SIP Trunking: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Business Communication

David Turcotte
About the author: David is a product manager with a winning track record in telecommunications and managed services. He leverages technology to drive efficiencies, then scales these using Agile methodologies—all while improving the customer experience across Acronym.
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Table of Contents

How we communicate and connect, both in our personal lives and at work, constantly evolves with new technologies. But there’s one advancement that has revolutionized digital communications over the past few decades: SIP.

For businesses, SIP has been a game-changer. Not only does it have the power to diversify and improve the reliability of how we communicate with coworkers and customers, but it also has the potential to decrease your communications costs by up to 50 percent.

In this article, we’ll explore the history of SIP and get to the heart of its capabilities, advantages for business, and how it relates to other communications technologies. We’ll get into:

  • What is SIP Trunking, and why is it relevant?
  • The powerful business advantages of SIP Trunking
  • Distinguishing SIP Trunking from other digital communications methods
  • Essential considerations for choosing a SIP Trunk provider

Let’s dive in.

Deep Dive Into the Meaning of SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking primarily serves as a method for Voice over IP (VoIP) to enable the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the internet. In simpler terms, it allows communications systems to operate over the internet rather than through traditional phone lines.

What is SIP Trunking, and Why is it Relevant?

SIP is a technical signalling protocol that allows businesses to communicate over the internet. It replaces traditional phone lines with a virtual connection, enabling voice, video, and messaging services through a single system. This method consolidates communication channels and enhances them with the flexibility and efficiency of your pre-existing internet-based services.

The Evolution of Telecommunications

The shift to SIP Trunking is a significant leap from the analog and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) era. While analog systems were limited in scope and ISDN brought digital transmission to standard phone lines, SIP Trunking introduced a more versatile solution. It marks the transition from physical wire-based communications to advanced, internet-driven connectivity.

Currently, there are two predominant business phone system connections: the traditional Primary Rate Interface (PRI) line, otherwise known as ‘landlines,’ and the newer generation of VoIP phone systems delivered over SIP Trunking.

Why 'Trunk' Matters in SIP Trunking

The term ‘trunk’ in SIP Trunking links back to traditional telephony, where trunk lines carried multiple signals. In SIP Trunking, it refers to a virtual pathway that can handle numerous calls simultaneously over the internet. This approach is key to its efficiency, allowing for a scalable, cost-effective, and higher-quality communication experience.

SIP Trunking is not just a technological upgrade—it’s a transformative approach to business communications, offering a unified, scalable, and economical solution in the digital age.

The Powerful Advantages of SIP Trunking

Team of people working over a phone system

1. Cutting Costs with SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking is like having a telephone line embedded in your internet connection. Instead of paying for a separate phone network, SIP Trunking uses your data connection to carry voice and data on the same network—making the transition both simple and cost-effective.

The Cost Advantage of SIP Trunking vs. Traditional Phone Lines

SIP Trunking presents a significant cost advantage over traditional phone lines. While traditional lines involve high installation, maintenance, and long-distance call charges, SIP Trunking uses the internet to cut these expenses substantially. This shift lowers operational costs and streamlines communication infrastructure, offering a more economical solution for businesses.

“Traditionally, businesses invested a lot of money in phone lines. If your organisation had offices in Toronto, Calgary, and Edmonton, you would have needed to buy local communication lines in each city,” says David Turcotte, Product Manager at Acronym. “With SIP trunking, that same business can purchase one, centralised SIP for your main location that provides reliable service to all offices at a fraction of the cost. It’s centralising complexity and decentralising simplicity.”


Metered vs. Unmetered Pricing Models for SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking offers two primary pricing structures: metered and unmetered.

  • Metered plans charge based on actual usage, which can be useful for businesses with varying call volumes, ensuring you pay only for what you use.
  • Unmetered plans provide unlimited usage for a flat rate, ideal for companies with high call volumes. They offer predictable costs, simplifying budget forecasting and potentially favoring long-term financial planning.

