SIP Trunking is a method by which an individual telephone system, or PBX, can substitute Internet or other data lines for traditional telephone lines. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is part of the panoply of Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies which are the foundation of modern telecommunications.
SIP Trunking uses the Internet to
connect your PBX to the PSTN
This last point is essential to keep in mind, because it establishes SIP trunking as "just another type of line" for your phone system. SIP trunking is a change in thetransport of telecommunications services, not a change in the services themselves.
What are the advantages of SIP Trunking? For the individual business, two primary advantages are immediately derived from a migration away from legacy analog and digital telephone lines towards SIP Trunking: Flexibility and Cost.
Legacy telephone lines have a physical limitation as to the number of communications channels available. An analog phone line provides one communications channel; a digital T1 or PRI line provides a maximum of 23 communications channels. If more communications channels are needed, more physical lines are required, which must be installed by the telecommunications carrier, generally at some expense to both the carrier and the customer.
SIP Trunks have no such physical limitation. Because SIP trunking uses regular data connections, the only physical limitation is the bandwidth capacity of the connection itself. As a direct result of this, the number of concurrent communications channels available is largely a contractual agreement between you and your telecommunications provider, and that number can be scaled up or down based on the terms of that agreement.
For example, consider the case of an hotel or resort that has a wide seasonal fluctuation in bookings and activity. During the seasonal peak periods, there is usually a far greater need for telecommunications services than there is during the slow periods. With SIP Trunking, the hotel can expand the number of concurrent calls to accommodate the seasonal demand, and then reduce the number again during the slow period to reduce cost. Such seasonal flexibility is not feasible with legacy analog and digital telephone lines.
As a general rule, SIP trunks allow for significant cost reductions over legacy telephone lines. The primary reason for this is the flexibility described above: if a business needs 7 communications channels, it has to either purchase 7 individual analog lines, or purchase a digital T1 or PRI line, which will carry significant excess capacity (remember, a T1 or PRI is 23 concurrent communications channels). Even the digital circuit is provisioned to support just a fraction of the physical capacity, almost invariably the business is paying for capacity it rarely, if ever uses. With SIP trunking those excess capacities--which are wasted cost--disappear almost entirely.
Moreover, because the number of communications channels is purely a contractual variance, there are fewer costs to upgrade capacity--for Voice The Right Way customers, there are no upgrade costs at all.
In addition to these primary benefits, SIP trunking delivers a fair number of ancillary benefits as well:
Peter Nayland Kust is a Voice and Data Networking Engineer with 25+ years of experience covering all aspects of Information Technology. His current focus is Voice over IP architecture and design, layering that expertise over extensive experience in network routing and switching, disaster recovery and business continuity planning, capacity planning, network security, and project management, as well as Internet-enabled and web-enabled applications
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