News & Events

SIP Trunking Introduction & Benefits

  • 30 November, 2016

Article, Unified Collaboration

SIP Trunking stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is a form of IP based telephony that continues to gain traction within the industry. SIP is the standard communications protocol for voice and video in a Unified Communications (UC) solution across a data network. A SIP Trunk replaces the need for a traditional PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) connection by providing termination over a company’s public or private internet connection through a SIP provider. SIP providers are often referred to as ITSP’s (Internet Telephony Service Providers) and they provide various PSTN services.

Key benefits of SIP include; scalability, reliability, cost-saving and flexibility.

sip trunk diagram sip trunking

Cost cutting with SIP

SIP trunks can provide a company with the means to dramatically reduce call costs. IP connections are considerably cheaper than traditional lines when you consider line rental costs. In many cases, it is possible to get free UK landline calls with SIP trunking and you can also make significant savings on mobile and international calls as well. SIP trunking rarely has any associated hidden costs so pricing is clearly structured and transparent.

Mentioned in more detail below, the ability to instantly add extra trunks as and when you need them is a highly beneficial feature and can certainly be classed as a cost cutting benefit. No longer having to provision for the ‘worst case’ or ‘peak’ scenario, you can run less capacity during the quieter times, safe in the knowledge that you can increase immediately when you experience high call volumes. Whether you have regular, seasonal call volume increases or there is an issue somewhere which has caused your call volumes to increase dramatically, you can quickly increase capacity to handle it and when the peak period passes, you can revert to your standard level of capacity. To sum this up: you only pay for what you need when you need it, you no longer need to keep capacity in reserve and plan for the worst.

Of course, whilst cost saving is a priority for many of us, it should be noted that the need for cutting costs needs to be balanced with quality of service requirements and the level of customer support you will receive.

SIP trunking Scalability & Flexibility

One of the best things about SIP is the ease at which you can scale up (or down) based upon individual business requirements. This not only holds true for companies expecting a large amount of imminent growth over a forthcoming year, but also for shorter time scales such as increased call volumes based upon seasons or events.

The ability to instantly add extra trunks as and when required is a stand out feature of SIP trunking and an unmatched advantage. With SIP trunking, companies no longer have to buy capacity for their peak periods which may lay dormant for many months of the year. Instead, companies can only consume what they require, as and when they require it.

If you’re reading this and your business has any kind of seasonal activities, then you can hopefully already recognise the benefits of this kind of flexible scalability. SIP trunking allows you to plan cost-effective capacity changes based on seasonal demand to ensure your infrastructure can cope during times of high call volumes whilst not leaving you with redundant capacity during the quiet times.

SIP trunking allows for you to manipulate outbound numbers with ease. For example, if you have multiple branches located in differing regions, either nationally or internationally, SIP trunking can allow you to route all your calls to go out from one central location. You may have five offices throughout the UK but wish for your calls to come from London, with SIP trunking this is no problem. Mobile devices are also able to make calls ‘from’ a specific number in the same way.

Enabling Unified Collaboration through SIP

Combining all your communication needs into one unified strategy is becoming increasingly common and SIP trunking is extremely well suited to this. Email, Voicemail, Video Conferencing, Standard Telephony and Instant Messaging can all be unified within a Unified Collaboration solution running through SIP. That’s not to say that unifying communications is impossible without SIP, it’s just that SIP improves the process dramatically and UC is perfectly placed to take advantage of the additional features that SIP provides.

A SIP trunk can allow a user to control a unique ID or multiple numbers no matter which device they may be using or network they happen to be connected to. You phone system and mobile apps can talk directly to the public network with SIP. SIP enables more devices to integrate fully with your network and user resources. SIP is also an excellent choice if you are considering Cloud integration, something which usually goes hand-in-hand with most UC strategies.

Rationalising multi-site connections

If you’re operating across multiple sites, it may be likely that you have multiple existing ISDN connections to an individual Telco / PSTN. Using SIP makes this easier to rationalise as the number of connections you need are reduced along with ongoing maintenance costs. Costs end up minimised to just the IP connection and the handset or endpoint costs at each site.

Understanding the need for SIP

All businesses are different and what works for some may not work for others. Whilst SIP is clearly a step forward it may not work for everyone to the same degree. A good understanding of the current environment and business goals is essential prior to moving onto SIP trunking.

SIP lives or dies based on your connectivity, for you to get the most out of it you need to be acutely aware of your call volumes and just how much bandwidth is required to support this. Although providing dedicated connectivity for your voice requirements is the preferred way to ensure the utmost reliability, it is not the only option and there is always the possibility of leveraging existing connectivity.

We will always advocate talking to an expert in the field of SIP and Unified Collaboration prior to making any decision over how to pursue a SIP solution.

Increased reliability and resiliency through SIP

In an ideal world our businesses will be prepared for any eventuality, with robust disaster recovery planning and comprehensive backup facilities in place. SIP can be a huge asset in this area as it makes it easy to move or divert fixed lines wherever you want them to go, regardless of location and absent any potentially expensive forwarding costs. This is all possible instantaneously, which means any business operations shouldn’t see the effects of any potential issues, even critical ones.

Closing thoughts

Hopefully this article has gone some way towards providing a good general understanding of the features and advantages of SIP trunking. Obviously every environment has its own unique requirements and some are certainly more ready for a transition to SIP than others.

If you’d like to find out more about SIP trunking and how it can benefit your environment, please feel free to get in touch with us via our contact page. We’ll be happy to engage with you further about SIP trunking and all other aspects of Unified Collaboration.

Get in touch with us

Find out more about our Unified Collaboration services