The Importance of Knowing How Many Channels in a SIP Trunk

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking allows your business to transform your phone communication process. Instead of having to rely on traditional phone lines you can easily deploy and scale a virtual system.

One of the biggest questions that comes up in relation to SIP is: how many channels in a SIP trunk?

The number of SIP channels required by your business will be determined by how many simultaneous calls your business needs to make at any given time. Below you’ll learn about the basics of SIP trunking, along with the number of channels in a SIP trunk and how this relates to your business needs. 

What Is SIP Trunking?

SIP trunking makes it so business phone systems can operate over a network connection, as opposed to using a traditional phone line. SIP trunking works in correspondence with a VoIP connection, turning your VoIP phone system into a virtual phone network. 

SIP trunking is employed for reasons like:

  1. Cost savings. Traditional phone or PRI networks can be expensive since they deal with actual physical hardware. But, SIP trunking relies upon a virtual connection, so adding more lines or features is very fast and cheap. Plus, you’ll only pay for the number of lines you use, instead of getting locked into larger packages. SIP trunking leads to cost savings across the board.
  2. Easy scalability. Since SIP trunking relies upon a virtual connection, you can add lines and modify your service quickly. You can scale up and down as your business expands, or scale your service up and down during peak seasons. 
  3. Unified communications. SIP trunking allows you to easily transfer calls between multiple business locations. This will help you provide a cohesive experience, even when your business is spread out across the globe. 
  4. Improved reliability. Since SIP trunking relies on a virtual network, there's no single critical point of failure. You'll have multiple different options for call answering and routing if an issue does occur.  

What Are SIP Channels?

Traditional telecommunication systems relied upon physical hardware. A trunk would be wired from your business to your telecom provider of choice. Within each trunk were different channels that could be used for calls. 

Today with SIP channels, this has now evolved into virtual networks. With a SIP trunk, you are utilizing virtual trunks, which then have multiple channels within them. The number of channels you require will depend upon the number of concurrent calls you need to make. Basically, SIP channels can be thought of as telephone lines, where each channel can support a single phone call. 

Number of Channels in a SIP Trunk

There is no set answer for how many channels a SIP trunk. Every provider differs, so this number will change as well. Some providers will only be able to support a few channels, while others will be able to support dozens.

The better question is: How many channels does your business need? 

The number of SIP channels your business requires will depend upon the number of simultaneous calls that will be occurring. If you’re a smaller company, then the percentage of users making calls at the same time will be higher. While the more your company grows, the more this percentage will drop. However, if you have a very large company, then you’ll need to take the total number of calls into account, as well. 

As a baseline number, each SIP trunk will support up to 48 channels. Each channel corresponds to the ability to have a concurrent call. Most providers allow you to add or remove channels at any time. So, you won’t be locked into a number of SIP channels. 

SIP Lines vs SIP Channels

Sometimes you’ll see SIP lines used interchangeably with SIP channels. The terminology means the same thing. The SIP trunk acts as the container, while the SIP channel or line is where the simultaneous calls with travel.

Knowing how SIP channels work in relationship to SIP trunks is important. By understanding your overall call volume and the number of concurrent calls you have at any given time will help you determine how many SIP channels you’ll require.

Most SIP providers will be able to work with you to determine the proper amount of channels. Plus, with the flexibility of a SIP system, you can scale this up or down as your call volumes change.

The Right Channels for Your Business

By understanding the number of channels in a SIP trunk you'll be able to ensure that you can always handle the given call volume. The number of channels offered in a single SIP trunk will depend on your call center provider, while the total number of trunks required depends on the number of concurrent calls your business needs to make. 

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 an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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