SIP Trunking - Cut the Cord

According to last month's poll conducted by Primus in our monthly eNewsletter, 80% of readers do not really understand the concept of SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol. In a nutshell, SIP Trunking allows companies to cut the cord with their old telecom company and move to a full IP infrastructure. SIP Trunking is a cloud communications tool used to connect IP PBX phone systems to the telephony network over a fully IP infrastructure. It eliminates the need for local lines or PRIs.

To help readers understand the value of SIP and what it can do for their business, we thought it would be beneficial to broaden the discussion.

As businesses across the globe search for efficient technologies to realize untapped resources within their organization, more and more are deciding to cut the cord with their old telecom company and move to a full IP infrastructure. One example of this is SIP Trunking, or Session Initiation Protocol, which provides businesses a broader range in choice, greater scalability, fortification against disaster recovery and recognition of concrete savings.

The true benefits to each organization that embrace SIP are unique, but the underlying values remain the same.

Yesterday's solutions have quickly become today's problems. For far too long the solution for any communication needs consisted of a cluster of local lines or a PRI connecting to a cumbersome PBX or Keysystem. These antiquated phone systems were revolutionary for their time, offering reduced operating costs and increased feature distribution so small businesses could operate like enterprises.

The challenges the same companies now face on a daily basis is the inflexibility of both the legacy phone systems and the legacy telecommunications needed to connect them to the PSTN, or Public Switched Telephone Network. Legacy phone systems require a room, immense amounts of power, and physical line(s) that is brought in by your telephone provider. Moving from location to location is expensive and physical changes within your office are slow and require project teams to coordinate the activities.

In addition, merging 2 different systems together that are the result of a merger or acquisition is impossible. The most frustrating aspect is the lack of scalability; every legacy system has a clearly defined maximum user allowance, and requirements of a 24th or 25th channel on a PRI require a second installation. The costs to make any of these changes are extremely prohibitive.

SIP on its own won't solve the problems caused by legacy technology. There are some fundamental decisions required by any IT professional in order to fully realize the benefits that SIP can bring. The first decision is to either stick to the CPE, or Customer Premise Equipment, solution like an IP PBX that is SIP enabled or to switch to a fully hosted model that is managed remotely in a centralized location and delivered through the cloud via SIP.

For the business that sticks to the CPE model there is a second choice that can either be easy or very difficult depending on the manufacturer and distributor that they have chosen. The unfortunate reality is that many IP PBX systems are still being manufactured and distributed with PRIs as the primary form connectivity. Upgrades to SIP are "extras" in order to squeeze out a few more dollars, so choose wisely and make sure you have choice at no extra charge to connect with SIP.

Once you've made the decision to go with SIP you can expect to start recognizing a number of benefits to your business.

SIP provides businesses with a greater amount of choice for phone systems. Standardized protocols, open source systems, and quickly emerging technology companies means that you can now get phone systems for the sole proprietorship through to the largest enterprise at a fraction of the cost of a legacy system. IP-based communications allow for advanced features to be layered on top, giving every user access to the features and functionality that have also been charged as premiums in traditional telephony. The wide spectrum of systems allows businesses to find the phone system that meets their needs and their budget.

Scalability is one of the most powerful benefits of SIP Trunking. Having he ability to quickly add or move capacity to trunk groups, update auto attendants on the fly, and adjust settings to ensure customer calls are always answered is critical to the new way of operating for small and medium businesses. SIP allows for capacity to increase or decrease on a per channel basis as opposed to the rigid structure of a PRI. As a cloud based communications tool, these additional resources can be added within minutes of an order and don't require a field services technician to install and test cables.

Business continuity is top of mind. The biggest threat to any phone system is the single point of failure of the access or power and the physical box. When the power goes down, so does the phone system. What would it mean to your business if a customer's call went unanswered while the competition was fully operational? SIP solves this problem by offering disaster recovery features that automatically reroute calls in the event of a power failure, system outage, or if the access goes down. This ensures that calls never go unanswered and your business remains in an up state.

Businesses can expect to save up to 40% over traditional telephony solutions by moving to a cloud-based communications structure that is delivered by SIP Trunking. The savings are recognized up front in the wide array of choice that the IP PBX market offers. The scalability of the services allows for right-sizing your communication needs and not paying for latent capacity. SIP helps to keep your business operational with disaster recovery features that increase productivity and ensure you'll have continued revenue generation through up-time.

How your business operates, the growth over the next 5-10 years, and your ever-changing communication needs will ultimately decide the true value that SIP can offer your business. As you assess how your communications are delivered within your organization, consider what it would mean to have a service like SIP Trunking empowering your business with the control to fully customize your communications strategy to meet your business needs.

Matthew Leppanen
Senior Product Manager - Voice Services
Primus Business Services