There are two strong trends in the industry right now. One is cloud based hosted PBX telephone and the other is SIP trunking. They work perfectly together, but you can also have SIP trunking without cloud services.
A telephone trunk is a number of telephone lines all bundled together. This can be a wire bundle, such as a multi-line copper cable. It can also be an electrical bundle on a single line. ISDN PRI trunks, for instance, bundle 23 separate phone lines plus Caller ID and switching on a single T1 line. A SIP trunk is a telephone trunk line designed specifically to work with IP phones in VoIP telephone systems. SIP or Session Initiation Protocol is the switching technology used in VoIP in lieu of SS7, which is used in traditional switched circuit telephony.
So, why are SIP trunks such a hot item right now? It’s because a SIP trunk can be connected directly to your network or IP PBX to bring in multiple lines from your VoIP carrier. On a converged local area network, you are already running SIP. Why go to the trouble to converting to another protocol just to gain access to the public telephone network?
SIP trunks are also how you connect to a hosted PBX system as a cloud service. Companies are rapidly discovering that the per-seat cost of a cloud based telephone service is less than they pay now when you count the personnel, operating and maintenance costs of an in-house phone system. With hosted PBX, you no longer have to invest in new hardware every few years and your system is always being maintained and upgraded by the service provider.
It stands to reason that SIP trunking providers want your telephone business, but why do they want your bandwidth?
The reason that your carrier wants to provide you with both telephone lines and Internet bandwidth is so they can guarantee the quality of your phone calls. With traditional telephony, the telephone and computer networks are kept completely separate and cannot possibly interfere with each other. One of the cost saving advantages of enterprise VoIP solutions is that they use the corporate data network for everything. To make that work, you need to prioritize voice packets so that your phone conversations don’t distort or break up no matter what the computers are doing.
When your SIP trunking provider delivers both telephone and Internet service on your trunk line, they prioritize packets using CoS or Class of Service tags. These tags tell all equipment that recognizes them how to handle different types of traffic to ensure service quality. Not all bandwidth providers do this, so if you mix various line services you can wind up undoing your carefully engineered network quality.
There’s also a cost advantage, especially for small businesses who get both telephone and broadband on one line instead of two. You don’t even need IP phones to take advantage of this service. The provider will install an Integrated Access Device (IAD) that can connect to conventional analog phones and your broadband router.
Now that you know why SIP Trunking providers want your bandwidth, why not find out what sort of deal they’ll make to get it? Request competitive quotes for telephone trunking, dedicated Internet access and cloud hosted PBX services now.