SIP Trunking and Unified Communication

By Kristine Hegglin
Updated: February 03, 2011

Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) trunking enhances Voice over IP (VoIP) services. SIP trunking enables businesses to send and receive phone calls over the Internet. SIP trunking has the ability to enhance unified communications (UC) by aiding in interconnection, offering a more rapid return on investment, and providing an overall cost savings.

Unified Communications

Unified communications include communication services like video conferencing, instant messaging (IM), and internet protocol (IP) telephony. All UC services happen in real-time with the same level of quality as plain old telephone systems (POTS.) This means that there is no delay in response time. And, UC services typically include different communication devices such as video conferencing, POTS, as well as personal computer (PC) to PC communication.

SIP

A SIP trunk must be connected to a public switched telephone network (PSTN) within a company to enable communication over IP outside a company. PSTN lines can be replaced by IP phone systems connected through a SIP trunk. SIP trunks are provided by SIP trunking service providers. SIP trunking service providers tend to offer different types of service packages with varying options and associated costs. However, many businesses are recognizing a return on their investment within a six month time frame.

As the unified communications industry grows, more UC offerings will be made available. It’s likely that more businesses will opt for SIP trunking services as more UC offerings come to the market. SIP trunking allows voice and data to be sent over one single line by converting a company’s (POTS) and their internet connection. Functionality provided by SIP trunking includes video calling, long distance calling, caller ID, multi-call functionality, directory listing information, and more.

Challenges

While SIP trunking is beneficial for UC, this service also comes with some challenges. With SIP trunking, businesses may experience some risk of security. Accurate routing, verification and authentication can help to combat security risks. Quality of service may not always be as expected and delays may have to be dealt with. Using a SIP trunking service over an Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) network is a new age solution to combat quality of service and delay challenges. A SIP trunking service over an MPLS network improves voice quality, security, and data transfer.
 

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