Even if you are already using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for your telephone communications, you may not be getting the most out of the technology. By adding a session initiation protocol (SIP) layer on top of VoIP, you can dramatically improve efficiency while saving money.

Here's what you need to know about SIP trunk for business communication and how to find the best unlimited SIP trunk provider:

What's SIP Trunking?

SIP technology treats voice and video calls in the same manner as data. Whether you are making a phone call, retrieving a voicemail, sending an email or video conferencing, SIP technology processes them all as data packets. As a result, there's no additional cost for video conferencing or making long-distance calls over the internet.

Using this protocol and media streaming method, SIP trunk providers deliver telephone services and unified communications features that completely replace traditional business phone lines. This is achieved by setting up a virtual connection to a private branch exchange (PBX) or the public switched telephone network (PSTN) via the internet.

VoIP users can make calls directly to any phone number on the PSTN via a cloud-hosted PBX system, bypassing traditional telephone services (i.e., "landlines").

You can host your PBX on-premises or outsource the hosting to your SIP trunking provider, depending on your needs and preferences. Every time a call is initiated, the SIP trunking technology will:

● Locate the user

● Select the end system for the session

● Learn user availability

● Determine the capability of the end-user system

● Establish a session

● Manage the call session (e.g., transfer, termination, etc.)

Finding the Best SIP Providers

When you're selecting a SIP vendor to augment your VoIP system, carefully consider your business requirements to identify a provider that offers service packages that'll deliver the highest value for your organization.

Here are a few tips to find the best SIP service:

● Outline the most important features you want in a phone service and make a shortlist of providers that meet the criteria

● Prepare questions to ask each vendor when you're speaking with the sales team

● Learn about each vendor's features, how they can benefit your organization and request a demo to see the applications in action

● Ask your team if they have any ideas, preferences, needs, questions or concerns. Various departments often have different priorities so you have to balance those needs across the organization

● Ensure compatibility of the SIP trunking technology with your existing equipment and legacy PBX system to minimize potential implementation issues

● Find out what platforms others in your industry are using and the specific features from those vendors that can benefit your business

● Interact with the customer service team to make sure the level of support meets your expectations. Inquire if a provider offers 24/7 support, multiple support channels, digital troubleshooting tools, etc.

● Review the available features and inquire about a provider's development roadmap to make sure that the platform has the capability to support your projected growth and future expansion

● Evaluate the service's redundancy and reliability. For example, a SIP provider should have a 99.999% uptime, supported by infrastructure and a backup plan that can restore service quickly with minimal interruption in case of an outage

● Inquire about the quality of service (QoS) and look for quantitative measurements of multiple factors that affect call quality such as latency, jitter, packet loss and burstiness

● Review the SLA (service level agreement) to make sure the provider will deliver on the claims that it promises during the sales process. For example, understand the level of support and guaranteed uptime so that you're getting the highest quality service

● Use a vendor that offers SIP 2 SIP trunking, which connects a SIP trunk with others for direct communications. The top SIP 2 SIP trunk vendors offer high-quality VoIP services to minimize downtime, increase scalability, improve voice quality and avoid common functionality issues

How to Select an Unlimited SIP Trunk Provider

Most SIP trunk providers have bundled plans connected to enough trunks to ensure continuous service. However, limited SIP trunk providers offer a set allowance of minutes. You incur an overage charge when you exceed that allowance. On the other hand, an unlimited SIP trunking provider charges one flat fee for all calls regardless of the minutes used.

Here's what you should know when looking for an unlimited SIP trunk provider:

● Work with a company that uses a Tier 1 redundant network, which provides a direct connection to the backbone of the internet. While Tier 2 or Tier 3 networks are often cheaper, they may not have the communications infrastructure sufficient to handle all of your incoming and outgoing network traffic efficiently

● Avoid call quality issues such as jitters and delays by using a vendor that guarantees a less than 1% packet loss and a latency standard of 150 milliseconds or less. Any SIP provider should be able to provide you with their statistics and standards

● Don't be pressured into using your SIP trunk provider as your internet service provider (ISP.) You should be free to use any ISP of your choice and not be locked into doing business with only your SIP provider. While you can consolidate your SIP provider and ISP, it may not be the best solution for your specific needs. The key is to make sure that the combination gives you high-quality and high-speed internet service, which is essential to taking full advantage of SIP technology

The Advantages of Using 8x8 as Your SIP Service Provider

With the support of a reputable provider, switching to SIP trunking will be a seamless experience for your team. They will realize many of the benefits almost immediately, thanks to the ability to leverage unified communications across devices. This proven and reliable technology will also save you money and time.

Here are some of the key benefits:

● Reduced costs for long-distance and international calls. Many of 8x8's plans include unlimited calling to international locations so you can control cost while staying competitive in today's global economy

● A flat monthly fee covers everything you need for your communication needs, including ongoing maintenance and regular feature updates. You can have more financial visibility, plan for your budget and balance your expenses

● Minimal upfront costs and investment in equipment means you can see a significant ROI quickly

● The simple physical infrastructure allows you to add users quickly as your team grows

● Low maintenance requirements mean you don't need to hire a large IT team to manage your communication system, which helps lower overhead costs and boost your bottom line

● Fast and high-quality service delivers top-notch user experience for your team, partners and customers

● Flexible plans allow you to add features as your business grows so you only pay for the capacities you need. As a result, you get the most out of your budget and can scale up or down quickly to meet market demands

● A highly adaptable signaling protocol that can match your systems to ensure seamless implementation

A Cloud-Based Solution for Today's Business Communication Needs

8x8’s cloud-based solutions can handle your business' phone systems while providing integrated and unified communications across platforms and devices, such as desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.

Capabilities such as voice and video calls, meetings and conferencing, team messaging, file sharing, screen sharing, cloud contact center and more allow your team to communicate with each other and with your customers from anywhere with an internet connection.

Here are a few benefits of a cloud-based solution:

● The ability to manage all modes of communication on one platform. It's easy to reference past messages on a single interface to minimize miscommunication, delays and errors

● A single, centralized data source for all your communication logs so you can conduct analysis to improve performance

Seamless integration with popular business applications such as Salesforce, Zendesk, NetSuite and many more via customer-ready APIs (application programming interfaces). Data can be automatically synced in real time across all platforms. This way, your team can manage communication associated with various business operations on a single interface to optimize efficiency and productivity

Security-compliance for HIPAA, SOX, FISMA and more so you can rest assured that your sensitive information is protected at all times

A Cost-Effective Communication System Is the Backbone of Your Business

SIP trunking technology is essential for making sure that your VoIP system is supporting your business's communication needs. It's important to take the time to select a provider that can deliver a high-quality, consistent, scalable and reliable solution with the latest business communication and collaboration features.

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.

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