Today business enterprises have access to the most efficient and affordable communication options ever. With companies growing in sophistication and complexity with heavy staff load, security concerns, and multiple locations, it is important for them to constantly strive for and improve upon their resources and networks. Making use of SIP trunking providers is a new way in which enterprises can develop their capabilities at a lower than expected price point.
Which service providers are the best ones for a company to use, and how can a business take advantage of this up-and-coming technology? There are many factors to consider when opting for this new option, and it is important for a business to be prudent in gathering the details about its potential in order to discover which solution is optimal for them.
What is SIP Trunking?
For decades, businesses were limited by conventional phone lines, which, historically, have only been available at high price points and have had limited features and options. Today, SIP trunking offers efficient phone connections through the internet, rather than via physical components necessary on a classic phone line. SIP trunk providers operate completely virtually, and their mechanics are in the cloud.
To fully understand how SIP trunking works, we need to understand how phone lines have traditionally functioned. When you dial a number you phone call first goes through a private branch exchange or PBX. The PBX send your call down a digital (and sometimes analog) network and through to the phone you are calling. Sometimes, however, the PBX goes over capacity.
SIP trunks pick up where PBXs begin to lose their efficiency. They take over and create new connections which are sent to a service provider to a telephone, this cutting the need for physical phone wires and cabling. This not only makes it more physically secure, in that poor weather cannot affect the power, durability, or efficiency of your lines but also allows for the utmost flexibility and adaptability along with a myriad of features – a necessity for business developers.
The advantages are significant, and many companies consider it to be not only viable alternative to traditional landlines but a better one.
The Most Common Advantages of SIP Trunking Services
The advantages of using SIP trunking providers range far and wide, especially from a business perspective. The first aspect that helps a new or established business is SIP trunk pricing in comparison to the costs involved with a conventional phone line or even with a mobile phone provider.
Due to the centralization of all features, the mobility of the company’s organization, and lack of physical upkeep required, SIP trunking service providers can accommodate exceptional price points not available by those who offer communication services by other means. Further, virtual phone technology is still somewhat new. Therefore, some of these providers may offer even lower prices in order to divert individuals from their present supplier and create increased attention for their own company.
In addition to an affordable and oftentimes flexible price point, the variability and integration of features offered by SIP trunking providers allows a business the potential to efficiently reinvent its organization. The provider MegaPath, for example, much like its competitors, offers packages with virtual lines that connect software features seamlessly.
Particularly helpful to start-ups, as well as enterprises, are the included collaboration options, such as audio conferencing, N-way calling (which allows the participation of up to 13 participants on an active call), and visual voicemail (which allows the receiver to view, play, and read voicemail and fax messages directly in an inbox). Additionally, online phone services can give a number of additional auto features relevant to businesses, such as an auto attendant, call centers, call recording, and an auto receptionist.
The Most Common Disadvantages of SIP Trunking Services
It is difficult to imagine that such a strong system could anything but advantageous to its user. The low price point, combined with features which far outweigh other communications means, is seemingly unbeatable.
However, there is one minor disadvantage at present to using SIP trunking, and it has to do with the newness of the service. As it is a still a developing system, there is a possibility for service disruptions or other problems, not unlike in the case of mobile devices or home phone lines. You may want to see our main VoIP comparison table to find out which are the most reliable services.
There is an element of trial and error with any new technology, and this could affect its consistency and quality. With that being said, the companies listed in the chart above, as well as their competitors, have been developing for a long time, acquiring a significant customer base, so their services can be relied upon to work well.
Using SIP Trunking to Improve Your Business Communication
When trunking was first implemented, it required added a minimum of 24 additional lines. This was fine for large companies searching for a large enterprise solution, but if you were a smaller business, looking for an additional one or two lines, you would be stuck with 20 extra lines! SIP trunking has made this concept a distant memory with the ability to scale up (or down) as required, whether you need one line or one hundred lines.
The power of SIP trunking lies in the fact that you don’t need to install any hardware on site. All of the support, networking, and servers are located remotely and owned by your provider, much in the same way a web hosting service operates. Where once an outage in your building meant no phones for the day (or longer), if a SIP trunking service ever goes down, calls can be automatically rerouted to other locations in which your provider operates. This means that there is virtually zero telephone downtime.
SIP Trunking vs. PRI Trunking
A popular alternative to SIP trunking is Primary Rate Interface (PRI) trunking. PRI trunking is a voice technology that has been in use since the 1980s. It is an interfaced used on Integrated Services Digital Networks (ISDNs) that is capable of enabling multiple voice lines at one time. The technology increased its capacity when T1 lines began becoming the standard.
PRI trunking is now considered an older technology, but it is not yet completely outdated. This is because it is in use by companies which have yet to revert to a more modern system. Although cost is generally not the issue, most businesses have an “if it ain’t broke” mindset. Many, however, end up switching to SIP trunking once they require servicing and repair, something that requires on-site visits and telephone network downtime.
Of course, PRI trunking is not all bad. Because it runs on its own network, PRI trunking won’t tie up any of your bandwidth. PRI is generally seen as a more secure method of data transmission because it does not require data to travel over the internet. But even that line of thought is fading into obsolescence as high-security standards are becoming the norm and encryption is able to provide military-grade privacy and firewalls on the internet.
How to Choose the Right SIP Trunking Solution
There are a number of features to consider when weighing the pros and cons of the various service providers. The major aspect is whether the price is right for the company in question. There are many service providers available, and often times they work to appeal to a particular niche, whether it is the smaller companies or the larger ones. Understanding the sometimes complex and multifaceted communications needs of a company will allow for a relevant and helpful selection of service provider.
Many businesses which transfer their mobile phone line or landline to a virtual system strive to maintain the same phone number so that clients do not feel frustrated by not being able to get through. In order to keep hard-won business contacts, companies should determine in advance whether the provider they are considering can take on their previous number(s). In the case that this is not possible, call forwarding may be a temporary option.
There are many reasons why converting to or taking on trunking can be a cost-effective and helpful idea for a company. Given the wide array of cutting-edge features and assistance given, this communication revolution can lead an enterprise to great growth and fulfillment of potential. It is a good idea for all companies to consider this choice by examining the provider options on this page and their competitors.