PRI or SIP TRUNKING: Understand the Basic Differences

Let's face it. Your company needs a robust communications system to operate. Most businesses still rely on a customer being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone live. The choices you make about your telephony systems can have a meaningful impact on your revenue, employee productivity, and future growth. What are the options? This article looks at the basics of Primary Rate Interface (PRI)  and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking

PRI Trunking: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." 

Communications technology has evolved a lot over the last 40 years, but PRI systems are still an option. PRI has been around since the 80s and works well for many companies. The physical copper wires in your building deliver this traditional voice service. It doesn't rely on data bandwidth to host calls, which is why it was historically touted as providing a higher quality of service. 

Each PRI line can simultaneously support 23 separate communications (voice, data, or video) at the same time. It is unlikely that all 23 lines will be active at once, and with that in mind, businesses usually have a ratio of users to PRI. When an organization adds new users, they have to be mindful of their PRI limits. Adding a new PRI trunk can be expensive and cumbersome, with a company waiting weeks to add another communications line.

With all the drawbacks and considerations, PRI trunking is often a good option for companies that don't have access to fiber-optic internet connectivity or enough bandwidth to support IP-hosted phones. 

SIP Trunking: Flexibility and Functionality 

Newer to the marker is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) delivered through SIP trunking. SIP trunking is a hosted cloud service that runs your calls, in addition to a variety of other communications formats, over the internet. There are a few reasons why you may want to choose SIP trunking for your company:

  • SIP trunking uses a VoIP line to initiate and end calls, but it also supports a variety of other transmissions, including SMS messages, video conferencing, and data transmissions. For companies prioritizing unified communications, SIP trunking provides the right technology. 
  • You only pay for the number of SIP trunking channels you need, when you need them. If you need 23 channels, you pay for 23 channels. If you need 28, then you pay for 28. This flexibility could lower costs by up to 30 - 40 percent when compared with PRI trunking and integration with other communications tools.

Organizations that choose a SIP trunking service need to be sure they have the necessary bandwidth, as well as sufficient network security. The SIP trunking vendor selection matters and should include consideration of a variety of factors because quality levels and service levels can differ dramatically.

Choosing SIP trunking helps relieve maintenance of the phone system from the IT staff, and could significantly reduce the cost of telephone service. It also supports mobile employees and helps drive increases in revenue when used to support a unified communications strategy.

Still not sure what communication service makes sense, BlackPoint IT Services is one of the only technology services providers to offer a full suite of solutions. Your phone system should provide seamless connectivity and ensured uptime, no matter how many devices are in use or how widely dispersed those devices are from your physical business location. Contact us to learn more about options for your phone system.

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