SIP trunking is becoming more and more popular in our area. There are several benefits of SIP, including possible cost savings over current carrier services. The problem is, there are many factors to consider as well. The best thing you can do if you are looking at replacing your current carrier services, whether PRI, T1 or standard business lines, is talk to someone who understands. Aaron Boyer, Unified Technologies’ Senior Sales Engineer, has created a complex matrix of telecommunications platforms and the feature sets and required hardware needed to make SIP trunking work for you regardless of the type of equipment you have or are considering.
Here are some of the challenges to consider:
1. Not all carriers work with all PBX manufacturers
Each carrier delivers SIP trunks differently. Depending on the equipment you have (or are considering), it’s important to understand what features will work inherently, or at all, and if you may need additional hardware to accept the circuits.
For example, as of this blog date, ShoreTel has native SIP integration for Time Warner Cable and Windstream but requires additional hardware for SIP Trunks from AT&T and Level 3. Each manufacturer of telecom equipment has guidelines for integrating SIP. And they change constantly.
2. Not all carriers are the same.
Some carriers are just easier to work with than others. One company, who already had SIP trunks, decided to order new SIP circuits from another provider. The order was placed but unbeknownst to the company, the hardware was not compatible. They faced a cost of over $8,000.00 to change the hardware and the installation date was in jeopardy thus compromising a planned move date.
3. Not all SIP Providers can get out of area numbers.
One of the attractive features of SIP is the ability to have an out of area number. For example a company in Louisville could have a Chicago area code and number ring directly into their Louisville office.
4. Features vary. Not all carriers have all features.
For example, functionality with Windstream is dependent on the Windstream switch that is being used to support the area where the customer’s business resides.
5. Faxing and Fax Servers may not work with SIP
Faxing is another area of confusion. You need to consider how incoming faxes are received and how outgoing faxes are sent and if compression is allowed. If the SIP provider does support faxing you need to understand how it is being delivered. Does the SIP provider require T.38 fax protocol? Does your PBX require a separate license to allow for T.38 to be used? There are a number of different types of fax servers available, but which ones, if any, will work with SIP and from which carriers is another stumbling block entirely. Some Carrier consultants, including SinglePoint Solutions, recommend not using fax servers over SIP.
6. Long Distance charges including 800 numbers can be billed differently based on carrier.
Each carrier bills differently. Our telecom partners can explain the differences and help you find the right SIP solution for your needs.
According to Mark Minery of SinglePoint Solutions, “Depending on the SIP carrier you can find a significant discount on outbound long distance, but if you’re a heavy inbound long distance user, often SIP trunks carrier a higher per minute rate than a traditional T1. If you’re a primary long distance user averaging 15-20,000 minutes per month it’s often less expensive to use a T1 than to use SIP trunks. It’s best to let us do the analysis.”
7. Not all SIP Carriers can provide E911
If you have multiple locations you must consider E911 limitations. There are ‘workarounds’ and it may require bringing in a standard CO line. At that point you need to make sure your equipment can handle the basic circuit. But it has to be considered during the evaluation.
The bottom line is this: You need to look into SIP trunks for the savings and features your business could gain. But, you should not do it on your own. There are too many variables and ‘gotchas’ to risk it. Do you really want to understand the difference between compressed vs non compressed; G.729 vs G.711; bandwidth calculating, etcetera?
There is no risk if you ask us to help you. We will work with our network consultants to determine the best carrier provider and the equipment, software and/or settings needed with your telecom equipment so you can take full advantage of SIP and everything it has to offer. To schedule a free analysis please call 502-708-3330.