The list of people who are resisting voice over IP (VoIP) shrinks by the day, but is still a significant barrier to adoption of this amazing technology. The old reasons for not getting SIP trunks are evaporating as bandwidth becomes ever faster and of higher quality. Certainly the days when you backed up a PRI with analog lines are over – you should at a minimum maintain a handful of SIP trunks for backup if your telephone system is at all current and can support it.
SIP Trunks are here to stay
My audience is the skeptic that has doubts or the person in a company resisting moving away from circuit-based phone calls. I hope this list proves handy in your internal discussions, and failing that, it should at least help you can impress your family and friends the next time conversation turns tech.
- You don’t have a disaster recovery plan if you don’t have SIP trunks. Failing over from a PRI to analog lines is battle tested, but really solves just one problem – a carrier outage on your PRI circuit. If your lines are cut in the street, if the local Central Office has an issue, if there is a local disaster, your backup plan has what is called ‘event correlation’ in statistics – that is to say, it won’t protect you. SIP Trunks allow you to point phone calls to a different internet media (wireless, cable, fiber) to avoid a problem with the neighborhood phone network itself. You can point calls to a cloud based telephone system you use for backup, to a Google Voice mailbox, to a phone system in your house, seamlessly, while you figure out the issues at your office. Simply put, SIP enables geographic redundancy without paying for expensive data links between sites.
- Save money right away. Phone lines are not getting any cheaper. SIP Trunks are as cheap as $5 a line and a buck a phone number. For $25 a trunk you can get unlimited US long distance.
- More flexible phone numbers. Get numbers from pretty much any US area code, and even from some of the more forward thinking developed countries. You can also get a US number and point it to a foreign system for overseas connectivity without using clunky Skype connections. Add capacity one call at a time, instead of 23-packs of voice channels with PRI circuits.
- More flexible service and scaling. You can add trunks to an existing account in a matter of a day, and you can scale up and down to suit your needs on many contracts. Many carriers offer a web GUI so you can manage your trunks pretty easily, including forwarding and monitoring, something simply not available with traditional phone lines. And unlike PRI circuits, you can reroute SIP trunks practically on the fly to other phone systems or devices.
- Get ready for the cloud. Putting a phone system in a data center only to hook up a PRI circuit is like putting a premium stereo system in a horse drawn carriage. I have been to data centers where racks are full of telephone systems running on proprietary hardware, connected to PRI circuits. If that is you, you are doing it wrong. Put that phone system on VMware, chuck the servers, and connect SIP trunks. Now, your virtual phone system can get flung around with ease to other VMware clusters without a second thought, and the trunks can follow suit without any human intervention. If you have plans to migrate your phones to the cloud or even are considering moving to VoIP, start by looking into SIP trunks – you can always add a gateway to use new SIP trunks on your old PBX to try it out. Some carriers even provide test trunks, but having to foot the bill for three $5/mo test trunks hopefully does not break the bank. Most SIP trunks are month-to-month anyway though that varies by carrier.
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