Search SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) on Google and you will find SIP Service, SIP Trunking, VoIP Service, Hosted IP, etc. With so many definitions out there, it’s hard to really know what it is and what it can do for your business – luckily we are here to clarify.

  • SIP – a communications protocol for signaling and controlling multimedia communications sessions for voice, video calls and instant messaging over IP networks.
  • SIP Trunking – a way for SIP Providers to deliver unified communications to customers with telephone systems capable of supporting SIP or through a gateway. SIP Trunks can be used in place of traditional voice circuits or in a blended environment.

The Benefits of SIP    

SIP has many advantages but the primary drivers are cost and flexibility.  Businesses can purchase and pay for what they need today.  As requirements change, scalability is easy and can be implemented in less time than with traditional services.  SIP is perfect for multi-site; geographically disperse companies with local number portability. For example:  a San Diego phone number can be answered at your Corporate Headquarters in Springfield for less money than traditional services such as call forwarding, remote call forwarding, etc.  Another benefit is that SIP trunks are virtual, reducing the real estate (hardware/costs) of your system.

When to SIP

Technology is changing at warp speed.  The industry is moving away from basic Telco services and embracing all things IP.  Major manufacturers are focused on IP based systems as digital systems and services fall by the wayside.  Whether hardware, software or connectivity, SIP is here and it’s coming like a freight train.

What you need to know

SIP is a new technology; therefore, customers need to understand what they are getting. Also, making sure it is being implemented correctly may take longer than with traditional voice services.  The established carrier practices with lead times, testing and turn-up have all but vanished.  It’s difficult to get finite schedules from some SIP Providers.  There may be no pre-configuration, no warning that lines are being ported.  You have to be ready.

Tips for when you SIP

If, after reading this article, you are apprehensive, don’t be.  There are ways to reduce possible issues.

  • Choose a Vendor with experience in SIP implementations and with the systems they support.
  • Make sure QoS (Quality of Service) and Voice Prioritization are addressed and that you know what you’re signing up for. Beware of those who want to bring SIP in over your regular Internet Connection.
  • Choose a manufacturer with a method for certifying SIP Providers with their systems.
  • Choose a SIP Provider with a reputation for quality and service on systems.
  • Check references. Find out how vendors worked through problems when learning how to deal with SIP.
  • Ask SIP Providers questions about pricing and understand what is included. Features and functionality standard with traditional services may not be available with SIP.
  • Remember, all SIP Providers and their services are not created equal.

Just as with IP Telephony, ready or not, it’s here.  SIP and Enjoy!