As Voice over IP (VoIP)-based telephony increases in popularity, businesses are learning an all-new set of terminology.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a standardised set of communication formats used in VoIP, instrumental in the sending of voice and video messages over a VoIP phone system. In recent years, SIP trunking has replaced standard phone system trunking, bringing a higher level of efficiency and quality to calls.
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What is SIP Trunking?
Many business phone systems are hosted on a Private Branch Exchange (PBX), which eliminates the need for an individual line to be run to each desk in an office. To communicate with the outside world, businesses use trunking, which is in essence a pipe leading calls from the office to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
SIP trunking allows a business to make full use of an IP-based PBX, replacing traditional PSTNs with a PSTN from an internet-based SIP trunk provider. In the process, an SIP trunk can reduce a business’s overall costs and improve reliability for video conferences. For this reason, many businesses are making the switch.
SIP Trunk Providers
Businesses today can choose from a wide variety of SIP trunk providers, many of which offer affordable, high-quality services.
With a free trial that includes an hour of free calls, SIP.US allows businesses to try its service out before committing. SIP.US’s edge is its high level of customer support. Instead of routing customers through a maze of tier-one, tier-two, and tier-three support, any problems go directly to a knowledgeable support representative with at least five years of experience with SIP trunking.
With plans starting at £10 a month, Nextiva’s flat monthly rates make budget planning easier. No contract is required, so businesses can upgrade to Nextiva without risk. A business’s existing PBX equipment can often be integrated with a Nextiva SIP trunking plan, offering an additional level of cost savings.
8×8 offers free point-to-point calling between a business and other 8×8-enabled sites, as well as unlimited concurrent calls. 8×8 also offers virtual numbers, which means local numbers can be set up in a variety of cities to make it easier for customers to call for assistance. The company’s pricing is based on a business’s unique needs, with prices changing as a business grows and more numbers and features are added.
Developed by telecom-savvy developers, FlowRoute is designed to provide simplified, scalable, and direct access to a global network of VoIP users. FlowRoute offers phone numbers for £0.90 per month with outbound rates at £0.0070 per minute. The system uses detailed routing intelligence to manage calls for more advanced phone system functionality.
Net2Phone is an internet-based calling service that works with any PBX phone, making it ideal for businesses that already have PBX equipment in place. The service offers unlimited concurrent calls, no monthly contracts, and high-quality, low-cost calling. Customers pay as they use the service, with simplified, per-minute pricing that might be more suitable to businesses with low call volumes.
There are several providers that offer free SIP trunking, but these services can be of poorer quality than paid services. However, if your budget is very tight you could consider one of the following options:
- GetonSip provides mobile and desktop voice and videoconferencing.
- Sip2Sip offers audio, video, presence, chat, file transfer, and conferencing.
- Antisip offers toolkits for mobile and desktop platforms.
With so many excellent providers, businesses can shop around to find the best pricing and features to meet their needs.
For organisations with existing PBX equipment, an option that works with the hardware already in place can save a great deal on initial set-up costs.