What is SIP?

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You may or may not have heard the term ‘SIP’,’being thrown around when you are looking at your phone systems and possibly, looking at alternatives to ISDN, in light of the phase-out.

Whether you’re a business owner and looking at replacing your current phone system, or just interested to find out more, we have decided to break down exactly what SIP is.

Learn more about the ISDN Phase-out

What is SIP? What is SIP Trunking?

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It is the set of rules that allows you to initiate and terminate a communication session, whether it’s a voice call between 2 people or a video conference between a whole team, using an IP address. SIP trunking is the service that allows you to put this protocol into use on a public network.

SIP alone is really just the protocol that allows you to make the connection and SIP trunking is the service that allows you to put this protocol into use.

To simplify it; SIP is a type of phone line which uses virtual lines (internet lines) to transmit calls (phone, video etc) between 2 or more people.

SIP is the most superior type of phone line. This is mostly down to the flexibility it gives you, the speed in which you can add/remove lines, the quality of the calls and the lower call costs.

How does SIP work?

The SIP trunk connects your site directly into the network (the ITSP), via an IP connection which will carry out and terminate your inbound and outbound voice calls across your PBX. Your PBX can be hosted on-site or hosted remotely and you can still benefit from SIP.

If I have ISDN, Digital and Analogue infrastructure; can I use SIP?

The SIP trunk connects your site directly into the network (the ITSP), via an IP connection which will carry out and terminate your inbound and outbound voice calls across your PBX. Your PBX can be hosted on-site or hosted remotely and you can still benefit from SIP.

Learn more about Hybrid Phone Systems

How can SIP benefit my business?

Any business with a PBX can switch to a SIP trunking service and immediately benefit from more flexible, less expensive and more resilient phone service.

There is a vast range of benefits when it comes to upgrading your phone system to SIP, let’s take a look at some of the key factors:
  • Flexibility with phone numbers - SIP trunking enables you to move office and keep the same geographic number without any further costs, along with the benefit of out of area phone numbers. You won’t need to change your number, which is costly in ways you may not even think about – e.g. stationery.
  • Business Continuity - Should your office need to be temporarily relocated, SIP trunking allows you to take your phone lines with you quickly and cost-effectively, keeping your business working.
  • Save Money - IP connectivity costs less than ISDN so you’ll benefit from lower call costs; free internal calls between sites and free calls to UK local/national and mobiles. Typically, you are looking for saving of up to 50% on line rental and 25% or more on call costs.
  • Scalability - SIP Trunks are perfect if you are growing (or even downsizing) and you want to retain your phone numbers. You are always in control because you can add lines, remove lines and split calls at any time
  • Resilience - SIP will cope with any situation. Whether you need to keep your business running in an emergency or you need to balance your calls during peak hours, this product delivers.
  • Line Rationalisation - When it comes to businesses with multiple sites, SIP trunking allows you to reduce the number of PBX’s you need to maintain, whilst retaining full control of the numbers associated with your business.

Take SIP further and utilise SIP Call Manager

SIP Call Manager offers a powerful business continuity solution, giving you the ability to manage all of your phone numbers and all aspects of incoming calls.

Essentially, rather than going to your provider, you can open a portal, see all of your phone numbers and make changes in line with your business needs. For example, if you no longer need an 01536 number, you can remove it yourself, or choose to redirect that phone number to a different phone number.

When you consolidate all your numbers onto a single platform, you can ensure that you’ll never miss a call!

Some of SIP Call Manager features:

  • Remove phone numbers - Terminate any 01, 02, 03 or 08 number and control via an intuitive online portal or app
  • Redirect phone numbers - Redirect inbound calls to achieve business continuity and flexible working
  • Time / day of week routing - Schedule call routing in advance according to business hours and call handling preferences
  • Divert on busy/out of office/no answer - Maximise call handling potential and provide an improved service to the caller
  • Date routing - Set up date-specific routing in advance e.g. Bank Holidays
  • Email alert on missed call - Ensure you are notified of any unanswered/engaged calls – ideal management tool for ensuring staff productivity and following up every sales lead
  • ‘One Touch’ business continuity - Pre-build designated business continuity call plans for your Inbound number(s) with the ability to invoke/restore last active call plan instantly – immediate continuity in the event of office evacuations
  • Call whisper agent notifications – Implement announcements to be played to the call answering agent on call pick up which prompts them to answer the incoming call with an appropriate greeting.
  • Hunt Groups - Serial, random, prioritised or simultaneous hunt group enables calls to be answered by specific people or the most available person
  • Call Distribution - Serial, hunt group and percentage-based routing enables load balancing of calls across sites or teams of people
  • Call Queuing - Queue incoming calls on a destination number to assist with call handling during peak busy periods. End user configurable announcements, breakout and overflow options. Live queue stats enable effective queue management
  • Voicemail - Customise voicemail messages to prompt users to leave details for a call back
  • Advanced statistics - Advanced management information relating to call handling efficiencies; productivity, call patterns and caller behaviour. Data includes time to answer, call waiting time, call outcome and caller details
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