Introducing SIP Trunks

In my SIP for Beginners blog article I touched on the subject of SIP trunks.  It’s a topic that I could spend hours writing about and believe me, I am not a slow writer.  There really is that much to say.  I have to start somewhere, though, so I will spend the next few paragraphs defining SIP trunks and touching on some of the benefits.

What Exactly is a SIP Trunk?

In traditional wire-line telephony, phone calls are passed to and from an enterprise and the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) over a dedicated line or a bundle of circuits.  These circuits can be analog trunks such as loop or ground start lines or digital trunks such as T1, E1, ISDN, or PRI.  Since SIP is an IP protocol, it runs on the same network that data traffic runs on.  This convergence of voice and data means that a SIP trunk is a logical concept that has more to do with bandwidth than physical wires or circuits.

The benefits of SIP trunks over traditional trunks are many:

  • Converged voice and data
  • Rich communications
  • Operational Efficiencies
  • Phone numbers not tied to physical location
  • Equipment reduction
  • Reduced power requirements
  • Reduced space requirements
  • Flexible pricing and substantial cost savings
  • Improved reliability and fail-over strategies

Enterprises that make the move from traditional telephony trunks to SIP trunks begin to see benefits from day one.  There is the immediate physical reduction of gateways and line cards.  Not only does the size of your communications system drastically shrink, but the power savings can often be significant.   You can reduce your energy footprint while having a positive effect on your bottom line.  Additionally, SIP trunks allow an enterprise to create a disaster recovery plan that does not require a complete duplication of its telephony circuits.   Turning up the trunks in a disaster recovery site can be as simple pointing to a new IP address.

While saving money is important, the addition of new features makes SIP trunks that much sweeter.  We are moving past the days when voice was all we needed for communication.   Video is playing a much bigger part in our everyday conversations.  Productivity enhancers like presence and instant messaging are almost necessities in today’s enterprise.  The next generation of E-911 is based on SIP and if your company wants to participate in this new multimedia system you will need to move from TDM to SIP trunks.

The number of providers of SIP trunks worldwide has made their availability almost on par as that of traditional trunks.  Not only can they be purchased from the larger players such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, Level-3, and Century Link, but there are numerous smaller providers that can deliver SIP trunks across the nation.  If you add up the cost savings, flexibility, and feature richness of SIP trunks, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be starting down the road of transforming your company and communications platforms with SIP.

Coming Attractions

In future blog articles I will delve into the steps to consider when converting from TDM to SIP trunks.  I will also dedicate some time to explaining the pitfalls that might arise and what you can do to ensure a successful rollout.   There are many positive aspects in moving to SIP trunks but like any big paradigm shift, smart planning and careful execution are crucial.  Stay tuned for more.

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