While metered plans can be cost-effective for variable needs, unmetered plans are advantageous for their predictability and simplicity, particularly suitable for businesses prioritizing stable operational costs.

How SIP Trunking Can Help You Save on International Calls

Traditional phone services charge high rates for international connections, but SIP Trunking reduces these costs by routing calls over the internet. This feature particularly benefits businesses with global operations or clients needing worldwide connectivity. Additionally, SIP Trunking often includes the added advantage of free on-net Canadian and North American calls, further enhancing its cost-effectiveness and convenience.

2. Scalability: The Defining Strength of SIP trunking

SIP Trunking allows businesses to handle fluctuating call volumes, create more efficient use of bandwidth for different media, and benefit from uninterrupted service.

Efficiently Managing Call Volumes

One of the best things about SIP Trunking is its seamless ability to manage varying call volumes thanks to its virtual channel framework. This flexibility, enhanced by the capacity-on-demand (or channel-bursting) feature, allows your business to manage call spikes efficiently without needing physical infrastructure expansion.

Unlike traditional phone systems constrained by physical lines, SIP Trunking dynamically adjusts, maintaining seamless communication even during peak periods.

“Traditional PRI lines each carry 23 voice channels, so even one additional call could result in an important customer receiving a busy signal,” says David. “If your call volume were to spike suddenly, your business would need to purchase a whole new PRI, which is both costly and inconvenient. With SIP, you can easily add and remove lines seamlessly.”

Easily Adding or Removing Channels

SIP Trunking empowers businesses with the flexibility to swiftly adjust their communication capacity, allowing for the easy addition or removal of channels to match changing needs. This capability is crucial for managing seasonal demand or supporting growth, ensuring companies can maintain optimal communication efficiency without being constrained by fixed capacities or incurring unnecessary costs.

This feature is particularly beneficial for organisations that experience seasonal fluctuations, such as schools closed in the summer or retailers busy around the holidays.

Optimising Bandwidth for Diverse Media

Another aspect of SIP Trunking’s scalability lies in its efficient bandwidth use. SIP Trunking allocates bandwidth according to the media type –voice or video – ensuring high-quality communication without overextending your network resources. This aspect is crucial for maintaining consistent service across various communication formats.

Dedicated Data Circuits for Large Enterprises

For larger businesses, dedicated data circuits provide a reliable and uninterrupted service. Allocated exclusively for SIP Trunking, these circuits prevent bandwidth competition with other applications, ensuring a stable and high-quality communication experience for enterprises with heavy usage demands.

3. Enhancing Business Continuity with Reliable SIP Connections

When it comes to the reliability and continuity of your business communications, SIP Trunking wins. It uses features like number failover and diverse routing to provide uninterrupted communications, even in the event of a glitch or line failure.

Maintaining Uninterrupted Communications with Number Failover

Number failover in SIP Trunking allows calls to be automatically redirected to a backup number or device if the primary line fails, ensuring constant availability. This feature is beneficial for minimising communication disruptions, avoiding potential revenue loss, and maintaining the trust of your customers.

The Role of Diverse Routing in SIP Trunks

Diverse routing creates multiple independent paths for data transmission, so SIP Trunks can instantly switch to an alternative route if one is compromised. This redundancy is critical to maintaining reliable and continuous service, providing an extra layer of security against network failures. If your business depends heavily on phone communications, this is a must.

Reliability of SIP Trunking vs. Traditional Analogue Circuits

Compared to traditional analogue circuits, SIP Trunking is far more reliable. Analogue circuits are more vulnerable to physical damage and are limited by the need for extensive wiring. On the other hand, SIP Trunking is less prone to physical disruptions and offers more flexibility and redundancy. Its ability to quickly reroute calls and use diverse routing paths makes it a more resilient and dependable choice.

4. The Power of Unified Communications in SIP

Unified Communications (UC) is revolutionizing business communication strategies today and is poised for further transformation as it integrates more deeply with advancing technologies such as AI and chatbots. This ongoing evolution is set to enhance the dynamism and intelligence of your business communications in the long run, offering new and innovative ways to engage and solve problems.

