IP Trunking vs SIP Trunking: The Best Solution for your Business

A common question for some businesses that are considering migrating from a legacy phone system to a modern communications solution is the difference between “IP trunking” and “SIP trunking.” While this question combines two central ideas in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, the short answer is that these two concepts cannot be compared as both use internet protocol (IP) as a means to enable voice calls.

Although the two concepts are closed related, and one is not better than the other, a discussion about what these two terms mean is helpful for businesses looking to leverage technological innovation to improve and consolidate enterprise communications. A more accurate comparison may involve VoIP vs. SIP trunking when the use case of each technology is applied and explored in further detail.

What is IP Trunking?

IP, as in VoIP, stands for Internet Protocol—the manner in which voice information is converted to data and transmitted over data lines, such as fiber optic internet connections. IP provides several rules for assigning host addresses to links. In simplest terms, think of it as the rules of the road for data traffic.

Trunking is a related concept that involves sharing multiple lines or frequencies to enable efficient data communications. The term borrows from the imagery of a tree, with one trunk and several branches.

Is SIP Trunking Different?

SIP sounds and looks similar to IP, but it stands for Session Initiation Protocol. SIP is one type of communications protocol that enables managing multimedia communications. It is a protocol that defines messages and can be used for a variety of communications, from voice to video. On a technical level, then, VoIP (or IP trunking) refers to internet phone, or internet telephony, while SIP Trunking gets into the various additional communications technologies that are possible over data networks, including voice calls and more.

However, from the perspective of a business looking for a communications solution, SIP Trunking and VoIP often refer to opposite ideas. When businesses think of VoIP, they do not envision communications limited to phone calls. Today, 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.

SIP Equals Connectivity

In other words, SIP Trunking service is the raw connectivity, similar to running utilities like electricity to a building. Large enterprises or those who are very comfortable with a hands-on approach to their communications needs might shop for SIP Trunking services. Essentially, SIP Trunking provides a dial tone. Creating a communications center is up to the customer. A large telco can provide these services, typically over fiber optic connections.

SIP services are also appropriate for companies without a distributed workforce who really just need a communications pipeline running into their location, with which they will take the connection and customize solutions on their own.

VoIP Adds Business-Class Features

To take business communications to the next level, VoIP (or IP trunking) provides a one-stop shop offering features such as remote access to accommodate a distributed workforce. This is the most significant conceptual difference between SIP Trunking, a technical term, and IP Trunking, which mostly refers to business-class VoIP solutions. In today's business communications environment, enterprises need solutions that integrate communications. From remote access to collaboration tools and robust call center features, hosted services enable growth and improved customer experiences. SIP Trunking may also be a route to these tools, but the technology alone does not provide solutions. 

The Unified Communications and business-class hosted VoIP systems offered by 8x8, are examples of how enterprises can leverage technology effortlessly. Some businesses may have a need for just connectivity, but even the largest, most tech-savvy organizations can achieve increased productivity and reduced costs through an intuitive and feature-rich call center solution. Enterprises can optimize communication by consolidating to one intelligent engagement solution. These systems enable employees to communicate with each other, and to interact with customers with ease. From a voice call to a video conference, hosted VoIP provides more than a dial tone, it fully integrates how your organization communicated.

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 our online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 Product Specialist.

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