SIP Trunking Provider Basics: What is SIP?
Before diving into the best SIP trunking providers, you should first understand what SIP is, as well as what SIP trunks are. SIP is an acronym for Session Initiation Protocol. This protocol uses a series of signals to initiate and terminate multimedia sessions (such as telephone calls).
According to Oracle, “The session initiation protocol (SIP) is a simple network signaling protocol for creating and terminating sessions with one or more participants. The SIP protocol is designed to be independent of the underlying transport protocol, so SIP applications can run on TCP, UDP or other lower-layer networking protocols. Typically, the SIP protocol is used for internet telephony and multimedia distribution between two or more endpoints. For example, one person can initiate a telephone call to another person using SIP or someone may create a conference call with many participants.”
Besides understanding SIP’s purpose, the second concept you must learn is SIP trunks. In short, they are virtual lines for making and receiving calls from a web-based interface to any phone number, whether it’s via Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
The SIP trunk serves as a path through which digital data packets (voice, video and other data packets) travel from a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) to their final destination. Trunks can be broken down into as many SIP channels as necessary to support one incoming or outgoing call (also known as sessions, lines or concurrent calls).
Related: How to Make Money as a SIP Provider
How Are SIP Trunking Providers Helping Businesses?
SIP trunking offers enterprises the ability to replace traditional phone lines or Primary Rate Interfaces (PRI) with more modern and flexible SIP trunking technology. The best SIP trunking providers will guide you through the deployment process, transition your business over to the new system and provide any training you and your team may need.
With the help of leading SIP trunking providers, you can easily stay connected with your team using video conferencing, chat, instant messaging, collaboration tools, blackboards and whiteboards.
The Benefits of SIP Trunking
SIP trunking is gaining popularity among businesses worldwide. Transparency Market Research predicts the market for SIP trunking services could grow at a 13% annual rate through 2030, reaching an outstanding market value of US$ 35.5 billion the same year.
SIP trunking is the technology that allows you to use chat, voice or video to communicate daily. Unfortunately, many business owners are also unfamiliar with how SIP services work, their benefits or what they can expect.
In short, SIP trunking offers users the ability to make and receive phone calls across the internet, from anywhere in the world, to anyone with a phone number, as briefly stated above. Until SIP emerged as a popular and reliable method of transmitting voice signals, all telephone calls took place over the PSTN.
The popularity of SIP is understandable; SIP trunking is a simple, economical and efficient way to connect all of your company’s employees, regardless of their location or preferred device. As employees are more dispersed than ever, having this mobile flexibility is essential.
Through SIP’s development as a primary telecommunications technology, many corporate users gain greater connectivity while also saving money. Using SIP trunking, your company can take advantage of the same capabilities it has with its old phones while adding the flexibility and scalability provided by internet technology.
Related: How to Become a SIP Trunk Provider
How Do You Find the Best SIP Trunking Provider?
Now that you’ve gained a clearer understanding of SIP and how it helps business communications, here’s a list of criteria to help you find the best SIP trunking provider for your business.
Free Trial and Compatibility
Free trials are always an excellent place to start. First, you need to know if a particular provider’s service is compatible with your legacy PBX, software-based PBX, IP PBX or open-source platform. A trial period allows you to test the system to find out before you invest time and money.
Of course, there are other benefits to a free trial, such as determining whether or not certain features are relevant, evaluating the ease of setup and use, and experiencing the dependability of the provider’s support team.
Coverage Area, Tier 1 Service and Quality of Service
Is your company hyperlocal, making only regional calls, or do you consider the entire globe as your backyard?
Whatever your calling needs are, make sure your SIP trunking provider can offer its services across the geographic area your business operates.
Those providers using a Tier 1 network can offer the highest voice call quality because they essentially run and own their network. SIP trunks from resellers are rebranded or white-labeled services from other providers.
If you use a SIP trunk from a reseller, you are paying a toll to use someone else’s network, so your call isn’t being given the same priority as it would on a Tier 1 network and the quality might not be as good.
It is also worth noting how some carriers are considered Tier 1 for a particular region only. Outside of it, they’ll be paying tolls to carry your call to another region or country, meaning increased costs for you. So if international calls are crucial to your business, choose a SIP trunk provider accordingly.
Last, check on Quality of Service (QoS). If your SIP trunking provider of choice meets jitter industry standards of jitter, latency and packet loss, then you’ll be in good hands.
As always, you get what you pay for. Business-class or enterprise-level services will cost more than services for home offices or SMB’s. It all depends on what your application needs and values.
Bundles, Billing, Bursting
There are several different ways SIP trunking providers bill you for their services, including:
- Cost per minute
- Cost per user
- Cost per port
- Number of simultaneous calls
- Bundled services and features
Your Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the SIP trunking provider will formally define the scope, expectations and terms. You can refer back to the document should you have any issues or questions.
Even though it may seem the number of different billing options available and SLA should cover all variables, there is a wildcard when it comes to SIP trunking: Bursting.
Bursting is when you go over your calling limit on a SIP trunk. You’ll often see this term compared to overdraft protection on your checking account. You can temporarily get more calls than what you paid for during, say, a busy time of year or when you’ve decided to run a very popular special promotion.
You may not need this level of service all year round, but it’s there when you need it; that’s bursting. Not all SIP trunk providers offer this, so if it is something you think may be useful to have, just in case, seek one out that does.
How to Select a SIP Trunking Provider
In the end, you should select your SIP trunking provider based on your unique needs. There are several options to choose from, so don’t sign up with a provider who is pressuring you into things you don’t want, such as:
- Signing a long-term contract
- Paying for more than you need
- Bundling services to help their bottom line, not yours
- Not being able to port your existing phone numbers to your new SIP trunk
With SIP trunks, you will be making phone calls over the internet, experiencing just how awesome this technology can be to keep everyone connected while supporting diverse working environments. In addition, you should expect robust but relevant features, transparency of call quality metrics, and call reporting and analytics.
You shouldn’t settle for a SIP trunk provider that doesn’t put your business needs ahead of their own. To make it as easy as possible for you to migrate to SIP, make sure you find the right SIP partner with comprehensive capabilities and an outstanding reputation. Your business will be more connected than ever when you use SIPTRUNK’s high-speed, reliable network, along with its powerful software tools. Get started today.
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