Enterprise SIP Trunking: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?
SIP (session initiation protocol) trunking and enterprise trunking go hand in hand. In the same way that the trunk of a tree feeds the individual branches, enterprise trunking for large organizations relies on the underlying technology and protocols of SIP trunking.
When they come together as enterprise SIP trunking, it’s an extremely useful and powerful set of tools to have.
Enterprise SIP trunking has changed communication so radically in the last 20 years that it's hard to remember what communication was like without it. Quietly and incrementally, trunking has been shaping our idea of how, when and where we stay in contact with our consumers and our service providers.
Think back to a Hollywood movie about big city life in the mid-20th century, and sooner or later, you'll see a shot of busy women at a phone exchange connecting walls, plugging and unplugging wires into a giant, flashing switchboard that seemed like the virtual heart of an organization. The physical copper wires that ran through the walls and roofs were literally carrying the calls and connecting companies to the outside world.
When you needed more connections, you added more physical lines. When you hit your maximum and your quality started to falter, you had to either replace your systems or dig more trenches, lay more lines or do whatever it took to increase your capacity to grow. But those days are receding into the distant past. Today, enterprise SIP trunk providers are offering solutions that can be accessed effortlessly with a few clicks of a button.
That image of the ‘50s switchboard still applies. You can run hundreds of lines via an enterprise, and to make them work better, you “trunk” them into a bundle to maximize their efficiency. Enterprises make use of SIP trunking to create a powerful multichannel communication experience that can be scaled quickly and easily and respond to changing market conditions.
Sophisticated, 21st-century organizations have built their communications around the internet and web-enabled systems that are inclusive, can offer everything from voice to video to conferencing, scheduling and much more.
The ability to respond quickly and to scale an enterprise using digital communication and enterprise SIP versus analog hardware of the last century is almost incomparable.
Glossary of Terms
Let’s be very clear about what we’re referring to specifically when we throw about these terms.
● Line: a single connection between two points on a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service
● Trunk: a bundle of lines that operate together
● SIP: the session initiation protocol developed in the 1990s to expand internet-based communications
SIP enterprise trunking is one of a handful of vital core technologies that have made the new normal landscape of business communication possible.
How IP Trunking Is Helping Businesses Grow
A large corporation with branches in various cities, national or global reach and large teams split into various departments is what we think of as an enterprise in today's business language. This is not for your local bodega or specialist retailer.
IP trunking bundles together thousands of lines and runs them via software that provides an intimate level of communication with consumers. Via dashboards, those IP trunks are represented to show the history of the relationship, spending patterns, demographics, marketing info or whatever else it is you need to know in order to better service the customer.
The volume of data shared via SIP and through enterprise trunks is unprecedented and very powerful.
SIP sounds and looks similar to IP (the basic internet protocol which powers the internet), but actually, it stands for session initiation protocol. It was designed in 1996 and standardized three years later with the goal of responding to the expanding needs of internet-based communications.
At the turn of the century, there was a general consensus that relying simply on voice calls was not going to be enough for much longer. Media forms such as interactive video conferencing, messaging, shared calendars and other forms of collaboration and communication would one day soon be as important as voice, and SIP was designed as the protocol that would enable those multimedia communications in the 21st century.
What Is Trunking?
One line to carry all this information will never be able to handle it. Today, when large numbers of phone lines are bundled together to increase capacity, it's known as “trunking” which references the image of a tree with a large, main trunk growing out of the roots of an organization and transporting all the vital information back and forth. The tree then splits off into and feeds the various branches, each of which has its own character but is still connected to the whole.
Trunks, or bundles of phone lines, allow for the free flow of communications across networks and the internet. Trunking refers to how an organization's internet phone systems are connected, both internally and to the public phone network.
With the right capacity, trunking via SIP lets enterprises stay connected 24 hours a day and create a healthy level of redundant communications infrastructure in case there is a need to scale up or down quickly.
SIP Enterprise Trunking
SIP enterprise trunking refers to the deep underlying communications protocol that connects all our desktops, laptops, mobile devices and apps and, in so doing, powers large, diverse organizations with sophisticated communications systems. The effect of this groundbreaking technology is to facilitate internal communications in an enterprise as well as connect it to the outside world.
Scalability is everything with IP trunking. SIP services are extremely useful for companies without a global, distributed workforce who just need a communications pipeline running throughout their location that they can use to make their whole operation run smoothly at a far lower cost than ever before.
Differences Between SIP and VoIP Trunking
People often tend to conflate the two terms because they sound the same, and it feels like they are referring to the same thing, but actually, they are quite distinct.
Think of SIP enterprise trunking services as the raw connectivity, just like running utilities such as electricity to a building. VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol—the manner in which voice information is converted to data and transmitted over data lines, such as fiber optic internet connections.
Naturally, they are related, but VoIP refers to only one aspect—carrying of voice services over the internet—of what SIP offers. SIP is the starting block, the dial tone, upon which all other united communications services, including VoIP, are built.
VoIP is often synonymous with unified communications, or hosted services that take a calling plan and add numerous features, such as a cloud-based virtual call center. SIP trunking, on the other hand, is the underlying technology behind these communications abilities.
How to Choose Enterprise SIP Trunk Providers
The most important factor in choosing a provider is to deeply understand how you want to communicate, internally and externally. From WhatsApp to Facebook, video conferencing to Skype and Salesforce, once you know how you plan to go forward, you can choose a provider that offers the UCaaS (unified communications as a service) system that you need to operate.
The promise and potential of SIP come alive with UCaaS. Think of a video conference call between the head office in New York and branches in Mumbai, Singapore and Nairobi. Picture the call center where hundreds of employees are working off the same dashboards, using the same calendar to schedule activities and routing calls seamlessly to the right people.
Or how about a system that routes your most important calls onto your mobile when you are out in the field? These are all aspects of a unified communications system that is built upon SIP enterprise trunking.
The beauty and elegance of enterprise trunking is the way it looks and behaves like one large network. Most users have no idea about how sophisticated the back-office systems are that make their lives so simple.
When you’re selecting a provider, find an organization that lets you connect a PBX (private branch exchange) to the public phone service network and begin making phone calls through SIP trunking. Then you could add redundant trunks to provide the added infrastructure to which you can reroute traffic. You can also connect several locations and networks as if they were a single network under one roof. It's all doable and needs to be flexible for teams and administrators to adjust to market conditions.
With the higher call volumes and unique communications needs of larger enterprises, enterprise trunking provides added bandwidth and improved functionality.
Why 8x8 Is a Better Choice for IP Trunking / Enterprise Trunking
With the right contact center or enterprise trunking service technology from an enterprise SIP trunk provider like 8x8, your organization can provide superior customer service and internal communications that let you collaborate in fresh and effective ways. Inside the organization, you will find ways to improve your organization's productivity, eliminate unhelpful silos and find new ways to reach customers.
Remember that it's not just one-way traffic. A SIP enterprise trunking platform provides continuous feedback to its users via sophisticated analytics dashboards and performance appraisal reports. Not only does 8x8 offer you the ability to communicate with consumers, but it offers a real-time appraisal of how effective that communication was and what the history was to that point of contact.
It's incredibly powerful and has transformed what we think of as possible in the communication space. Take the first step and find out what 8x8 can do for you.
Choosing the right technology is crucial to a growing business. Take the uncertainty out of the equation by choosing a SIP technology provider that can scale to meet your business' needs whatever they may be at any given time. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out the form below to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.