Instant business communication is no longer out of reach. Scaling a business while keeping pace with technology is the new challenge. That’s why the stability of the cloud and the benefits of unified communications platforms have made switching to SIP trunking an easier decision.

Market studies forecast a mushrooming $12.7 billion SIP trunking services industry by 2023. But how does this rosy snapshot of the future make your choice to jump on the bandwagon any easier?

Before you turn the corner, you need to demystify your reasons behind the move. For that, let’s understand how SIP trunking costs work and where every penny of future savings can come from.

What Is SIP Trunking?

SIP trunking or session initiation protocol trunking runs your company’s business phones over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. A SIP “session” is just like a regular phone call between two parties, but it can also be a multiparty conference call or even a video call.

The word “trunking” is borrowed from the natural world where multiple branches all attach to a single tree trunk. In SIP trunking, a network of several lines connects to the outside through a central system, i.e., the trunk. Instead of a physical wire, a SIP trunk connects to public phone networks over the internet.

It can be seamlessly merged into most voice over internet protocol (VoIP) or private branch exchange (PBX) systems. Do note that VoIP is an umbrella term of any internet-based telephony system, while SIP is one of the protocols within the VoIP universe. There are other differences between SIP and VoIP, so be sure you understand whether your business needs SIP as a part of its VoIP ecosystem.

Take an average day in any company where employees use phones, email, mobile apps, chat, text and video conferences. As both voice and data run on the cloud, you can customize the VoIP communication system and pay for only what you need. You also don't have to place a huge investment in cabling and hardware, since you can buy additional services as you need them.

The Advantages of SIP Trunking

Several benefits emerge as a result of consolidating voice and data over the cloud, including:

Better call quality: Sending voice data over the internet makes it less susceptible to analog noise, resulting in better call quality

Better scaling: Unlike the wired system, SIP trunking doesn’t use more hardware to scale as the cloud computing service provider does the processing remotely rather than with an in-house setup

More reliable: With wires and cables out of the equation, there is no case of broken lines, noise or analog attenuation. Since SIP trunking uses the internet and the cloud, users can expect to see a giant leap in terms of overall reliability

Elimination of VoIP gateways: With SIP trunking, companies are not required to buy or manage VoIP gateways, as SIP uses an IP address to receive calls rather than separate channels

Anywhere, anytime presence: SIP can make every employee completely mobile. They can choose when and how they would like to be available. For example, if someone is in a business meeting, calls and messages can be forwarded to an assistant. If employees are on a business trip anywhere in the world, calls can be routed to their smartphones

Low maintenance: SIP trunking is primarily adopted to replace hardware communication servers or facilitators with intuitive software options. Hence, the need for maintenance and associated costs are greatly diminished

Multimedia support: Traditional phone systems always had a major disadvantage as they could only transfer voice. With SIP trunking enabled by the cloud, organizations, especially the healthcare sector, can use multimedia features like video calling, conferencing, texts, voicemail and more

Third-party API (application program interface) integration: Unified communications allows the integration of apps such as Zendesk, NetSuite and Salesforce for collaboration and market analytics

Customer care: Companies can now opt for 24/7 customer service so that they can offer their customers the best service strategy

How Much Will SIP Trunking Cost You?

A business of any size can leverage the benefits of SIP trunking immediately. With multiple SIP trunk providers in the market, the turnaround time to set up a network is minimal. But before you do that, pause and dive into these two questions:

Does your business need SIP trunking?

Your move to SIP trunking and the choice of a provider will depend on business needs. For example, a startup that needs one or two SIP trunks is different from large-scale service businesses (call centers, media companies, customer service companies, etc.) that need a more sophisticated phone system.

Therefore, your research on the best installation method and its cost will depend on the reasons for choosing SIP trunking in the first place. Your company might plan to cut call costs specifically, update a traditional PBX phone or shift to a more mobile and cohesive communication platform for your workforce.

How do you find an affordable SIP trunk provider?

SIP trunk pricing depends on several factors like the vendor you’re using, any setup fees, the equipment required and the monthly service fee. However, keep in mind that if you are switching from a traditional phone system, then you’ll be saving your company money in the long run.

Here are the factors that’ll determine your choice of SIP provider and pricing tier:

1. Overall Setup Fees

Most vendors will charge an initial setup fee for starting the service. This fee will cover things like your initial consultation, installation and testing to ensure everything is operable.

2. Phone Lines Needed

You may or may not require additional phone lines—it depends upon your needs and existing system. If you do require additional phone lines, you’ll be charged on a per-line basis. But this is far cheaper than a traditional PRI (primary rate interface) system where you may need to purchase multiple channels right from the outset.

3. Handsets Needed

For SIP trunking to work, you’ll need an IP-compatible handset. If you upgraded your system in the past, then your existing phone system might be advanced enough. However, if you’re moving from a traditional phone setup, expect to pay more for compatible handsets.

4. Interoperability

Instead of starting from scratch, you might want to find a provider who can offer a system compatible with your existing infrastructure. A good SIP trunk provider can provide interoperability with standard soft switches and IP-PBXs.

Also, note that according to Federal Communication Commission guidelines, your company can retain its old business numbers if you are switching to SIP unless you are also moving to a new geographic location.

5. Security

Secure communications have become a buzzword now. As SIP trunking and cloud telephony work on software, you can expect a foolproof layer of security for your mission-critical business applications. Therefore, it's essential that the SIP trunk service provider you choose is compliant with the latest security standards by default.

For instance, 8x8 provides security compliance certificates for FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act).

6. Additional Features

The price you’ll pay for SIP trunking also depends on any additional features your organization will require. Generally, these will increase the monthly fee you’re paying for the service.

Here are some additional features you might want to consider:

● Video conferencing

● Audio conferencing

● International calling

● Auto attendant

● Call center

● Mobile device forwarding

● Internet fax

● Enhanced 911

● Ongoing service fees

After the initial setup is finished, you’ll have an ongoing monthly service fee, which will be affected by any additional services you’ve chosen to install as well. Overall, SIP trunk pricing will depend upon the size of your system, handset requirements, along with any additional features you require. Settle for a solution that offers transparent pricing and clear service level specifications.

An overlooked aspect of choosing software-based solutions is simplicity. Complexity adds unforeseen costs. Installation and maintenance should be easy while the use of any communication device on the network should have the plug-and-play ease that we are used to in all our modern appliances.

Calculate Your SIP Trunking Cost Savings

Put some thought into determining the quality and quantity of your SIP trunking needs. If you have a smaller business, a back-of-the-envelope calculation can help you find baseline SIP trunking cost savings from the simultaneous calls you receive today. A larger business will need more expert guidance.

Most vendors provide this initial consultation as part of their introduction and follow it up with installation and testing to ensure everything is working.

Save and Grow With SIP Solutions from 8x8

Choosing the right technology is crucial to a growing business. 8x8 can work with you to address your company's needs, no matter its size or situation.

If you have an idea of your needs or just want to explore your options, walk through this 8x8 ROI calculator. This 60-second ROI calculator will give you an insight into how much your organization can potentially save by moving to a solution provided by 8x8.

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.

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