In a previous post, we discussed how the choice between session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking and a hosted IP phone system typically depends on your existing telephony system. SIP is a signaling protocol that enables seamless communication between devices, and SIP trunking replaces a conventional telephone trunk with VoIP technology that connects a PBX to the Internet.

SIP trunking reduces telecom costs by combining data, voice and video on a single IP connection, which allows for bandwidth optimization and the consolidation of WAN connections. It also enables the use of unified communications and makes it easy to connect remote offices with the main data center.

As a result of the cost savings and ability to integrate multiple services, SIP trunking is becoming the de facto standard for connecting organizations with service provider networks. However, many organizations have run into problems when implementing SIP trunking. In fact, only 17 percent of respondents to the 2014 SIP School Survey said they “never had a problem” when deploying SIP trunking.

The difficulty begins with pricing and provisioning. Many carriers are still using legacy primary rate interface (PRI) pricing even though SIP trunking technology and service structures are very different. Companies are often charged per port or per circuit based upon the functionality they choose, and may be forced to overprovision circuits to get through peak calling times. Provisioning can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to several months for large enterprises.

Those who manage to navigate the choppy waters of pricing and provisioning next must overcome implementation challenges. The biggest concern at the implementation stage is security. When you connect your phone system to the Internet, you provide hackers with a new and valuable target. Unlike legacy telephone trunks, SIP runs on a data network, making it susceptible to cyberattack. This requires the deployment of anti-intrusion software at the provider level and the LAN level. Make sure your SIP provider uses data encryption, monitors the network, and offers fraud management services.

Although there is an SIP standard, not all SIP trunking services implement the standard in the same way, which creates compatibility issues. The three components of an SIP trunking system – an SIP-enabled IP-PBX, a service provider, and an edge device – don’t always play nicely together. Because compatibility with vendor equipment isn’t guaranteed, you need to ask about any possible compatibility issues when choosing an SIP provider and make sure all three components are capable of communicating with one another.

Despite these challenges, it is very possible to implement SIP trunking without constant headaches – especially if you work with an experienced partner. IPC has a team of VoIP experts and partnerships with leading carriers. Let us help you take advantage of the cost savings and advanced capabilities of SIP trunking and make the implementation as simple and stress-free as possible.