Traditional phone service has been delivered via PRI or POTS connections. These connections are maintained by your local phone company and are their responsibility to maintain. In the case of a PRI, 23 phone calls can be delivered over a single line. POTS lines are similar to the phone lines that used to be common in residential settings which only allow one call at a time. The advent of networking and the Internet has brought alternatives to these traditional phone services; with the most popular standard being SIP. SIP was developed in the late 1990s as a way of digitizing voice communications to be sent over networks that would have been traditionally reserved for data communications. By treating this communication more like data traffic, phone providers are able to quickly provision service, scale it up and down as necessary, and provide for disaster recovery functions. SIP has slowly gained adoption over the last 20 years to the point where we see it as the primary choice for phone connectivity today. This post will be part of a three part series making the business case for moving to SIP and bringing awareness to the common pitfalls of making the transition.
One of the great things about SIP phone service is its transport independence. It can be installed over a common internet connection or though dedicated lines from a provider. The internet transport method tends to be the cheapest because it uses what is already there. However, this approach can bring about issues since there’s no guarantee of call quality across the internet. Do video streaming services ever freeze up when you are binge watching your favorite show? Sure! How then would it impact your business if your phone service did the same? On the other hand, dedicated connections for SIP can require build out costs and high monthly fees. Is it worth it? Well, that depends how critical phone service is your business.
I generally prefer to handle this conversation differently than most providers. Rather than putting in a solution and hoping it all works out, my preference is to use the business needs to recommend a solution that works for you. Maybe it’s SIP over the public internet, or it is private transport. Or it’s sticking to POTS lines! This is never a one size fits all conversation!