What is Unified Communications?

UC is the integration of communication technologies and applications within a business environment. This modern approach breaks down barriers between disparate tools, creating a streamlined user experience. By combining voice calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, email, and file sharing into one cohesive system, UC can enhance connectivity, efficiency, and collaboration within your business.

The Role SIP Trunking Plays in Unified Communications

SIP Trunking is central to the efficacy of UC. Put simply, it connects a private branch exchange (PBX) to the internet, enabling VoIP and other forms of digital communication. Because SIP is the standard communications protocol for voice and video in a UC solution, it delivers benefits now, while also helping to future-proof your organisation.

The Future of UC, SIP, and Emerging Technologies

The future of UC and SIP is intrinsically linked with advancements in AI, chatbots, and other emerging technologies. AI can enhance UC systems by optimising network performance, automating tasks, and providing valuable insights. The integration of chatbots into UC systems promises to improve customer service experiences with quick, automated responses.

Emerging IoT(Internet of Things) technologies, which refer to the network of interconnected devices that communicate and exchange data over the internet, such as smart homes, smart thermostats, wearable fitness trackers, and industrial sensors, can benefit from SIP Trunking, ensuring better connectivity and managing diverse devices. Future developments might include real-time language translation and sentiment analysis powered by AI, elevating the way your business communicates with customers.

Distinguishing SIP Trunking from Other Digital Communication Methods

2 men in a conference room using voice collaboration technology

The Difference Between SIP and VoIP

Although people often use them interchangeably, SIP and VoIP are not the same thing. Let’s dive into some core differences that distinguish one from the other.

What It IsA technology framework that allows voice calls to be made over the internet instead of traditional telephone lines.A technical signalling protocol used to manage real-time sessions in voice, video and messaging applications. SIP is the most widely used protocol for VoIP.
FunctionalityA broad technology framework focused on enabling voice communication over the internet.A signalling protocol used within the VoIP framework and beyond, facilitating not just voice but a variety of multimedia.
Use CasesPrimarily used for making voice calls over the internet, it is ideal for personal and business applications (like Skype or Microsoft Teams) and long-distance communication.Extends beyond voice calls and is widely used for UC, supporting a variety of multimedia interactions, including video conferencing, instant messaging, and integrated communication services.

The Difference Between SIP Trunking and PRI Trunking

PRI Trunking is a telecommunications standard used in traditional phone systems. It’s designed to facilitate voice communications over a dedicated physical line.

Here are some of the critical differences between SIP and PRI Trunking.

FeatureSIP TrunkingPRI Trunking>
Capacity Scalable channels that can adjust to rapid fluctuations in call volumes at any given moment.Provides a fixed capacity of 23 voice channels per trunk line, making it more complicated and costly to scale.
InfrastructureOperates over the internet and requires broadband, fibre-optic, or other high-speed internet services.Uses physical copper wires for connectivity, typically requiring more traditional infrastructure.
FlexibilityGlobal reach without geographical limitations, allowing businesses to receive calls anywhere they have an internet connection.Generally limited to local or regional service areas due to its reliance on physical infrastructure, which isn’t conducive to remote work.
Cost-effectiveness Potential for significant cost savings with a pay-for-what-you-use model and avoidance of long-distance charges.Generally involves more fixed costs, including maintenance of physical lines and an inability to scale down and save on unused capacity.
Reliability • Highly reliable with proper internet infrastructure and modern broadband services
• Built-in redundancy options, including number failover and diverse routing to automatically reroute calls in case of an internet outage
• Traditionally reliable within its fixed capacity
• Unaffected by outages or bandwidth issues because it is independent of the internet
• Dependent on the integrity of the physical lines and can be susceptible to environmental factors

Ultimately, SIP is the ideal choice for modern businesses that need to communicate across distance—whether that be internally or with customers.

