When businesses start looking for a new phone system, the reasons are as varied as the amount of vendors. Some are looking to expand and their old telephone system is unable to handle the additional lines or extensions. Others experience a catastrophic failure due to circumstances such as lightening or fire. Still others purchase new phone system for features that are needed as a business grows. Among all of these and other reasons, a primary driver for a purchase is cost savings. In today’s world this translates into one seemingly simple feature: SIP.
Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) is a media technology used in telecom and other internet based devices such as IP video camera recording systems for security, gate opening devices, etc. Since it’s inception, SIP has evolved in the telecom world as a way to connect disparate systems, utilize phones on nearly any manufacturers platform, and receive phone lines over an internet connection. In today’s telecom world, we see SIP primarily used for the last two items mentioned; phone lines and connecting devices.
Utilizing SIP phones is a great idea. These VoIP phones are often less expensive than MGCP (another voip protocol) and are generally usable across different platforms. IE: I can use a Grandstream SIP phone on a Asterisk phone system, a ShoreTel, a Cisco, or of course the Grandstream PBX. However, customers should beware as this is not always the case. Many SIP based hosted phone systems in theory can use different phones, but in practice this is not the case as the hosted provider has proprietary software that disallows this. ASK QUESTIONS BEFORE YOU BUY!
A popular SIP phone, as an example, is the Polycom IP5000 which can be used across nearly every phone system which supports SIP including ShoreTel, Avaya, Grandstream, etc.
The second most common use for SIP are SIP trunks. Simply put, this is a technology which allows businesses to utilize their high speed internet connection to also bring them phone service. The SIP trunks replace the old POTS, copper, or PRI lines onsite. These lines are very reliable in today’s market, however, and this is a BIG thing to mention, if your internet connection is bad, slow, or unreliable- your phone service will only exacerbate these problems and your business will suffer. If, however, you have a good connection such as Verizon FiOS or similar service with fast speeds and reliable connectivity, there should not be a problem.
SIP trunks are often cheaper than old phone lines and have less taxes. The average company who is perhaps paying $300 a month for phone service could replace that bill with a $150 SIP trunk package. It is definitely worth looking at.
The SIP protocol will only continue to evolve and grow. In time, we are confident that it will totally supplant digital and other VoIP protocols. Indeed, it is already the most common platform for new phones. Even ShoreTel has replaced their former line with the all SIP ShorePhone IP 400 series. Keep abreast for all the latest information here on our blog.