Easy SIP Trunking – Simple Calling with Security, and BackupPosted on: 2017-01-31 | Categories: SIP
The terms SIP trunking or hosted VoIP will be familiar to most people working in the telecom industry. But not all of us are familiar with the technology. If you or your business is interested in upgrading to VoIP, then you would have come across these terms and wondered what they meant. You can find many articles praising the benefits of SIP trunking or VoIP technology but very few will tell you exactly what the terms mean.
What is VoIP?
It can be a bit easier to understand VoIP if we consider their equivalents in the analog world. VoIP is a service like the dial tone that businesses pay for. The difference in technology arises because they do not transmit voice calls through dedicated, physical copper wire. Instead calls are routed over your existing data network and the Internet.
What Is SIP Trunking?
SIP refers to the Session Initiation Protocol that is used to implement VoIP service. There are other protocols and formats but SIP is the most popular one. SIP trunks are similar (conceptually) to the more traditional ISDN or PBX lines that enterprises purchase from phone operators.
Here again there is a difference. ISDN trunks are a bundle of physical wires connecting the business to the carrier’s infrastructure. SIP trunks are virtual trunks i.e. they don’t have any physical wires. However the terminology is still used today to refer to the connection between the organization and the Internet telephony service provider.
Easy SIP Trunking
When SIP trunks first made an appearance in the business world, it was not an easy task to deploy the system within a company. Deploying SIP trunking was almost as complex as setting up traditional PBX systems. Many organizations preferred purchasing hosted VoIP services from an external vendor because it was easier to setup and use.
But SIP trunks have come a long way since then. Now there are many vendors who offer easy SIP trunking as a service. Clients can access an online dashboard to modify their service when their requirements change. You can add or remove channels depending on call volume and pay only for what you use. In many cases, SIP trunking has become just as easy to use as hosted VoIP services.
However it is important to remember that not all SIP trunking services are equal. Your experience upgrading to SIP trunks will depend on the complexity of your requirements, the quality of service from your vendor and the customer support they offer. There are a few aspects you should remember to make sure your deployment does not run into issues later on.
Business Continuity and Backup Features
Voice is a critical service for every business. Imagine what would happen if your phones suddenly stopped working for a few hours or even a few days. The situation can easily happen in case of natural disasters or other emergencies. Your SIP trunks and other hardware like IP phones have power and data requirements. If either of these are not available, your phones will become useless.
Not all SIP trunk providers offer business continuity features. So make sure to select a vendor that does. If something should happen to your office or on premise equipment, you should be able to read out calls to alternate numbers in another location. Ask the provider if they offer automatic failover procedures for such situations. Making sure that there are alternate power sources for your equipment is also a good precaution to take.
SIP Trunking Security
SIP trunks out your calls over data networks instead of dedicated wires. This evolution brings with it all the advantages and disadvantages of transmitting data over the Internet. The security of your SIP trunks is a serious issue but it does not receive as much attention as it should. Business phone systems are an attractive target for malicious entities like hackers or even rogue nationstates.
Many organizations do not separate their voice traffic and other data – everything uses the same network. So if a hacker is able to penetrate or compromise the phones, they may be able to access confidential information residing on other computers.
You should work with your vendor to make sure both organizations are taking adequate measures for security. Your phone system is vulnerable at many points and not all of them will be under your control. Using various tools like encryption will go a long way in discouraging illegal or unauthorized activity.
Most SIP trunking providers do not have contracts. It means that you don’t have to stick with one vendor regardless of the quality of service. Since these trunks use the SIP protocol, you can easily switch to a competitor without any issues. Competition in the VoIP industry is forcing vendors to innovate faster and add more features to their service. It is a great time to upgrade to SIP trunks for any business!