More and more companies are switching their telecoms over to IP-based systems. This often requires the use of SIP trunking in order to connect to the telephone network. But what is SIP trunking and how does it help your business?

SIP, short for Session Initiation Protocol, is the technology used to create a communication link over the internet between an internet telephony provider and a customer, by which can they transfer calls to the conventional PSTN telephone network.

VoIP wholesale carrier – benefits

One of the major advantages of SIP trunking for businesses is the things that you don’t need. You no longer have to have an expensive ISDN line to provide a gateway to the outside world of PSTN. You may not even need a PABX, as it’s possible to operate the system from the cloud. All of this leads to reduced costs and a system that is more flexible as your business grows.

Because the connection uses the internet, it means that your voice and data connections no longer need to be completely separate. This suggests that infrastructure costs associated with any expansion are likely to be lower. It also means that even if you operate across multiple sites, you can use a single SIP trunking account to serve all of them.

A major benefit of SIP trunking is that it can reduce your call costs. Traffic can be routed over the IP network until the final step at which it breaks out into the PSTN in order to reach the destination. As the PSTN is gradually phased out over the next few years, the proportion of traffic that needs to leave the IP network will gradually reduce. Where a number being called is already on a VoIP system, the call needn’t touch the traditional network at all.

You also have the freedom to use local numbers, even if you are calling long distance. This can give your company the appearance of a local presence in a particular area even though calls may be answered elsewhere.

Practical considerations

In the not too distant past, using a VoIP system would have meant the use of a softphone – making a call via your computer, probably utilising a headset. Now, however, there is a wide range of IP phone hardware available so you can have a handset very similar to a conventional telephone on your desk.

Of course, you can still use softphones too. This is a particular advantage for mobile users as you can have an app that allows you to make calls over the VoIP network even when you are out and about. This means that calls still appear to come from your office number. It works the other way too, in that calls can be diverted to your mobile.

When you are combining voice and data traffic on one network you do need to consider security. For example, you need to have a SIP-aware firewall in order to allow IP voice traffic on the network.