SIP Phones

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Information about SIP Phones

SIP Trunking Technology over Analog and Digital Trunks

With the emergence of VoIP telephone systems, many businesses have shifted from analogue and digital telephony to IP one to save money on calls, have a more advanced communication system and improve their customer service. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a whole new concept within telephone systems, using an Internet connection to transmit and receive calls. This system eliminates the need of multi-line phones, connected with a separate line to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), where each call is charged by the phone provider’s rate.

Therefore, the hard wiring of the phone is also replaced by virtual phone trunks, called SIP trunks. There is no physical wire connecting the phones and this is done via a cloud-based technology, following the SIP. SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is the established standard for placing and receiving voice and data information over a broadband Internet connection.

Since SIP trunking systems are virtual, they are easier to connect and have rather low installation costs, where everything is handled by the SIP provider. A system using SIP trunks is completely flexible and scalable to businesses and provides a range of advantages for long-term money saving.

Components of a SIP Based System

SIP trunks are only a part of the elements of a SIP based VoIP system. It enables the connection between the office’s phone system and the VoIP service.

The equipment a business needs to invest in to build such a system includes:

  • Strong Internet Infrastructure
  • Modem and Internet router
  • VoIP software subscription
  • SIP provider subscription (VoIP and SIP provider can be the same company)
  • SIP Phone
  • Adapter

It is very important to note that SIP implementation and VoIP services depend on the strength and bandwidth of the Internet connection in place. A common problem with SIP since it is a rather new concept is that most infrastructures aren’t ready to handle the 'weight' of the system. Business owners need to contact their Internet provider and ask for an upgraded plan by mentioning what they need it for exactly, so they can be sure to have a stable connection for their VoIP system.

SIP Phone

SIP phones are similar to VoIP phones or IP phones and they are able to establish a connection with the software and place and receive calls over the Internet. Every SIP phone has an integrated transceiver, which is the main unit to make the connection. Placing a call on a SIP phone transforms it into a suitable format to run through the Internet and then when it reaches the recipient it lands on their conventional phone line.

SIP phones are also able to connect to the Internet via a wireless LAN (Local area network) and generally, they use only a computer as their network and don’t require any additional hardware.

SIP phones are able to place calls to other SIP- connected users or regular PSTN phones. If an employee is calling a customer who also has an integrated SIP network, the call is absolutely free, since both users use the Internet. However, if a SIP phone is trying to reach a customer who operates on the standard PSTN lines, the call is not free and uses SIP minutes to charge them.

Those minutes work on the same principle as with regular phones and are provided by the SIP provider. Some of them offer a service plan price depending on the number of free minutes included, while others emphasise on other factors in their prices and offer unlimited call time for subscribers.

SIP Phone

Types of SIP Phones

There are two types of SIP phones available, which operate and allow the same functions but are two separate kinds of solution.

  • Hardware SIP phone

This type of SIP phone is a regular phone set, but what makes it different is that it is able to transmit and receive IP based calls. It is connected to the data network of the office and operates similarly to every ordinary phone set to place calls. It can be a cordless or a wired phone, but it is not connected to a PSTN line.

Those types of phone sets can be costly, depending on the brand and integrated functions, but there is an alternative for companies with limited resources. A standard phone set can be 'transformed' into a SIP phone, by purchasing an analogue telephone adapter (ATA). The price of such an adapter is around £40, which can save the company some money if they already have an established system of phone sets. However, the cheapest SIP phones start from £60-70 and if the company doesn’t have an inventory of phones, it is a good idea to directly purchase a SIP phone since it enables some more features, such as an operating display or touch screen.

  • Software SIP phone

This type of SIP phone usage comes with a software application, that can be used on a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile phone, which have a sound card and a headset for making calls (earphones and microphone). This type of phone provides the same features as the hardware SIP phone but it is more flexible in terms of mobility and utilisation of different devices.

Benefits of SIP Phones

  • Cost saving

Businesses can eliminate their PSTN lines and phone provider costs by using SIP technology.

  • Scalability

SIP networks are designed to grow with your business and new trunks can be added or removed any time.

  • Mobility

SIP phones allow users to be reached at any location if Internet connection is present. Unified communications SIP phones combine voice, data and multimedia communications at one place, improving customer service and relationships with customers.

  • Feature-rich

SIP phones provide a wide range of features for improvement of communication means, such as conference calls, voicemail transcriptions, remote presentations and many more.

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