SIP trunk is a type of protocol used for VoIP, although the relationship between the two has often been confused. In this article, we’ll take a close look at what exactly SIP is, what SIP trunks are, and what the associated benefits and limitations might be for businesses.

As we will see, SIP trunks provide a robust, scalable, and secure protocol for voice and other communications, which is one reason why many best VoIP providers choose to use this protocol.


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What is SIP?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and is a popular method for sending and receiving communication data over the Internet, including voice and video calls. It is used to establish, maintain and terminate calls in VoIP applications. For example, services like Skype and Zoom that allow you to call another user or even a regular phone line on the Internet use SIP to make this possible.

A common question among businesses looking for the best way to unify communications and reduce costs is the differences between SIP and VoIP, but this is actually a flawed comparison. SIP and VoIP are not two separate protocols to compare. On the contrary, SIP is just one of the many protocols that VoIP providers use to handle calls.

A “trunk” is a technical term in telephony that refers to a set of telephone lines, although the definition has now broadened to include virtual connections such as those used by SIP.

SIP trunks replace the copper wire that physically connects machines over a traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN), instead sending information digitally over the Internet. In other words, SIP trunks allow businesses to send voice information and other communications over the Internet, both internally and externally.

SIP trunks can also carry text messages, email, and even Internet access and, for this reason, are often used in Unified Communications (UC).

Centralized or decentralized SIP junctions

There are two basic methods of deploying SIP trunks: centralized and decentralized. In a centralized approach, all calls are directed to a single hub (a company’s headquarters, for example) and then routed internally to different locations as needed. The advantage is to have a single and unified system between several locations.

In decentralized SIP links, each site or service has its own SIP link and manages calls independently. Although it is more expensive, it is also more robust, as the loss of service on a single SIP trunk will not bring down the entire network.

How can your business benefit from SIP trunks?

There are several ways a business can benefit from SIP.

SIP, and VoIP in general, are generally much cheaper than traditional telephony. Because data travels over the internet, you no longer have to pay per call (much like how you don’t pay via email or instant message), and long distance calls are much cheaper because they are basically treated as local calls. . Also, you only have to pay for an internet connection rather than internet and (physical) phone lines.

SIP trunks are also available in smaller denominations than traditional telephone lines, whose trunks are usually offered in groups of 12. In the past, if you needed 14 trunks, you had to pay 24. SIP trunks are often sold in smaller packs, or even individually.

SIP providers allow businesses to unify many of their communications: email, text messaging, voice and video chat, voicemail, digital fax, and more. In general, SIP and other UC platforms offer a simpler and cheaper solution for internal and external communications, with a quick return on investment.

man in the office during a phone call

SIP can help you unify office communications. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

SIP trunks can be built with the same encryptions used for other Internet protocols, such as TLS, which greatly improves the security of voice and other communications. This type of encryption is not possible on traditional telephone lines.

SIP and VoIP are also more resilient to disasters, both natural and technical. Redundancy, backup and backup systems, call forwarding, and operation of decentralized SIP trunks all reduce the risk of your business facing significant downtime.

An unlimited number of channels (incoming or outgoing calls) can pass through each SIP trunk; the only limitation is the bandwidth. As a result, it is much easier (and cheaper) to scale communications using SIP or other VoIP solutions than with traditional phone lines.

It also translates to greater agility, as a business can scale during communication peaks and then decline afterward.

Since audio, video, and other information are transmitted over the Internet, SIP trunking offers a more flexible means of communication for employees who choose to use their own devices (BYOD) or work from home. Part-time and full-time teleworkers can be managed much more easily than with traditional phone lines.

SIP trunks make it easy to provide local numbers around the world, even if you have a single location or PBX, providing a more comfortable experience for your customers than 800 numbers. It is also a much cheaper solution.

SIP trunking also makes it easier and faster to redirect calls, a process that can be automated for an even smoother customer experience.

What are the limits of SIP trunks

google dinosaur game screenshot

A downside of SIP is that if your internet connection goes down, so do your phones. (Image credit: Google)

There are some limitations associated with SIP trunks compared to other protocols and traditional telephony.

First, because all of your communications are now internet based, if there is a problem with your internet connection, your phone lines will also be cut. The same goes for general power outages. That being said, VoIP and UC providers offer many solutions, such as rerouting calls to mobile devices or other offices, which is more difficult with traditional lines.

There are also some security concerns that businesses should be aware of. While, as mentioned earlier, SIP trunks can be encrypted in a way that traditional phone lines cannot, if a hacker gains access to your servers, they will also gain access to your communications.

However, VoIP and UC as a Service (UCaaS) providers often use robust cybersecurity solutions, and it is wrong to say that SIP trunks are more vulnerable than other solutions. In general, they are a safer solution. Just know that vulnerabilities exist and should be taken into account.

Finally, as your messages and calls are now going through the Internet, you will need to make sure you have sufficient bandwidth, and you may need to opt for a more expensive plan (although, in the end, it will always be cheaper than the Internet. traditional telephony).

Conclusion

SIP trunks provide a flexible, inexpensive and reliable alternative to traditional telephone lines and can be used as part of a robust VoIP or UC approach for internal and external communications. SIP trunk reduces the cost per call, especially long distance calls, and provides a single platform for audio, video and other communications.

Despite some limitations, SIP trunking is a method employed by many of the top VoIP providers and offers many benefits to businesses that choose to use this protocol.

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