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SIP Trunks Find a Niche


Although not the first VoIP trunking technology available to small-to-midsize companies, SIP trunking may be the first to have a widespread impact on phone communications for these enterprises. By enabling businesses to place calls over the Internet using any number of SIP-enabled carriers, these enterprises are no longer limited to their local telco, thereby increasing market competition and driving down costs.

Voice service providers and equipment manufacturers are striving to roll out products and services that more thoroughly conform to SIP. Asterisk, Avaya, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks are actively improving hardware or software solutions to be universally SIP trunk-compliant, and VSPs ranging from small companies such as to telco giants like Verizon are providing corresponding SIP services.

Having already taken hold in the less technically demanding residential market, SIP trunks have proven their ability to perform to customer needs. At the current rate manufacturers and service providers are improving SIP compliance and QoS levels, this technology will establish a major small-business presence in the next few years.

When our company first considered SIP trunking as a voice connection to the PSTN, we were advised against it by various VAR representatives, many of whom asked, "Do you want to spend your time running your business or fixing your phones?"

Despite the warnings, we pursued SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking in the hope it could offer benefits and cost savings to a small company like ours. Having used Vonage service to run my business out of my college apartment, I believed SIP-based VoIP service offered tremendous value, scalability and flexibility that could be useful for our expanding business.

There are indeed benefits to be had for small companies, such as fixed cost and easy scalability. But the obstacles to SIP trunking can be formidable. The SIP standard hasn't been around long enough to be universally accepted. And even if a hardware company or VSP (voice service provider) claims it supports SIP, out-of-the-box performance isn't guaranteed. Working through implementation problems can be time-consuming, so it's essential to educate yourself about the potential pitfalls.

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