh ideas on communications.

Monthly plans for the 8×8 X Series starts at $28 per user; that rate may increase depending on the type of plan chosen.

Vonage

One of the most well-known VoIP providers, Vonage’s appeal is its ability to use mobile apps that conveniently turn your phones into a virtual extension. Plans start at $9.99 per month, a low price on top of excellent quality.

Setting up Vonage is very simple and, in addition to the basic plan, it also offers a number of competitively-priced business plans. The basic plan gives you unlimited minutes to any number in the United States (including Puerto Rico), Canada, and Mexico. When you purchase a plan, you will also receive an adapter, which allows you to use your existing number, and at the same time enjoy the phone service, even if the PC is not running.

RingCentral

RingCentral is another popular cloud-based communications provider. In terms of high revenue and number of subscribers, the company is hailed as one of the top UCaaS. Its basic plan, called the Essentials Plan, starts at $19.99 per month for each user. It is great for small to medium businesses as it offers a hosted PBX or Private Branch Exchange system, together with various important features. While the basic plan might be comparatively higher than its competitors, RingCentral claims that its many features make it a better choice, nonetheless. It should be noted that most of RingCentral’s more useful features are add-ons for an additional cost.

Businesses can take advantage of the RingCentral add-ons, including the RingCentral Office application and RingCentral Meetings, which is a shared meeting and standalone conferencing app. Earlier this year, ringCentral introduced its latest user interface, which is noticeably cleaner and more intuitive.

Phone.com

Phone.com is a cloud-based VoIP that is especially designed to provide phone services to small businesses. Most of their clients are companies with fewer than 20 employees. Starting at $9.99 a month, the platform offers a wide array of phones, simple management features and a call center. Phone.com is ideal for those business owners who are looking for VoIP functionality, cost-efficiency, and user-friendliness in one package.

Phone.com, as with most VoIP providers, is a plug and play phone service. They sell different conference and desk phones, all shipped pre-configured.

Grasshopper

Similar to other SIP trunking providers, Grasshopper’s set up is also easy. There are various service levels that you can choose from and you are also allowed to use up to five toll-free or local numbers. Vanity toll-free numbers are also available for a fee.

The Bottom Line

SIP trunking can allow your phone-based business to grow and flourish. A number of reputable providers are available, irrespective of your budget or the size of your company. A price which won’t break the bank plus a user-friendly interface that enhances your employees’ productivity (which translates to an improved profit margin) should be your paramount goals.

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