It’s been deemed the modern alternative to business telephony systems, SIP trunking is quickly overtaking ISDN, but what is it and how can you make the transition? In short, SIP is a public IP-based service that runs session initiated protocol (SIP) lines.
Merging voice and data, SIP trunking provides a more economical option to businesses and sets a higher standard for other business telephony services. And the great news is, swapping to SIP trunking couldn’t simpler as your hardware stays intact, the only thing that changes is the way you connect to the outside world.
Our goal is to help organisations like yours make the transition from traditional and ISDN telephony systems to SIP trunks more efficient. We know that planning is key. So, we have written this quick how-to guide to help you take the first steps towards modernising your communications system.
Step 1: Plan Your Project Scope
Your current communications provider can offer the best indication of what your business should expect in terms of scope. It’s often possible to transition the entire system in one move. Optionally, a phased transition – branch by branch or perhaps floor by floor – might be the best option.
Remember, it’s possible for SIP to work alongside ISDN, so switching shouldn’t cause unnecessary and costly downtime. When determining your budget, there is no reason to expect any significant disturbance to your business. All tests and checks can be conducted in a controlled environment, around your normal business activities.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Current System and Anticipate Future Needs
Evaluate your current infrastructure and your network capacity. Does it meet your needs? If not, what does your current system lack? Here are a few questions your SIP provider may ask.
1. What is the available bandwidth on your existing data connectivity?
This information is helpful in determining if additional or dedicated connections are needed to carry voice traffic. If you don’t know the answer to this question, no worries! Your provider can use a tool to measure your current bandwidth usage.
2. Is your current call-flow what you’d like it to be?
If so, you are not alone; this is a common complaint from ISDN users. With SIP trunking, you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to update your system, improving call management and overall efficiency.
Tip: If you happen to have diagrams of your current call-handling system be sure to share them with your provider.
3. Are you interested in business growth and scale?
Discuss your future goals and objectives with your provider. One of the most impressive capabilities SIP trunking offers over ISDN is the ability to scale the number of lines based on your precise needs.
Step 3: Install Your New SIP System
One major improvement over ISDN is that SIP trunking requires less equipment and infrastructure. Because there is less hardware to be installed, stored, and maintained onsite, you can expect installation to be faster and future expenses regarding upkeep of the system to be minor and easily outsourced. As we stated earlier, SIP works right alongside ISDN during the transition phase. So, there is never really a disruption in your telecommunications and thus no costly downtime.
Step 4: Test Test Test
Unlike ISDN, a fully modern SIP-based communications system has the flexibility required to integrate seamlessly with business applications such as Skype for Business, other video conferencing, CRM tools, and open source solutions. It also employs the most up-to-date onboard resilience and business continuity features. Your communications provider will test each third-party software, platform, and service thoroughly before going live, ensuring that your SIP trunking is working precisely as expected. While, your communication provider’s staff and your in-house IT team may be busier than normal, other employees shouldn’t notice any disruptions.
Step 5: Take your SIP Trunk Live
After your system has been tested (and tested again) it’s time to fully switch over. This stage may sound worrisome, however, if you have followed the above procedure, there will be very little uncertainty at this point.
Thanks to the streamlined technology used in SIP, the planning phases will take longer than the actual installation. Depending on your organisation’s needs, you could possibly migrate from ISDN to SIP within one month, one day, or just one hour.