What is SIP?Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) was conceived as a more efficient way to initiate multimedia or calling sessions between two or more participants - think conference calls or webinars - in real time. This is accomplished through a two-step process that required a call setup phase, where the technology between the receiving party and sending party communicate to determine the active parties and how the call should be handled, and then a second phase, where set of different protocols is used to transfer the voice packets back and forth between lines once the call is in progress.
SIP TrunkingAlthough two SIP providing devices can talk to each other, the call is usually analyzed by a SIP proxy before being directed to the correct recipient(s). Business SIP trunking allows calls and multimedia events to take place outside of the business' own network, as with B2B, interstate or international communications, without needing to use an IP-PSTN gateway. The benefits to businesses that use SIP trunking are enormous, and they include:
- Elimination or reduction in long-distance calling cost
- Eliminates the need for housing and maintaining a PBX system
- Does away with duplicate networks
- Scalable at a fraction of the cost
- No comparability issues with telecommunications outside of your network
VoIP ProvidersThe first step to making the switch is to find a provider, which is as simple as doing a web search. There are three different types of VoIP service, and each has its benefits. The most basic and old-school is a software-based solution that just requires purchase of the software, either on disc or via download; it includes no bells or whistles, it just provides telecommunications within certain limits from your PC or laptop for a small monthly fee. The two most common types of service are hosted service, where an outside provider handles everything on a cloud-based system, and on-premises service, which requires you to purchase, install and maintain all of the equipment yourself. A hosted service will save you money on up-front cost, and an on-premises system will save money you over the life of the service.
SIP WholesaleAs mentioned above, there are several ways to make the switch to IP telephony, but by far the most efficient and cost-effective is through a wholesaler or re-seller. Choosing this type of service provider will allow you to have your service hosted by a company that takes care of all equipment, maintenance and upgrades at their site, which is a huge money, time and hassle savings for you. The proliferation of this service also allows wholesalers to offer more affordable packages that are suited to smaller or home-based businesses, making them more profitable and competitive.
The more you know about telecommunications services and providers, the better your decision-making abilities. Before you shop for a provider, consider what your current communications needs are, as well as what you expect your future requirements to be. After that, it's simply a matter of finding a provider who you can trust, and that has the flexibility and technological capability to provide you with the service you need at the right price for your budget.