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When it comes to your business voice solution, retro isn’t cool

Still using PBX, a Key System or PRI for your business’s phones? Time to upgrade to SIP trunking. Here’s why.

Woman talking on the phone at a computer

Businesses no longer ask themselves whether they need the internet; they now only ask themselves what kind of internet service they need. That’s because the internet has become as much a necessity as phones have. In fact, as we’ll see, choosing an internet service and choosing a phone system aren’t necessarily separate decisions anymore. And yet, many businesses still use legacy phone systems, including PBX and Key Systems, which can get expensive because the infrastructure requires you to pay for lines that probably aren’t being used during peak hours. They’re also notoriously inflexible with no ability to re-route calls to other locations in case of emergency or office shutdown.

However, one of the most common legacy voice connectivity solutions is primary rate interface (PRI)—the same kind of phone system that became popular back in the ‘90s. That’s when PRI (primary rate interface) phone systems became the standard, offering not only access to the PSTN (public switched telephone network), but also multiple voice connections via just one circuit.

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, however, sends voice communications over the IP network. Why is that better than the legacy methods? Because if offers significant advantages, namely:

Flexibility and cost-effectiveness

To illustrate this, let’s compare SIP trunking to the most popular legacy voice solution, PRI. PRI voice connections are physical. More specifically, they’re copper wires that can be used to create voice channels in increments of 23—and only 23. But what if you need 27 channels? While partial PRIs do exist, they’re hard to find these days and aren’t necessarily cost-effective. Chances are you’ll need to get an additional 23 channels, even though 19 of them will remain unused. Let’s say your business has three locations across Canada. What if you need 15 channels in one location, 30 in the second and 12 in the third? That’s 57 channels you’ll use and 35 you won’t—but will still have to pay for.

Conversely, SIP voice connections are virtual, which means you can add or subtract as many channels as you need at any location for however long you need them—and that’s without the assistance of a technician, which adding PRI connections requires. The ability to control the number of channels you need at any given time reduces the possibility of paying for superfluous connections and is particularly useful if your organization suddenly requires more channels due to seasonal spikes in business or because of a single extraordinary circumstance.

Unified communications

As mentioned, SIP technologies, like SIP trunking, are designed to carry voice, video and instant messaging traffic in real time over IP networks, eliminating the need to manage separate voice and data networks. By consolidating so much of your business’s communication needs in one solution and simplifying your IT infrastructure, you can refocus your IT resources on tasks that more directly benefit your business’s bottom line.

Location independence

With legacy systems, having multiple locations means having to install multiple phone systems, one in each location and sometimes from different providers. But because SIP trunking is all about sending traffic over the internet, you can centralize your organization’s voice communications for greater control and administrative convenience. And even though the system is centralized in one place, SIP trunking allows businesses to acquire local phone numbers, even for regions where they’re not physically located. So, if your business offers a service that’s applicable to anyone in Canada, and you’re concerned certain customers only consider suppliers that have a local area code, SIP trunking eliminates that concern.

This location independence is also useful if a good portion of your employees, or even all of them, work from home—something countless organizations have suddenly had to adapt to with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. This event will likely leave a permanent impression on the business world’s psyche partly because it’s opened many businesses’ eyes to the benefits of having a work-from-home policy and how effective remote collaboration can be all year round, in good times and bad.

Better call clarity and assured privacydepending on your provider 

Some SIP trunking providers can move voice traffic to their network backbone (a method called “backhauling”) using a dedicated private network, such as an EVC (ethernet virtual connection) or PVC (private virtual connection), instead of using the public internet. This results in much greater call clarity and assured privacy. It’s important to note, however, that providers who can do this often charge a premium for it. That’s why determining how your SIP provider will route and manage your business’s voice traffic is important to learn early on.

With the right provider, your internet can carry SIP trunking

As mentioned above, choosing a voice solution and an internet solution can be just one decision, and that’s especially true for SIP trunking. For optimal performance, you need to have enough bandwidth. Typically, it’s thought that a fibre connection is necessary to achieve that kind of bandwidth. But fibre connectivity isn’t a low-cost option, and getting it means your business should have ample reasons for it.

If you have a cable connection to the internet, SIP trunking is possible, but not with every provider. With a Rogers for Business cable connection, you can modernize your voice solution with SIP trunking either via Ethernet over cable or, if you’re a small- or medium-sized business with Rogers Business Internet, you can leverage any unused bandwidth you have with that service. In fact, SIP trunking via Rogers Business Internet is the perfect example of making just one choice for both an internet and a voice solution—you get all the benefits of SIP trunking and an internet solution offering the reliability, security and support a business should expect, including several optional value-added features.

To learn more about SIP trunking, connect with a Rogers for Business representative today.