8 August 2018

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Need a SIP Trunk? Here are 5 Things to Consider First

Business Phone Service by Tom Collins

Organizations are making the switch to cloud-based communication tools for better security, reliability, and cost-savings. According to one recent study, an estimated 62% of businesses have made the switch to SIP trunking. With a Unified Communications vendor, organizations who adopt SIP trunking can unlock a standard set of protocols for cloud-based business phone and multimedia data exchange.

For many organizations, the benefits of switching to a SIP trunk over alternatives such as PRI phone lines are clear. However, the path to finding the right provider and achieving a seamless implementation of cloud-based business phones can be more complex. How do you ensure satisfaction and quality of service once your new business phones are live?

In this post, you’ll learn some important factors to consider before you choose a vendor for a hosted SIP Trunk, how to make a business case to your boss, and more.

SIP Trunk Guide: 5 Things to Consider

With a cloud vendor for SIP trunk services, your organization’s initial investment is minimal. However, any technology-based change in a business setting should still be approached with caution. While SIP is simply a lightweight set of protocols delivered via a SIP trunk provider, you may be in the position of needing to demonstrate potential business benefits, or consider equipment compatibility to ensure a smooth implementation. The following factors represent 5 things organizations should consider before selecting SIP Trunk technology or vendor partnerships.

Consideration #1: Do You Need to Build a Business Case for Decision-Makers?

For many IT pros, the business case for a SIP trunk begins and ends with the potential cost-savings associated with hosted cloud communications. According to one research report, an average business stands to save 50% each month with a switch to SIP. However, your company could save much more if your business performs a high volume of international or long-distance calling.

While SIP trunks are a well-established technology, they could still represent risk in the mind of business decision-makers at your organization. If you’re trying to win buy-in for this new technology initiative, some additional benefits to demonstrate could include:

  1. Immediate ROI
    The cost of installing VoIP and switching to a SIP trunk is much lower than the physical installation of analog phone lines, which can enable organizations to realize immediate ROI.
  2. Mobility
    With the right SIP trunk partnership, your organization can unlock seamless mobility, including user-friendly mobile apps for employee collaboration and global communications.
  3. Reliability
    The right vendor can enable your organization to reduce downtime risks and access built-in redundancy, a service-level agreement (SLA), better quality-of-service (QoS), and exceptional customer support.
  4. Flexibility
    SIP trunk technology offers the operational and strategic advantage of immediate scalability, including the real-time ability to add and subtract phone lines and features on an as-needed basis.
  5. Improved Security
    While business decision-makers may fear that IP phones are an information security risk, SIP trunking can be more secure than analog phone lines. Your security is likely to improve with vendor-provided security measures such as fiber Internet, firewalls, proactive monitoring, and effective governance.

For more insight into building a business case around SIP Trunk adoption, look into SIP Phone Service: 10 Things You Need to Know.

Consideration #2: Are You Investing in Unified Communications?

Is your organization hoping to make the immediate switch to Unified Communications, and add features such as integrated call center, integrated messaging, video conferencing, and other rich multimedia features? Regardless of where you fall on the Unified Communications adoption spectrum--whether you’re ready for immediate adoption or simply hoping to immediately unlock the benefits of IP phones--it’s important to know that SIP can support multimedia communications.

Unlike SIP alternatives such as PRI, a SIP trunk has the ability to support the transmission of many different media types, including text messages, file-sharing, desktop sharing, video conferencing, and other rich, multimedia business communications. As an open standard, SIP can be integrated and scaled with relative ease and low costs.

If your organization is considering a move to Unified Communications in the next few years, investment in a SIP trunk partnership is a smart move for the immediate term. With the right vendor, your organization can add Unified Communications features and capabilities as your budget allows. Unlike other approaches to business communications, a SIP trunk is not a limiting technology which can only support voice communications. Instead, it’s a smart investment in the future which can scale and evolve as your tech roadmap changes.

To learn more about how SIP offers a multimedia advantage over alternatives, we recommend IP Trunking vs. SIP Trunking: What’s the Difference and Which is Best?

