PBX SIP Trunking For Dummies
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SIP, SIP Trunking and the Business
The future of individual and business communication is here. SIP can revolutionize the way you communicate. By layering applications and devices, communication can be cost-effective, speedy and simple. But first things first, you should probably know what SIP is and how SIP works.
What is SIP?
In the world of technology, there seem to be too many acronyms to keep track of. But the most important for your business right now is SIP. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, was created by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF.) IETF created SIP as an open-signaling protocol standard. So what does an open-signaling protocol standard do? It helps facilitate peer-to-peer communication. And as we know, peer-to-peer communication can mean voice calls. It can also mean emails, texts, instant messaging, video conferencing, voice mails, faxes, gaming – the list goes on. And all this media is transported through different applications and devices, ranging from email to SMS to IM applications to mobile phones. There are so many ways to communicate and so many incoming and outgoing messages to sift through that communication can be tedious and overwhelming.
SIP acts to simplify communication from all aspects of it. It can connect a range of communication devices, such as phones gateways, proxies, servers, soft-phones (on PCS, PDAs, etc.), Private Branch Exchange (PMX) systems, instant messaging, videoconferences, and collaboration systems. What SIP doesn’t do is transfer the media itself, which isn’t necessary considering the range of applications designed to do this already that you are probably using already. Rather SIP is extensible, meaning it can easily employ various applications simultaneously to create a larger communication framework.
What else is SIP? SIP uses the same plain-text language as HTTP, hypertext transfer protocol, which the internet is based on. In fact, SIP was used by the open source movement and acted as a catalyst for VoIP (Voice over IP.) In fact, SIP has capabilities that far surpass HTTP, especially in regards to availability and functionality. SIP is also part of the IP Multimedia System (IMS), PC operating systems, fixed mobile convergence (FMC), and unified communications.
Benefits of SIP
Before the how, let’s address the why of SIP. Why should businesses consider SIP? SIP offers a range of benefits, mainly by connecting a range of devices to connect individuals and businesses locally and globally through voice, video and text. It simplifies communication and makes businesses technologically competitive. One of ways that SIP does this is by creating a unified virtual presence. It allows individuals and businesses to create a protocol of preferences when it comes to communication. They can choose when and how they would like to be available. SIP will allow them to change and revise these “rules” so they are only contacted in the way they would prefer. For instance, if the user in unavailable because of a business meeting, they can set preferences so all calls and messages and be forwarded to their assistant, regardless of the communication device used. So calls to the user’s mobile phone, direct office line, and even home phone can be sent directly to the assistant. Or if the user is on a business trip, all calls and messages can be routed to a smartphone. All communication can be virtually scheduled based on online information and preferences regarding communication. The best part about SIP is all protocol procedures can be carried seamlessly without any interruption and without any effort on either side of the communication. SIP can even aid in communication in a very unique way. In regards to voice, IM, video, inline translation services, multi-modal messaging (multiple methods/devices), speech-to-text translations and web-based Interactive Video Response (IVR), SIP can translate information to fit any device. SIP offers speech-to-text translations and vice-versa, where one user may only have voice capabilities and the other has only text capabilities. It translates communication between both parties.
Thus, SIP can centralize communication. We all have multiple ways we communicate: our home phone, home computer, laptop, mobile phone, office line, direct office line, texting, video chat, the list goes one. SIP grants a user one “address” for all these devices and applications. This way, anyone who is trying to contact you doesn’t have to go through a list of addresses and phone numbers to send a simple message. Rather they can utilize your SIP Address of Record (AOR,) which a single identifying number – your one public number. This links all the user’s devices to one single address. And this is all because SIP allows for Uniform Resource Identifiers (URIs,) which supports both numeric and alpha numeric addresses. For instance, both phone numbers and email addresses.
How does presence work? Why is it important?
It happens constantly. You send an email to someone only to have it ignored or forgotten. You instant message someone, but they are “Away.” You call them and it goes to voicemail. After attempting 12 different communication devices, you give up and just wait it out. With an established SIP presence, the frustration dissipates. An individual or business can communicate whether the user is available and on what communication device. A user status communicates whether the user is online or offline. The availability dictates if the user is available to communicate, is away, in a meeting, on a call, or busy. The desired contact method will let those trying to communicate with an individual know which is the best way to proceed with contact. In addition, the presence allows for a protocol to be created in case of communication. For instance, if the user is inactive for a set period of time, an “Away” status will be implemented. In addition, calls can be routed from one device to another automatically if the user is not available at the former one. And all this is done automatically without upsetting the line of communication. When a call is routed through, the SIP proxy, which receives the invitation, will make a decision to where to route the call. The SIP proxy may send the call to several addresses, for instance, the user’s mobile phone, home phone and email. This is called “parallel forking.” If the SIP proxy chooses a specific address, this is call an “intelligent fork.”
