What is a SIP Trunk?

David Byrd : Byrd's Eye View
David Byrd
Chief Marketing Officer for ANPI

What is a SIP Trunk?

The answer to this question continues to evolve and is influenced by one’s understanding of either telecommunications or packet switching. I like to begin first with the definition of SIP or Session Initiation Protocol. The session is not just about voice but can also be used for many forms of sessions involving the Internet. The protocol allows SIP endpoints (phones, computers, applications, etc.) to discover, locate, negotiate and create sessions. The sessions can be VoIP, call control, instant messaging, presence, video, gaming, mobile or many other applications or services. Although, the original protocol specification has often been eluded to as a recommendation and hardly a standard, SIPconnect 1.1 removes much of the variability associated with SIP. This release of the protocol improves interoperability between the various endpoints and SIP stack implementations continuing SIP on the path to fulfill its destiny of being revolutionary.

ANPI SIP Trunking ProductFew in our industry deny that SIP has succeeded in becoming the protocol of choice for session management and given the much reduced cost of providing VoIP using SIP, few deny the tremendous cost savings. However, as we communicate SIP and SIP Trunking to a market without technical IP savvy, ANPI and other SIP Trunking service providers may as well be inhabitants of a tower of Babel. SIP, concurrent call session, talk path, channel, trunk, latency, jitter and many other terms associated with VoIP and SIP are not commonly used by our target market, SMBs. Even some of the benefits often listed as reasons for buying can be unclear or unknown to most SMBs. The most often used benefit is cost savings over traditional phone service. However, even that can become mired in an educational session if TDM versus IP is mentioned or the discussion leads to the need for IADs, routers, or an IP PBX to support native SIP. None of these words are part of the common vernacular of most SMB decision makers.

Wikipedia describes SIP Trunking as “… a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications to customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX) and Unified Communications facilities.“ Good luck with using that to clarify what a SIP trunk is and why a small business owner should want one.

Whenever I hire someone from outside our industry I am reminded of the complexity of our industry terms and acronyms. It is very important to use terms that can be easily communicated by our sales teams and understood by our target market. Cost savings, avoiding service interruptions, anywhere access, consolidation of services, remote presence, phone line replacement and many other terms are better suited for non-technical people.

We have made great strides over the last 5 years to market, sell and install SIP Trunks and SIP associated technology and applications. As an industry, we need to continue to develop marketing collateral, articles, case studies, etc. that educate using as little jargon and few industry specific terms as possible. A vast market awaits our SIP Trunks. Communicating with it may be our only barrier.

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