There’s no denying that communications have changed. Case in point: last week, I had to explain to my 12-year-old daughter the chokehold T9 had on early Millennials. She gave a signature tween eye roll as she tucked away her iPhone SE — complete with features I could have only dreamed about at her age. “What is T9 anyway?”
Feel old yet? Me too.
It’s time to face the facts: the days of Snake, T9, and ear-grating dial-up are long gone. They’ve been replaced with FaceTime, WhatsApp, SMS, MMS, and visual voicemail. For businesses, this modernization comes in the form of SIP trunking. In fact, a global industry analysis found that the market for SIP trunking services is expected to hit $43.74 billion by 2031. That’s up a whopping 266% from 2021.
If you’re not familiar with SIP trunking, now is the time to learn about this cutting-edge communications technology and how it can help grow your business. Don’t worry — we have you covered. Here’s a guide that breaks down the basics of SIP trunking (and the benefits for your business).
What is SIP Trunking?
SIP trunking is a method within VoIP that connects your phone to the internet. It lets you eliminate your traditional phone provider while keeping your existing phone system. Instead of a traditional phone line, your entire phone system operates over the internet.
SIP Trunking vs. VoIP
Lots of folks get these two technologies confused, so here’s a primer on the terms.
VoIP is short for voice over internet protocol. It’s a broad term that references phone calls made over internet data connections instead of traditional phone lines.
SIP stands for session initiation protocol. Basically, it’s a protocol used to start, maintain, and end communication sessions in VoIP applications. In other words, it’s a sub-protocol that enables VoIP.
Want to learn more about SIP and VoIP? Check out our guide.
The Nitty-Gritty of SIP Trunking
SIP is a technology used to establish, change, and end a voice communication session over the internet.
“Trunking” refers to the virtual link between your private telephone network — sometimes called PBX or private branch exchange — and a traditional phone network using an internet connection.
To put it more simply, it replaces your phone lines with the internet service you already have.
How SIP Trunking Works
SIP trunking routes calls through an existing VoIP or PBX system using a packet switch network. Voice calls are converted into packets of data and transmitted across the internet. When a call arrives, the data packets are converted to their original form, allowing you to take the call.
Think of a SIP trunk as a virtual phone with no hardwired lines needed. With SIP trunks, a provider can connect multiple channels to your private PBX. This allows you to make and take phone calls over the internet.
Enabling VoIP through SIP trunking typically requires a SIP-compatible PBX (often called an IP PBX) or a unified communication (UC) platform. This lets you connect a mix of desktop phones, softphones, and mobile devices for greater mobility. Plus, these devices can all work from the same number. And that’s a huge benefit in our new digital-first world.
Who Needs SIP Trunking?
SIP trunking is a great option if you have an on-premises phone system. It’s the perfect way to replace expensive phone systems and upgrade to cloud features without sacrificing your investment.
4 Benefits of SIP Trunking
If you’re still not convinced, here are a few key benefits of SIP trunking.
1. Cost Savings
SIP trunking significantly cuts the cost of your business communications. These savings can be monumental, especially for businesses with a heavy long-distance call load.
SIP trunking also helps reduce — and sometimes even eliminate — your landline rental fees. With SIP, you only pay for what you need, unlike the bundle-based pricing of PBX. It’s a cost-effective way to preserve and maximize your investment in your existing PBX.
SIP trunks let you scale instantly. If you have increased call volumes caused by seasonality, you can immediately scale to meet your customer needs.
Let’s say you run a small bakery, and everyone in town loves your apple pies so much that all order one (or five) for Christmas dinner. Your phone line is going to be busy, to say the least. But if you trunk your lines, you can add more channels to accommodate the seasonal spike in your call volume. And then, you can dial them back after the new year when call volumes return to normal.
This scalability lets you pay for what you need when you need it.
3. Greater Flexibility
SIP trunks remove location-based restrictions on your telecom, so you can choose any phone number regardless of the location. This is key if your business operates globally. Having a virtual phone number with a local phone number means customers can contact you using a local number rather than an expensive international one.
4. Unified Communications
As the list of channels you use to connect with employees and customers grows, you need a way to simplify your channel management. SIP trunking consolidates your channels onto a single, internet-based platform. This lets you centralize your comms management, adds flexibility and scalability (as noted above), and improves your team’s overall collaboration.
The easiest place to start is by looking at your current setup. Is your existing phone system compatible with SIP trunking? Most modern PBX systems can integrate with SIP.
Then, choose your provider. Consider pricing, features, reliability, network coverage, scalability, compatibility, customer support, and security and compliance. (Sure, we might be biased, but we’re pretty darn good at those things.)
Once you have your vendor, make sure your internet connection can handle the additional data traffic from SIP trunking. And then check your network equipment to see if they need adjustments or updates. From there, your vendor should guide you through the rest of the process.
Want more information on SIP trunking? Chat with one of our consultants today.