Consideration #3: Will You Be Maintaining Any Traditional Phone Lines?

For most organizations, making a full switch to SIP trunk-based telephony is the right choice for business communications from the perspective of cost savings, call quality, and employee satisfaction. However, some organizations may need to maintain a few analog, or traditional phone lines while carrying the majority of their business phones over a SIP trunk.

The right SIP trunk provider can guide you through the process of understanding your needs when it comes to evaluating the right mix of SIP and analog phone lines post-implementation. Some of the most common reasons organizations choose to maintain a small number of traditional phone lines post SIP-implementation include technologies such as fax machines, elevators, and alarm systems which are most compatible with traditional phones. Ideally, your SIP trunk provider will have the capacity to support a hybrid implementation of SIP and analog phone lines if needed.

Consideration #4: How Much Bandwidth Will You Need?

With IP-based phone service, securing sufficient bandwidth is critical to quality of service (QoS). But how much bandwidth does your organization need? Ultimately, your organization’s bandwidth demands are going to increase with the switch to a SIP Trunk.

Bandwidth requirements can vary significantly between organizations, but also vary drastically depending on the company and how users interact with bandwidth within the organization. The right SIP trunk provider can support your firm through the process of evaluating your bandwidth needs to ensure your company’s call quality and data needs aren’t compromised during your switch to a SIP trunk.

At a very high level, bandwidth needs are generally calculated using an equation which resembles the following:

Numbers of users (x) Usage = Bandwidth Needed

 

Are We Heavy Bandwidth Users?

Your organization may qualify as heavy users of bandwidth prior to the adoption of a SIP Trunk if you are engaged in the following:

  • Heavy use of cloud apps and services
  • Video Conferencing
  • Streaming, downloading or uploading media
  • Internally hosting public-facing web servers
  • Allow employees to use social media

Will You Be Getting Your SIP Trunk and Internet Bandwidth from the Same Provider?

Just as importantly, you may have an opportunity to develop a partnership with a SIP trunk provider who offers fiber Internet service. This will give your organization the opportunity to cut expenses through bundling, but it will also provide the benefits of simpler troubleshooting, better network transparency, and voice data prioritization.

Perhaps most importantly, with a business-only vendor for both SIP trunk and data services, your organization won’t need to share Internet resources with residential customers--which can lead to a drastic drop in service quality during periods of peak demand for internet bandwidth, security risks, and other issues.

To learn more, we recommend 7 Reasons Unified Communications as a Service on Public Internet is Risky.

Consideration #5: Does the Provider Offer Equipment? Is it Compatible?

Switching to a SIP trunk means your organization will no longer be dependent on the local phone company for lengthy installation times, or wrapped up in costly hardware investments in PRI phone technology.

One of the advantages of SIP trunk technology is the technological simplicity. While this simplicity supports cost-savings, there is some potential for issues if your phones are not compatible. Luckily, these compatibility issues can be addressed during the discovery phase, and have become less common as manufacturers are standardizing how to deliver SIP.

The most effective way to avoid SIP trunk compatibility issues is to actively seek a SIP trunk provider who can support your organization through the process of selecting and purchasing equipment. If needed, the right partner can even guide your company to purchase a SIP-based edge device to combat compatibility issues.

For more insight, check out SIP Trunking Compatibility Issues: What You Need to Know.

Maximizing Your Investment in a SIP Trunk

Any technology-based change in business is best approached with caution. While SIP trunks are a well-established, low-risk technology, finding the right vendor partnership is critical to ensuring a smooth implementation and long-term satisfaction with your investment. Before you select a SIP trunk provider, you may also be facing the challenges of making a business case to your boss, considering equipment compatibility, evaluating adoption of UCaaS, and ensuring you have sufficient bandwidth.

To drive the most value possible with your new investment in a SIP trunk, we’ve developed an end-to-end crash course in everything you need to know. Download the free Atlantech guide: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Phone Service for Your Business. 





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.

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