How to Get a Good Start with SIP Trunking
Contributing TMCnet Writer
Session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking is rapidly gaining ground, especially at the enterprise level, as a way to bring in more communications options that can provide some significant bottom line ramifications. But as is so commonly the case, bringing in SIP trunking by itself won't automatically drop expenses, boost productivity and impact the bottom line. No, it's all about the use of said technology that offers the potential for improved results, and there are some things to consider before even setting out on the path of SIP trunking.
The immediate issue to consider is the issue of selecting a provider. This is a field that offers many choices, so even just selecting a provider is going to take plenty of time in terms of comparing offers and features involved. Not only does the firm currently providing voice services to a business likely have something in SIP trunking ready to go, there are a host of other firms out there that specialize in SIP trunking. That also brings in the issue of pricing, which is a major part of the equation, and will likely be one of the first things that a business uses in considering which of the many providers in the field to take on.
Costs can have several layers to the active consideration of the “best” deal. Some firms offer certain numbers of free long distance minutes, or the like, but may have a higher rate for overages. That makes cost an important consideration that must be carefully examined in the light of expected use.
Further, some services will even allow the business to carry over its current phone number. This is more valuable to some businesses than to others, and some businesses even limit the number of phone numbers that a business can have, which may be a problem in some places more than others. This has some potential value, too—some SIP trunking services can offer local number service, a kind of virtual presence that allows callers to call into a local number and have the call transferred behind the scenes to an office regardless of said office's location in relation to the caller—and will be part of any consideration of provider.
The issue of outages then factors in, as most any service will have some downtime to it. Five-nines reliability, the current standard, means .001 percent downtime, and it's the kind of thing a business needs to be prepared for. Issues of reliability are important, and a provider's response just as much. There's also the issue of call quality to be considered; many providers will have what's known as an SLA, or service level agreement, which dictates just what a user should expect. The SLA is likely to consider points like uptime and call quality, though each SLA will be different for each company.
But beyond the provider is also the issue of the session border controller that drives such services, as the session border controller involved can have quite a bit of impact in terms of call reliability and quality, as well as keeping calls secure, an important consideration to any company.
The best way to figure out just what's needed is to consider how current voice services are used, and then look at the various SIP trunking options with a specific eye toward matching up the services available with how the current service is being used. Making SIP trunking line up with current services ensures the best possible experience, and the best shot at those oh-so-desirable bottom line effects.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey