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Business phone systems are designed for a fundamentally simple task – connecting your organization to the outside world. But for such a seemingly straightforward technology, they're surrounded by a lot of complex terminology denoting important, and often subtle, differences between options. For instance, there's hosted VoIP, which is distinct from plain old VoIP by virtue of it being managed by a service provider instead of maintained on-premises by your team.
There are also concepts that are sometimes treated as virtually the same thing despite having important differences. SIP trunking and hosted VoIP fit into this category, which isn't surprising: Both extend your phone system beyond traditional network infrastructure and make it more efficient through the use of internet connectivity. However, each delivers distinctive benefits suited to particular circumstances.
The SIP in SIP trunking has nothing to do with drinking, but instead refers to the Session Initiation Protocol. SIP is the basis for the entire trunking setup and one of the protocols that enables general VoIP telephony. The trunk, meanwhile, is not a storage container but a virtual phone line, allowing the SIP provider to connect one or more channels to your private branch exchange (PBX) so that you can make calls over the internet.
Let's say you have a conventional on-prem PBX connected to multiple analog phone lines. By installing a SIP trunk, you could dramatically reduce the costs of maintaining physical connections to the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
The trunk replaces your Primary Rate Interface (PRI), serving as a flexible and reliable bridge between the PBX and the PSTN. You also get to consolidate voice, video and data traffic over a common set of circuits. Everything is much more streamlined and cost-effective, with fewer expenses tied up in hardware and long-distance and no risk of overbuying capacity in PRI blocks, which come in quantities much larger than many SMBs need.
Telesystem's multi-line SIP trunking services include routing over the public internet as well as our private redundant fiber network. Designed to work with any business phone system, our solutions can connect via DS-0/FXS, DS-1/PRI and RJ-45/Ethernet
In a hosted VoIP deployment, all of the key components of the system are managed by the service provider within a secure data center. The customer simply needs VoIP-capable phones and an active service plan to connect to the VoIP provider via an IP network. All call routing and other features are processed in the cloud.
This setup produces similar savings to SIP trunking, since customers no longer need expensive vendor visits nor have to sink so much of IT's time into infrastructure upkeep. At the same time, the benefits of hosted VoIP are more wide-reaching than those of SIP trunking. You don't just get a more streamlined and affordable phone system; you also attain a versatile set of calling features that would not be available with a legacy PBX or with a SIP trunk on its own.
For instance, hosted VoIP solutions may offer softphone compatibility. Softphones are virtual phone clients that can be supported on devices such as laptops or tablets so you can take calls regardless of whether you've got a deskphone in front of you. The other possible add-ons for hosted VoIP are extensive, ranging from the convenience of hosted fax mail and voicemail to the professional call handling supported by an auto attendant and a hosted receptionist console.
Overall, hosted VoIP is more removed from traditional phone system infrastructure than SIP trunking. That allows for much more flexibility and customization of the service, while still fueling considerable savings over a legacy PBX.
Unsure which solution is ideal for your organization? Let Telesystem help. We offer both SIP trunks and hosted voice services, with years of industry expertise to support our customers with our cutting-edge infrastructure. Reach out to our team to learn more about the right options for you.