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Is it Time to Rethink Traditional SIP Trunking?

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ShoreTel VoIP SIP Trunking

Session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking, which is a process that uses voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology to connect private branch exchange (PBX) systems with the Internet, has become a valuable technology that has helped to drive the adoption of unified communications (UC). SIP trunking helps make VoIP systems work, and nowadays, VoIP is big business. According to a recent Transparency Market Research report, by 2020 the global VoIP services market will generate around $136.76 billion in revenue and will be used by nearly 350 million people - and for good reason.

With VoIP, businesses can establish unified communications systems, which means managers and employees can communicate via multiple devices, making it easier to stay in touch and get more work done. VoIP, therefore, is advantageous over traditional landlines, which only connect specific points to each other and don't offer the kind of mobility companies need to succeed. In a similar way, SIP trunking is often a better answer to PRI systems. Instead of working over a physical phone line like PRI, SIP trunking allows the user to connect to multiple phone lines simultaneously while at the same time remaining affordable due to lower equipment costs.

An alternative to SIP trunking would be to utilize a hosted PBX system, which offers some advantages due to the fact that its call center solution works within the cloud. Hosted PBX, like the name implies, is built, delivered and managed by a third-party service provider.

SIP Trunking and Hosted PBX: What's the Difference?

Both SIP trunking and hosted PBX work to support VoIP telephony. However, they have distinct differences that may point to disparity in how and why these techniques should be adopted.

SIP trunking, instead of being the actual IP system used by programs to communicate over the Internet, is the protocol that allows that communication to take place. In other words, SIP trunking enables VoIP. Companies can set up multiple lines that are rerouted through the same SIP trunk line, according to Compare Business Products contributor Catherine Hensley.

"SIP trunking allows a business to connect with outside organizations in addition to its inter-office communications, all through a single SIP trunk line connected to a PSTN network," Hensley wrote. "It most often uses the same Internet access used for data. The Internet telephone service provider supplies the SIP trunk line, and it eliminates the clunky bunches of physical phone wires once necessary with older telephone systems. Because only three parts are needed to employ an SIP trunk line, this type of system is very cost-effective."

Hosted PBX, on the other hand, offers all the benefits of SIP trunking, but with the difference that call routing takes place in the cloud. This allows companies to forgo the installation of any on-premises equipment.

Benefits of Hosted PBX

Because hosted PBX systems use the cloud to reroute calls, they offer a distinct array of advantages for companies that choose this approach to VoIP solutions. For instance, hosted solutions don't require high upfront investments or dedicated IT staff for maintenance - just access to the cloud. Businesses also have the flexibility of being able to add, change or delete users and to add remote extensions, bringing together various locations under one system. Cloud-based solutions can also offer some advanced analytics capabilities, according to No Jitter contributor Andrew Prokop.

"If you want callers to spend their valuable time calling you, don't you want them to have a good audio experience? This requires historical and real-time reporting that looks at quality-of-experience data and provides you with enough information to dynamically fix problems or do what's necessary to prevent them from happening in the future," Prokop wrote.

At the end of the day, businesses will benefit from the implementation of VoIP, whether it's an SIP phone system or hosted PBX service. With VoIP-enabled technology, companies can save money and work from virtually anywhere at anytime, unlike if they were tied to a landline. Both hosted PBX and SIP trunking offer their own pluses and distinct benefits, so it's up to individual businesses to decide what works best for them and their customers now and in the future.