For digital communications using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), a SIP trunk acts like the virtual equivalent to a set of physical telephone lines. SIP trunking also provides several benefits for business users, three of which we'll be discussing in this article. First, though...
What's a SIP Trunk?
In traditional or analogue telephony, bundles of physical wires and high-maintenance hardware are used to transfer services from a provider to their subscriber's business premises.
A SIP trunk does much the same thing - but virtually, rather than physically. Based on a technology known as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), it creates and maintains a logical or data connection between a subscriber's location and an internet telephony service provider (ITSP). A SIP trunk is installed over the customer's existing internet connection, eliminating the need for traditional analogue phone lines.
It's not necessarily a new technology, but it's a fast-growing one.
The market for SIP trunk services is expected to increase from its estimated level of $8 billion (£5.7 billion) by 2018, to $20.7 billion (£14.7 billion) in 2024.
Today's digital communications systems exploit the power of the internet to transport voice and other data as digital information, using high-speed connections that can extend a service provider's reach across the globe. SIP trunking can take advantage of VoIP to use shared lines such as a business internet connection to provide a number of benefits, such as….
1. Greater Flexibility
Using a traditional phone system, you have to buy a set number of physical lines at the outset - which may or may not be adequate to meet your needs as your business develops over time. And if you need to scale up in response to your business growth, you'll have to buy and install additional lines - which can be both expensive and time-consuming.
With a SIP trunk, your connections are virtual, and may be installed very quickly (typically in a matter of hours) and quickly scaled up or down to ensure that you always have the capacity that you need.
Used in conjunction with a VoIP phone system - especially an IP-PBX, or service that's hosted in the cloud - a SIP trunk also enables you to extend the reach of your business, to accommodate your working practices and the nature of your workforce. VoIP telephony features such as call routing and presence monitoring can be used to give remote, home-based and mobile workers access to your business phone system.
Integration with VoIP and SIP-based communications technologies also makes a SIP trunk an ideal stepping stone to Unified Communications - a complete business solution incorporating voice and data tools, services, and applications such as video conferencing, collaboration, Instant Messaging, mobile and desktop client apps and web meetings.
These systems integrate VoIP and other IP or Internet Protocol communications tools and services with your business data network. Specialist companies such as LG Networks can help you to optimise your existing set-up, or upgrade your system with state of the art technologies such as fibre optics and structured cabling.
2. Lower Costs
In addition to the savings you'll make on physical phone lines, buying BRIs (Basic Rate Interfaces), PRIs (Primary Rate Interfaces), or local PSTN gateways, a SIP trunk will save money for your business in other ways.
By using a single internet connection, there's no need to install separate voice and data streams - though you will have to optimise your connection for VoIP by giving priority to voice traffic. LG Networks can provide advice and assistance on how best to optimise your data network.
With a SIP trunk and VoIP telephony, call charges are drastically reduced as well. Routing calls via the internet essentially renders both long-distance and international calls liable to local call rates. Calls to other numbers within the same VoIP network (which would include those throughout your organisation), are often free of charge.
A single SIP trunk account can serve your entire enterprise - no matter how large or geographically dispersed it may be. But small and medium-sized businesses can benefit too, with savings over their existing communications spending, typically of the order of 30% and more. And these savings are usually felt within a short span of time - often within six months.
3. Greater Security and Availability
SIP trunk and VoIP telephony providers like LG Networks typically have strong security and backup measures in place, to ensure that their services are always available. These may include automatic switching to secondary servers and infrastructure in the event of a disaster or network outage, together with options for re-routing calls and messages to phone numbers or devices that you specify.
Measures like these ensure business continuity and provide your workers, customers, and supply chain partners the comfort of knowing that someone in your organisation is always available to attend to their needs.
And in an economy where "24/7/365" availability is pretty much a necessity, the security and continuity of a SIP trunk and VoIP telephony combination can be a huge contributor to your operational and commercial success.
If your business habitually allocates a large portion of its IT budget to maintaining physical hardware, or if you're looking to migrate from a traditional phone system to one that's cloud-based and capable of better supporting your data-driven operations, then a telecoms system combining SIP trunk and VoIP technologies could be ideal for you.
4. Greatly reduced cost of Call Recording
Many of our customers record calls for compliance and quality purpose. Businesses covered by the Financial Conduct Authority are required to keep call recordings to provide evidence in the event of a dispute. Other businesses use call recording to verify accuracy of information given by staff and customers, and others use recordings to train staff and improve customer service.
Traditional ISDN and analogue line call recorders are often more expensive than the phone system they link to. Typically, an office with ten staff may pay £4000 for an ISDN phone system and then £5000 for the call recording system. Some benefits of SIP over ISDN are detailed above, but a call recording system for a SIP system may cost 20% that of the traditional call recorder. That means that many customers will pay less for a SIP system with Call Recording than they do for a traditional ISDN system without. For more details, and an explanation of the legalities of recording calls, please call Stuart or Brett.
To find out more about VoIP, or how a SIP trunk could extend the scale and capabilities of your business, get in touch with the specialists at LG Networks.