What exactly is a SIP trunk and how can it help my small business communications?
There is a lot of talk in the business phone services world about SIP trunking. So, what exactly is SIP trunking? SIP trunking is a way of adapting a PBX (business phone system) to Internet telephony (VoIP). We can either use a PBX that is designed for Internet telephony, or use an adapter to enable a traditional phone service PBX to use VoIP. We use the acronym “SIP” to describe the most popular VoIP standard.
Let’s first look at the 3 most popular business phone system options:
Traditional PBX (phone system) using standard phone lines or PRI (non VoIP)
Hosted Phone service – This eliminates the need to purchase any type of phone system (PBX), and instead utilizes the hosted provider’s system for all of the advanced communications functions.
SIP Trunk – A Sip trunk still requires a PBX, but now utilizes VoIP (Voice over IP) to provide the dial-tone.
The SIP Trunk still requires a SIP trunk provider, who in many cases will also offer hosted services. The many benefits of using VoIP can then be realized using your PBX. For example, there are cost savings, enhanced reliability by using the service provider’s disaster recovery process, mobility, and much more.
While you can get the same features with a hosted service, many business customers use a SIP trunk with their current PBX for the following reasons:
To preserve their current investment in a PBX they have purchased.
Familiarity – A company may be familiar and comfortable with their current PBX.
Special features- A PBX may provide special features or integrations that a business may use.
A premise based IP PBX may be more efficient for a company that makes a high number of internal calls, within the same physical network.
Businesses with Avaya phone systems and Avaya IP Office can easily take advantage of this technology. Be sure to use a carrier who has been tested and certified by Avaya for the IP Office for these implementations and ongoing support. Carriers such as ConnectMeVoice can also add Find Me Follow Me, which can provide an extra level disaster recovery/business continuity should your existing location go down. You may also want to confirm that your carrier can use TSL encryption to protect your privacy and secure your communications.
At the end of the day it all comes down to understanding your options, and choosing the best option for your business.