Phones in Today’s Office Environment
In today’s businesses more and more offices are making the move from traditional phone lines to a type of internet phone system. This allows users to have more lines and more control over how their phone system is set up. A SIP trunk is one such system and is a connection between your phone lines and your internet telephone service provider (ITSP). You may ask yourself, how does this newer system work and why is it a better option for your business?
What is SIP Trunking?
SIP trunking is digital alternative to traditional wire and cable methods of managing multiple phone lines. It is an internet-based technology that works with your existing IT and networking infrastructure. A SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunk allows the internet to speak to the traditional phone system and connects users from around the world.
As a web-based technology a degree of care is needed when setting up and operating the phone system. Essentials like voicemail, auto attendant, caller ID and call recording are all features of this new type of phone system without all the up charges a traditional phone line would charge you. Local phone numbers are available. And users can edit their own individual phone preferences. Other features of this system include managing call menus, add and editing users, extensions, call recordings and virtual fax.
Advantages of SIP Trunking
Users can be connected to parties over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The PSTN is a world network of cables, switches, exchanges, and anything else that makes up the telephone network. The PSTN is the system that directs your calls to the correct recipient. Think of the operators of the early days of the telephone, but now it’s a system instead of a person.
For many businesses with more employees, a private branch exchange (PBX) may be required. This gives the users more connections to work with and gives more control to managing phone calls. The PBX connect the internet phone lines to the PSTN so that all parties can be connected to one another when necessary. This connection is called a trunk. Users can determine how many lines they will need and make changes as things evolve over time.
Differences in VoIP and Traditional Telephony Systems
One of the most obvious differences is the cabling requirements of each type of communication. A traditional phone system uses analog cables, which can be costly to install, and can only carry one signal at a time. An analog cable also has problems with signal degradation over any distance. New analog connections to the PSTN are just not being installed much anymore as they are being slowly phased out.
For a Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP) system, digital or T1 cables are more ideal. The T1 cables can get up to 23 channels per cable. These channels are virtual lines, or logically distinct pathways even though they are all run over the same physical cable. While this offers many more options for users, it is also expensive and can make moving a costly venture since new digital or T1 cables must be ran for the system to continue to function in a new location.
How does it work?
You may wonder, do I have to have the more expensive lines to use this system? Can’t I just send my voice calls over the internet I already have? Well, yes you can do that, by using SIP trunking. Instead of going through traditional phone cables, the signal will be sent over the internet connection to your Internet telephone service provider (ITSP).
This is a faster system because ethernet cables can send and receive much more data than traditional phone lines or T1 cables. The T1 cables can send voice and data much faster than traditional analog lines, at a maximum bandwidth of 1.5Mbps. Ethernet cables can send data, and a lot more of it than T1 cables. Now voice can be transformed into data to allow it to travel over ethernet cables. Ethernet cables to day can run much faster than T1 cables, anywhere from 100Mbps to over 10Gbps. One thing to consider is the bandwidth of the service you have. Ensure that it is enough to run the system you choose as well as anything else you need the internet for.
Once customers get an IP PBX, or a phone that speaks internet, they can then manage all calls from one location by a single device. Many choose a hosted PBX and pay a small monthly fee, but it still comes out cheaper than the same number of traditional lines would cost. Companies like Broadvoice, which is our choice for our office, offer services and support to keep your calls coming in clear and can provide as many lines as the user needs.
Advantages of SIP Trunking
Cost is a large factor in choosing SIP trunking for your telephone needs. It is more scalable that traditional lines and can be used on your existing high speed internet connection. By using the PBX system and SIP the user can purchase direct inward dialing (DID) numbers for a fraction of the costs, since maintenance and hardware fees are no longer an issue.
Users can also install a firewall to protect their internet system from hackers and they should also register their numbers with the Enhanced 911 (E911) system to make finding your business in an emergency easier for first responders. Users can also adjust their own Quality of Service (QoS) settings to privilege voice or other time-sensitive data, so they have a good quality signal for each call or data transmission.
There will come a time when traditional phone lines will no longer be used at all, but that is far in the future as many in rural, lower-income areas, and countries still rely on the older systems. To keep everyone in touch, the system must work with all the different kinds of service providers, both analog and digital. In the meantime, those that can are already switching to the better option of internet phone systems. SIP trunking is ideal for businesses that rely on phone service for their business’s livelihood.
Knowing the needs of your business and what you may need to grow in the future can help when deciding what type of phone system your business needs. An initial investment can give you a phone system that will grow with your business, as well as options to add more lines later as needed. Being in control of your business’s phone system is a valuable tool for modern businesses.