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

Still using 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 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.

Now, VoIP (Voice over internet Protocol) presents businesses with another option. VoIP is enabled via SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, a technology that sends voice communications over the internet to the PSTN. Why is that better than the legacy PRI method? Because if offers significant advantages, namely:

Flexibility and cost-effectiveness

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

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 PRI, 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 crisis. 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.

As exciting as all these benefits are, it’s important to remember that SIP trunking requires a business-grade internet connection, preferably a fibre connection. Consider how significant the above benefits will be for your business and whether fibre connectivity can benefit your business in other ways. SIP trunking could be just the beginning of optimizing the way your business operates.

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