SIP Trunking: One Size Fits All?

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: February 04, 2011

As you prepare to install SIP trunking into your business, you may have associates at other companies offering you advice as you go. They’ll tell you what they have, and why you should get it as well. Some may even go as far as to tell you to order the exact same package and features. Is that realistic, though? Is SIP trunking a “one size fits all” technology, or should it be tailored specifically to your business?

SIP Trunking Options

You have several options when it comes to the SIP trunking packages. Each has its pros and cons; you’ll need to look at these and decide which package gives you the best value.

Bundled SIP Trunks

A popular choice among providers is bundled SIP trunks. These are closely tied to data services that the provider offers. You’ll have to use the provider’s data infrastructure to carry the SIP trunk. The provider will arrange for the last mile circuit, provide all of the necessary equipment, and provide the services on one easy bill. The vendor will back the package by saying that they won’t be able to guarantee the voice quality unless they control all of the pieces. You as the customer benefit from this because you have only one company to contact if anything goes wrong. Be aware of the downsides of this type of package, though. If you have an existing contract with another broadband provider, you may have to pay to break that contract. There could also be disruption of connectivity as voice and data services are transferred to a new provider. Factor in the costs versus the potential risks and weigh these to determine if a bundled trunk is the right choice for you.

BYOBB

The second choice is Bring Your Own Broadband (or BYOBB). This is not a bundled package. You use your current broadband configuration, and the SIP trunk will ride on that. If you have sufficient broadband and SIP trunking can sit on your existing Internet services, this could be the better choice for you. You can move to SIP trunking without disruption to existing data services. You also have a bit more negotiating power with this choice, as you’ll have a wide selection of SIP trunking services to choose from. You’ll also be able to use the equipment of your choice. On the downside, will the provider be able to guarantee their service level agreements with the broadband circuits you currently have? Will your broadband connection be able to handle your traffic as your provider adds more customers? Make sure your provider supports built-in monitoring capabilities to make sure that everything is functioning properly.

Which SIP Trunking Package Should You Choose?

Some providers will only offer you one type of package or the other. Some will offer a blend of both. Most will likely steer you towards the bundled service as these are easier for the vendor to sell, install, and service. These questions will help you choose your package:

  • Are you under contract to a voice or data provider? Determine the costs of breaking those contracts and decide if it is worth it.
  • Do you care how much control you have over the equipment and services? If not, a bundled service makes sense for you. If you want more control, go with the BYOBB.
  • Do you like having one vendor to contact if something goes wrong? If so, a bundle is what would work best for you. If you’re comfortable working with multiple service providers, select the BYOBB.
  • Do you have enough bandwidth, and can it handle voice? If not, the bundled package will provide you with what you need.
  • Are you comfortable with possible disruptions in service during installation? Go with the BYOBB and your current broadband provider if you’re not.
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