On site office using tech support at a laptop

Essential Considerations for Choosing Your SIP Trunk Provider

If you’re searching for the right SIP provider, you’ll want to look beyond basic service and performance to analyse the following key factors.

The Importance of Real-Time Data in SIP Trunking

Find a provider that offers real-time access to performance data and KPIs like call volume, duration, and quality. Why? Because these metrics and live data streams can yield valuable business insights that boost your organisation’s efficiency and overall customer satisfaction.

“At Acronym, we provide our customers with regular capacity reports that analyse the number of voice lines they use at any given time. We can use this data to identify trends and make recommendations to either scale up to meet demand or reduce usage in slower seasons to save money,” says David.

These data insights don’t just save money—they also empower your business to make strategic decisions. For example, a customer service centre that experiences unpredictable call volumes, with certain times of the day or week seeing a significant surge. With real-time data from their SIP service, management can see a 40% increase in inbound calls on Friday afternoons. With this knowledge, they can make immediate adjustments, such as reallocating staff or increasing the number of active SIP channels during peak hours. Information is power!

Prioritising Security in SIP Communications

With data breaches costing businesses a shocking $4.45 million USD on average, all vendors you work with must be diligent with cyber security—especially the ones managing your business technology.

“Some SIP providers deliver their services over the public internet, which not only impacts the quality of service but raises security concerns,” says David. “When a customer moves to SIP, we provide a checklist of action items to help ensure their PBX is locked down and safe. If they also purchase internet solutions from us, they have a whole host of security solutions layered in at the forefront.”

Search for a SIP provider that has a plan to safeguard your sensitive data during SIP sessions and can implement security measures to give you peace of mind. At the end of the day, you should be confident in your provider’s ability to protect your private communications against cyber threats and unauthorised access.

The Value of Interoperability in Choosing a SIP Provider

The value of interoperability when selecting a SIP provider is crucial, as it significantly impacts the versatility and effectiveness of your communication systems. Interoperability refers to the ability of different systems, devices, and applications to work together seamlessly, without the need for special adaptation or manual intervention.
For businesses, choosing a SIP provider that offers high interoperability means ensuring that their SIP trunking services can effortlessly integrate with a wide range of existing communication tools, software, and hardware. This flexibility is essential for future-proofing communication strategies and adapting to your evolving technology needs without significant system overhauls.

Embracing SIP Trunking: A Look at Acronym Solutions

If you’re feeling inspired to leverage the benefits of SIP Trunking for your business, begin by exploring our SIP Trunking solutions. We deliver unparalleled functionality and streamlined operations in a secure, reliable, and cost-efficient high-performance package for your ease and peace of mind. You’ll save time and money, supported by our:

  • In-depth implementation process that reviews your current setup and provides strategic recommendations for seamless communications
  • Easy-to-use customer portal for ongoing management and reporting
  • Broad hardware compatibility for either on-premises or hosted PBX systems and phone sets
  • 24/7/365 Network Operations Centre support, staffed by experienced specialists
  • Opportunity to bundle with other solutions, including connectivity and fully managed operations services
  • 20+ years of network connectivity experience in the Canadian marketplace

If you think we could be a fit, get in touch today to begin your journey.

Learn more about our featured solutions

SIP trunking video conference
Product Summary

SIP Trunking

Leverage your existing data connection to carry both voice and data on the same network, at a fraction of the cost.

About Acronym

Acronym Solutions Inc. is a full-service information and communications technology (ICT) company that provides a range of scalable and secure Network, Voice & Collaboration, Security, Cloud and Managed IT Solutions. We support Canadian businesses, large enterprises, service providers, healthcare providers, public-sector organizations and utilities. We leverage our extensive network expertise to design and build customized, fully scalable solutions to help our customers grow their businesses and realize their full potential. With more than 20 years’ experience managing the communications system that enables Ontario’s electrical grid, Acronym is uniquely positioned to understand the mission-critical needs of any business to deliver the innovative and reliable services that respond to the changing demands of businesses, and support rapid growth and digital transformation initiatives.

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