How does SIP help businesses? (SIP Trunking)
Before SIP, enterprise communication have separate structures of voice and data communication but this separation can cause a breakdown in enterprise communication as the system cannot balance out fluxes in voice and data communication. This old system cannot handle an increased calls and customers receive busy signals, while the internet may be completely underutilized.
With complete interoperability, which is facilitated through SIP trunking, communications are synced with business operations. The linked system allows for communication and protocols. Calls from customers or partners can be routed and recorded instantly; emails can be forwarded, answered, written and sent within seconds. Multimedia messaging can mean that on one side of the conversation, an individual can be texting and the other can be on a voice call. Video conferencing, instant messaging and instant data exchange can make communication reliable and speedy. In regards to customer service, customers can receive timely assistance through intelligent customer routing and self-service options. In addition, privacy protocol can be built into the language of SIP, so customers and users can feel comfortable with virtual communication, which is important to survivability. These protocols can include security certificates and authentication.
SIP trunking is also extremely helpful in establishing contact centers. Formerly known as customer call centers, customers had to phone overstretched phone operators. This inefficient system meant overloaded employees and impatient customers. Now, there are contact centers, where customers can phone, email, submit messages or texts to customer service agents. In addition, there are automated services, where customers can deal with bills, ask questions and check balances with speedy, self-service. Contact centers can be divided in such a way that an agent might deal with just email inquiries , billing issues, purchases, troubleshooting, or incoming phone calls. Another department may deal with outgoing customer contact, in regards to services, surveys, or announcements.
With SIP trunking, enterprises can simplify communication by routing messages in a particular way to a particular agent and better parsing out customer information. Customers are able tor receive tailored information when their messages are part of a specific protocol. Communications can be separated by topic and media, and routed to appropriate human or non-human agents.
SIP Trunking Using An Existing PBX
The equipment that you will need for SIP trunking depends on your current system. If you have an older PBX system, then you may need a SIP-ISDN gateway. A newer system may not require this additional hardware. The gateway acts as a translator between SIP and ISDN of the SIP trunks and PBX system. The number of SIP trunks depends on how many calls the user will receive. For instance, a customer contact center may require a SIP trunk per customer service agent, so that each one could receive simultaneous messages. However, a smaller branch could well with a SIP trunk per five or six employees. Correct setup and a strong internet connection will ensure maximum efficiency and quality without time delays or data loss.
Cost Benefits of SIP Trunking
Before SIP, businesses used Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) carriers. They connected their PBX telephone network to one of these carriers and lost money – these carriers charged money even when the lines were idle or busy, incurring toll charges and expensive long distance charges. Now with VoIP and SIP, companies can integrate voice, video and data for a much lower cost. SIP trunks allow for voice and data to be transported over an IP connection. The voice data is moved to a carrier cloud, rather than pure voice circuits. Once the SIP servers connect, the data is moved. The IP circuits can carry email, video and other data as well.
Cost is reduced with employing a single IP pipe for communication. In addition, SIP is not tied to a particular geographic location, which means it has number mobility and can be used wherever and whenever. SIP trunking lower costs by granting free calls between sites, free DDI rental, and in some cases, even eliminating ISDN line rental charges. SIP trunking can do this because it links the communication system to a public telephone network with the same connection as your data services.
The technological benefits and cost-effectiveness of SIP trunking can be invaluable to big enterprises, small businesses and individuals. SIP utilizes existing equipment, applications and communication devices to simplify and expedite communication. It can create an online presences and allows for protocols that can initiate, manage and end communication sessions. SIP can even prioritize messages automatically for users, eliminating the headaches of sifting through hundreds of incoming messages. In addition, it reduces the frustration faced when trying to get a hold of someone because the initiator will know how and when the user is available. To remain competitive in a world that moves incredibly quickly, individuals and businesses need to stay ahead of the technological curve, SIP and SIP trunking can make this happen.
In order to learn more about SIP trunking – please visit: http://www.nextiva.com/products/pbx-sip-trunking.html