SIP trunking use to grow by more than 100 per cent this year

SIP trunking use to grow by more than 100 per cent this year

The number of companies using SIP trunking technology to improve both their communications and cost effectiveness is set to grow by more than 100 per cent this year, it has been claimed.

Trefor Davies, council member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA), says that SIP sales have increased rapidly in recent months and he feels that there will be a time when the technology is the only thing companies look at when upgrading their connectivity.

Indeed, that prediction has already started to come true in Japan and The Netherlands, where firms have largely forgotten about old fashioned ISDN connections in favour of the new technology.

For those unfamiliar with the term SIP (session initiation protocol), it is a flexible and economic way of handling connections via voice, video and instant messaging.

Like VoIP (voice over internet protocol) it works via an IP connection and can cut the cost of business communications by as much as 50 per cent a year. It can also deliver a return on investment in as little as three months.

"There will come a time when only SIP trunks are purchased," Mr Davies predicted. "People are still buying ISDN lines and in the early days of SIP trunks a business would probably have both ISDN and SIP trunks, with one as a backup for the other.

"However as confidence in SIP trunks as a technology grows more and more business are connecting exclusively using SIP trunks.

"There is real incentive to do this as the cost savings can be enormous. SIP lines, by their nature, are also easy to divert to alternative locations in the event of problems at a specific site, power cut or closure due to severe weather for example."

Currently there are around 250 providers of SIP trunking services, but that number is growing rapidly as demand intensifies.

On top of reduced costs and increased flexibility, SIP calls can often also feature much better sound quality than that offered by traditional telephony systems.

Typically, there are two quality levels available, one which uses roughly 50kbps (kilobytes per second) and one at around 100kbps per call. As you can probably gather the 100kbps option provides a high quality service, but is usually a little more costly.

The type of connection available really depends on a firm's bandwidth requirements. Smaller businesses, with fewer lines may be able manage perfectly using a regular ADSL broadband connection.

Larger companies also have plenty of bandwidth available on their existing leased lines so are able to segregate off a small part for their voice, which again offers considerable further savings as there is no need to instal a dedicated data connection.

Set up is easy as SIP lines connect with the server in the same way that an email application connects to data held remotely.

As Mr Davies points out, one major benefit can be seen in the event of a disaster because SIP is independent of location restrictions and can be set up to work from another office.

"If a disaster happens at a particular office location it is very easy to redirect SIP calls to an alternative office. Moreover this is something that can be set up in advance so that the recovery from disaster is quick, if not instantaneous," he explained.

One company which is enjoying greater flexibility and cost savings thanks to implementing SIP services is the Japanese car manufacturer Honda.

Since installing the technology Honda has been able to lower its telecoms outlay by 45 per cent, but it has also been able to launch a scheme allowing some of its employees to work from virtually anywhere at any time using their company telephones.

With this in mind, it is easy to see why people are now beginning to predict that SIP trunking is the future of business communications.