PRI and SIP Trunking – What, another telephony thing to keep track of? By now, you’ve probably encountered enough acronyms referencing obscure technology to make you a competitive Jeopardy contestant. But if you’re in the market for voice services for your business or organization, knowing this stuff can be crucial to identifying future bottlenecks down the road.
Most of the passionate debate among telecommunications professionals will boil down to two phone systems: Primary Rate Interface (PRI) and VoIP (which is delivered over Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP). While either system will guarantee you a comprehensive voice solution, there are pros and cons to selecting either protocol. First, let’s put on our history-buff hats, and learn about how these systems developed.
A Brief Overview of How Both Services Came to Be…
In the beginning, there were insulated copper wires. These operated as part of the Public Switched Telephone Network (Another acronym coming your way – it’s PTSN for short). In due time, the telephony industry was bracing itself for the coming digital revolution, and by the 2000s, most businesses had been switched over to PRI lines. This was a big deal, because it allowed companies to make and receive 23 simultaneous calls over the same line, whereas analog only permitted one call at a time.
At the same that everyone was migrating over to PRI, the internet was building in popularity. Thus, a means of phoning people over the world wide web was born. Maybe you’ve heard of VoIP services before, but SIP is essentially the vector through which VoIP functions. SIP Trunking is a key protocol that sets up and tears down real-time sessions between two endpoints, allowing for an almost unlimited number of simultaneous phone calls – assuming you have the bandwidth to support that many. SIP is rapidly replacing PRI as the dominant protocol for business telecommunications, partially because VoIP is relatively affordable and offers several perks (which we’ll get into shortly).
How does PRI work?
Primary Rate Interface works using T-1 transmission technology, an interface standard that provides 23 voice channels through preexisting copper lines constructed during analog’s golden years. They usually have an additional data channel to support call-related functionality like Caller ID. Calls are submitted as electrical pulses and routed through the telecommunications carriers we all know and love.
The primary issue that arises with PRI is when an office need more 23 lines. Another PRI must be installed, requiring more lines, maintenance, a new PBX, or an additional PBX altogether. Even if you only need a couple more lines, there’s no other way to add voice channels on an individual basis.
How does SIP work?
A SIP trunk allows you to use a data connection to transmit your voice to your carrier’s data, or SIP, network. The carrier then patches it through to its outgoing destination. These connections are virtual, meaning they’re determined by bandwidth rather than physical hardware or electrical circuits.
A few benefits? A multi-party phone call counts as a single SIP channel. And scaling up is matter of getting on the phone with your service provider, who can process your request in as little as a couple of hours.
Which is the best choice for me?
Now, the first assumption might be go for the latest and greatest telephonic technology, but don’t jump the gun on such a huge decision. There are drawbacks to both which should be considered. And if you’re feeling really torn about letting the benefits of either go, you can always set up a hybrid system, which combines the best of both worlds.
Pros to PRI
We should note here that CTS provisions our SIP Trunks to include all of these “Pros to PRI” items. If you’re in our coverage area, give us a call and one of our communications consultants can help determine the proper choice for your business.
Cons to PRI
Pros to SIP
Cons to SIP
To Find the Perfect Voice Solution for Your Business, Contact CTS Telecom Today.
Curious about what an SIP or a PRI can do for you? Schedule a free demonstration courtesy of CTS Telecom. We have an array of voice services for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, we offer colocation, voice, internet, cloud services, and data transport. We invite you to discover how CTS Telecom can take care of your business’s needs. To get started, contact us today.
As you look into communication services for your business, you’ll run into a lot of technical jargon – cloud-hosted PBX, virtual PBX, hosted PBX, hosted VoIP. As someone who may not have a background in IT or computer science, you may feel frustrated at the sheer number of terms, some even describing the same concept. After all, you just want to be able to pick up your phone and have everything work as it should.
But functional knowledge of these telephonic systems can save you thousands of dollars, while keeping your business up-to-date with the latest technological advancements. Not tech-savvy? We can avoid the nitty-gritty of these complex services and look at the solutions they provide from a top-down perspective.
Let’s start with VoIP.
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, though it’s also referred to as IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, and Internet Calling. The whole “telephone” part of VoIP comes only by association — the technology no longer requires a phone set, a headset, or analog lines.
Many businesses are turning to VoIP solutions due to its substantially lowered cost and variety of new features. Bandwidth is so plentiful that companies can offer benefits, such as unlimited extensions or apps that integrate your desk phone into your cell phone.
You may have already experienced a VoIP service yourself in the form of Skype, which is largely free to use. While consumers have adopted the technology readily, many businesses have not updated their services. Taking the internet plunge now will put you ahead of competition, some of which are still maintaining a traditional PBX.
Whoa, wait…traditional PBX? What is that?
Back in the olden days (before broadband, fiber, and even DSL), a business or large organization needed to have a PBX, or a private branch exchange, to manage calls. Basically, these were analog lines that formed their own private network, each with their own extension.
While calls outside of the network were billed by the minute, calls within the institution were free. While expensive, a PBX was cost-effective in the long run, because internal calls could be long and expensive.
VoIP inspired a paradigm shift. Instead of using a private network, it took advantage of the global infrastructure of internet. The grand scale of the web, as well as the lowered cost for access, allowed for greater flexibility and less maintenance.
So, how does a hosted VoIP work?
Well, hosted VoIP (also known as a hosted PBX) is essentially a cloud-based communications solution with a monthly service rate. To take advantage of VoIP, you’ll need a server to encode, transmit, and decode all your outbound and inbound data.
Now, many will argue about which one is better, but it comes down to your needs as a business. If you anticipate rapid growth in the coming years, hosted VoIP might be a better option, since there’s no need to upgrade equipment and small adjustments can be made month-to-month.
Space is another factor to consider. If you don’t want to devote the square footage necessary to house a large amount of wires and equipment, hosted VoIP will save real estate, while sparing you from a tangle of cords and plugs.
Whichever solution you decide to pursue, know that hosted VoIP at CTS Telecom has several unique perks, including:
To Find the Perfect Voice Solution for Your Business, Contact CTS Telecom Today.
Curious about what Hosted VoIP can do for you? Schedule a free demonstration courtesy of CTS Telecom. We have an array of voice services for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, we offer colocation, voice, internet, cloud services, and data transport. We invite you to discover how CTS Telecom can take care of your business’s needs. To get started, contact us today.