SIP trunk – Do’s and Don’ts

Posted on: 2016-11-25 | Categories: SIP

SIP trunks are gaining popularity among certain organizations, specifically those that have the resources and expertise to manage on premise systems. Hosted VoIP offers many benefits but some companies prefer the flexibility and customization of SIP trunking.

Deploying SIP trunks for an organization – especially a large one – is a time-consuming project and you will have to make many decisions related to equipment, implementation, training etc. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind when deploying SIP trunks in your organization:

Consider Your Requirements First

VoIP and SIP trunks are relatively new technology (compared to say computers or email) and vendors like to build up hype around their services. But it is important that you don’t get carried away and purchase the first system you happen to see. You don’t want to overpay for stuff that you will ever use and neither do you want to get stuck with a system that cannot grow with your business.

One strategy to avoid all the marketing and advertising hype is to make a list of your requirements, needs and must have features. Do this even before you invite bids from vendors or check their websites. The perspective should be “how can SIP trunks solve this issue that I have?” rather than “how can I use this brand new feature?”

Calculate ALL Your Costs

There are different types of costs involved with SIP trunks. You will have upfront costs which often include capital investment and running costs that will recur every few weeks or months. SIP trunks are cheaper than hosted VoIP when you look at the long term perspective but that doesn’t mean you will not get monthly bills from your provider. You should never be shocked by your bill, regardless of call volume or other variables.

Discuss with the vendor beforehand what sort of fees, taxes and other charges you can reasonably expect. Some vendors will bill you exorbitant rates if you go over a certain threshold or an employee makes a call to a country that is not included in your plan. Beware of such terms and conditions before selecting any service.

Do Your SIP Trunk Research

If you want to deploy SIP trunks, you don’t have to be an IT professional or industry expert. But on the other hand, you should understand the technology a little bit, at least the basic terms and jargon. Just knowing the basics of SIP trunking will save you from paying for unnecessary services. Even if someone else handles the actual implementation and configuration for the project, you should know what you’re getting into with new technology.

Don’t Sacrifice Quality for Price

This is a mistake that organizations frequently make. They have heard that SIP trunking or hosted VoIP is much cheaper than traditional phone systems and so they want the best possible price. While you should comparison shop and try to negotiate good deals, you do not want to sacrifice voice quality or customer service.

Cutting corners when it comes to purchasing equipment, setting up resources like numbers or lines etc will cause a lot of headaches later on. Cheap hardware may not give you the features you want. Compromising on audio codecs can result in extremely poor quality audio or impair the reliability of the system. Connecting these mistakes down the road is often more expensive than paying for good service upfront.

Don’t Compromise on Security

This is an aspect that doesn’t really to managers at first. You never really worried about the security of your PSTN phone system, so it doesn’t come naturally. But since SIP trunks utilize IP standards and protocols, they can be subject to the same security issues as the rest of your network. These can include toll fraud, DDoS attacks and data loss.

Securing your SIP trunks and voice network is not very difficult but it has to be something that you incorporate into the system from the very beginning. Security cannot be an afterthought, you can’t just install a new piece of software to make your system more secure. Firewalls, SBCs, employee training, rigorous access controls and authentication services are all required for voice network security.

Don’t Ignore Disaster Recovery and Continuity Planning

With SIP trunks, you need both power and Internet for voice communication. It means that your voice network has to be plugged into the backup system that is powering your computers and other network equipment. You may have to upgrade your generator or other alternatives to accommodate the addition of new hardware.

The same goes for Internet access as well. Some organizations purchase Internet services from multiple vendors so that they don’t lose access in case of a disaster. Other companies allow employees to install VoIP softphone applications on their personal mobile devices to ensure business continuity. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t give much thought to continuity planning under their already in the middle of an emergency.

Keep these points in mind when you deploy SIP trunks and start enjoying the benefits of the latest technology.