shutterstock_373693951smAs more and more businesses are adopting unified communications (UC) services to handle their data, voice, and other messaging needs, they are faced with a decision over whether or not to also make the jump to Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking. It’s a question that arises naturally once the decision has been made to move to UC — after all, why maintain legacy time-division multiplexing (TDM) hardware and convert to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) down the line when all data can be consolidated from the start?

SIP trunking is a VoIP protocol that replaces TDM. Among its many benefits is its ability to simplify the hardware involved in implementing a UC solution, as multiple sets of wires are not necessary to carry voice and data. It also adds functionality in the form of video capabilities that just aren’t possible on legacy voice networks. Also worth noting is that the majority of phone carriers are already using IP telephony for most long-distance traffic.

Things to Consider When Implementing SIP Trunking

Before beginning the implementation process, a thorough infrastructure audit is a logical first step. Moving to SIP trunking generally results in a significant increase in traffic over the network, and a network that isn’t up to the increased data flow can hobble things out of the gate.

Certain elements of infrastructure hardware will need to be upgraded. The private branch exchange (PBX) will need to be SIP-enabled. There are several methods of achieving this, but some businesses choose to simply migrate to a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution that includes PBX functionality. If desk phones are not IP enabled, they may need to be replaced, though there are apps that allow a mobile device to handle SIP-based calls.

Finally, the addition of a good session border controller (SBC) is crucial. An SBC is often considered to be a sort of firewall for a SIP network, and in addition to its very important security functions, it also acts as an interpreter between a number of different implementations of SIP that don’t natively interoperate with each other.

Now Is the Time

For companies thinking about a move to UC or just considering replacing their legacy voice network with VoIP, there has never been a better time to make the switch. SIP trunking and IP telephony are now well-established technologies, and the early kinks and growing pains have all been worked out.

SIP trunking has proven itself a reliable technology with a long future ahead. There are also enough players in the field that the cost of services and equipment have come down considerably. Businesses looking to make the switch now have a wide array of equipment options and provider choices.