Voice over IP (VoIP) has become a hot topic with small and medium-sized businesses (SMB) in the United States. For businesses that have already invested in PBX equipment, the benefits of migrating to VoIP can be compelling. However, purchasing a new IP PBX can be costly and time consuming, and many SMBs simply cannot afford to do it. Using a Virtual Trunk solution, businesses are able to extend the life of their existing PBX. The added benefit is that virtual IP trunking allows businesses to combine their voice and data traffic onto a single connection, eliminating the need for separate voice and data networks.
A virtual IP trunk, also known as SIP trunking, is a service that a company needs to purchase from an Internet service provider. To make that process easier and to provide some things to think about in advance, this article offers several tips that prospective buyers can use.
There are three components necessary to deploy an SIP trunk: a PBX with an SIP-enabled trunk side, an enterprise edge device understanding SIP, and an Internet or SIP trunking service provider.
Keep in mind that not every SIP capable IP PBX works the same and not every SIP service is equivalent. Be sure to understand the configuration requirements to get the IP PBX running on SIP, as well as what the SIP provider and IP PBX manufacturer will assist with.
Depending on the number of trunks to be deployed and the amount of excess Internet connectivity, it may be wise for a business to consider purchasing additional Internet bandwidth. However, it’s important to keep in mind that when the trunk is not being used that the bandwidth allocated for it goes back to less intensive applications like e-mail and web-browsing. If there is a large amount of excess Internet bandwidth available prior to the installation of the trunk, further bandwidth may not be needed.
If voice communication is critical to the success of the business, it must be ensured that any SIP service purchased offers and guarantees Quality of Service (QoS). If this is not included, the voice services can experience latency, jitter, noise, and even downtime.
Don’t take the attitude of “It will never happen here”. A disaster can be as simple as dust buildup or a summer storm. If calls cannot reach the IP PBX, have a plan ready in advance to make sure customers can maintain contact. Discuss disaster preparedness options with the Internet provider or SIP provider to make sure business can be maintained no matter what happens.
Be sure to have a list of business needs and requirements put together in advance. That, in combination with the tips already listed, will go a long way in making sure that all of the bases are covered when making the move to a Virtual Trunk.
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