Questions to ask your SIP provider!

Questions to ask your SIP provider

Organisations looking to upgrade their business communications will have heard of hosted VoIP or SIP Trunking and will no doubt want to take advantage of the cost savings and flexibility that switching to the new technology can bring. But any search for new technology inevitably comes with its own jargon and the world of telephony is no exception. So what does it all mean and what should you look for when choosing a SIP provider?

What is VoIP?

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is simply the running of real-time communications over the Internet or a private network. Sometimes referred to as IP telephony all large telephony systems will be using VoIP as an alternative to traditional analogue telephony.

What is SIP?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and was developed by the Internet Engineering Task Force. There are other protocols for VoIP but SIP is the most widely used and is recognised as the Industry standard. When a VoIP call is made,SIP controls how a call or session is initiated,set up and terminated. SIP is not just limited to voice traffic, you can also send videos, documents and run other forms of media.

What are SIP Trunks?

Traditionally trunks meant a line on the PSTN network that was shared between a group of users.The IP telephony industry has adopted the term trunk to refer to a virtual line even though there are no physical wires or connections.The main point to note here is that SIP trunks can handle more than one call at a time.

How can they benefit your business?

SIP trunks represent a fully featured, efficient and cost effective choice for business communications. Because SIP routes calls over the Internet you do not have to maintain two separate networks for voice and data. Calls within your organisation are free in the same way that internal emails are free.

What to look for in a SIP provider?

1) Does the provider run their own core network? This is essential for call quality and service assurance. SIP providers who run their own network will monitor network health and detect potential issues before become service affecting. It is also important to select a provider who connects into multiple data centres for resilience and to reduce the risk of a network outage.

2) What support do they offer? The dependability of the SIP provider is one factor that should be crucial to your decision. A positive track record is crucial as is the level of customer support and technical assistance provided in urgent situations.

3) What security/fraud detection measures do they have in place?  Fraudulent activity in the Telecoms industry is not limited to SIP. It is important to question your SIP provider on what threat and fraud detection measures are in place. Will the provider suspend your account if irregular activity is detected so that you are not landed with a bill for fraudulent calls?

4) Do they offer connectivity? As SIP runs over the Internet your call quality is only going to be as good as your connection. Inferior connectivity can run the risk of call drops or intermittent audio. A SIP provider who can offer and advise on leased lines and Internet will ensure that call quality is never compromised.

5) What value added services do they offer? Your business needs every opportunity to remain ahead.When selecting a SIP provider it is wise to look at what other products and services they have on their portfolio as add-ons and upgrades. Your business may want to take advantage of products and solutions like unified communications , IVR, call recording and IP phones as you grow and evolve.

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