By: Brian DeVault

Leading businesses today know the importance of keeping telecom expenses down and productivity levels up.

To get there, many are embracing today’s advanced Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) voice services. That’s because VoIP can help companies reduce telecom costs while giving employees and partners access to streamlined, efficient communications tools they need to do their jobs. In fact, analysts correctly predicted that by 2020 there would be about 204.8 billion corporate VoIP users, bringing the market to $86.2 billion in global revenue. (Source: Future Market Insights).

For those using VoIP, SIP, or SIP trunking services can help companies reduce costs even further by improving network efficiency through consolidation of voice and data lines. SIP is a protocol that is used in VoIP systems and trunking is a term used to describe using a shared communications path by many users.

What are the benefits of SIP?

Put SIP and trunking them together and you have a virtual connection to a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), that leverages an internet connection instead of a traditional telephone line. SIP trunking services deliver integrated access for IP PBX, TDM PBX, or Key System environments. This consolidation of voice and data lines brings significant costs benefits, improved scalability, consolation network management, redundancy and as a foundation for Unified Communication (UC) services. By having voice and data traffic riding over the same transport, bandwidth utilization improves dramatically and improves ROI with fewer capital expenditures needed. Businesses considering SIP trunking services should talk with service providers and VoIP specialists about options, and consider these questions when evaluating different SIP offerings.

1. Who’s the best candidate for SIP trunk services? Call centers, enterprise businesses, and voice and data carriers are optimal candidates for SIP services. SIP Services optimize calling plans that support inbound and outbound calling on the data network. Organizations evaluating SIP need to look at what call flows to include, such as local and toll-free numbers, both pointing to the same SIP trunk. Services also include outbound and premium long distance, Direct Inward Dialing Number (DID) or call center VOIP. Keep in mind that call centers or contact center deployments are often the easiest and quickest to show a return on investment, but they are also the most complicated call flows to validate, for example.

2. How many calls do I expect to run concurrently? If your business has or manages customers with high call volume where several calls are happening simultaneously, several SIP trunks may be needed.  Call volume expected and the broadband internet connection are the two primary considerations for determining the number SIP trunks required. Most experts agree that organizations need roughly one SIP trunk for every two to three users. This will ensure that the system can support several calls happening at the same time.

3. What bandwidth options are best? Because SIP trunking uses the internet rather than traditional telephone lines to deliver voice to PSTN, it’s imperative that organizations have a reliable and robust internet package to ensure voice quality. It’s also critical to select Tier 1 carrier because they provide last-mile access that will support and meet call quality and connectivity requirements. AT&T, for instance, is a trusted Tier 1 carrier that delivers always-on broadband access. For SIP services, AT&T is a preferred provider because devices can access the IP backbone using a Wi-Fi modem or router connected to a broadband network, and it can achieve up to 75 Mbps speeds at a fraction of the cost of traditional T1-based services. Advanced bandwidth management options included in SIP services that can prioritize voice traffic over other types of data packets for immediate transport will deliver enterprise-class voice quality and will optimize the efficiency of the communications infrastructure.

Bandwidth options might include a single T1 connection, DSL, or gigabit ethernet options, for example. Look for SIP services that also leverage an MPLS Network as a foundation for seamless voice and data communications across the business.

4. Can I improve local visibility? SIP trunking options are unique because they support local and virtual telephone numbers. This empowers business to assign virtual telephone from any location to establish a local presence, even when phones are not physically in that calling area.

5. How can I centralize operations? SIP trunking allows for the routing of branch office calls from multiple locations to a preferred centralized location. Ask providers if they deliver branch office IP PBX extensions capabilities.  This means that organizations can use an existing IP data network to distribute calls to branch office sites, without the need for additional hardware.

If your organization relies on enterprise-class VoIP services to keep connected to customers and partners across the US and globe, SIP trunking can consolidate voice and data lines, optimize networks to improve bandwidth utilization, cut costs and improve scalability. Talk to NETRIO today about how SIP trunking services running on AT&T’s trusted IP backbone can help your business meet its goals. Ask about our flexible rate plans and outstanding customer service and IT support team that have helped companies across the country focus on growth and results, instead of connectivity and phone service issues.