Isdn trunk

Keywords: small business, sme, telecommunications, isdn, sip
Description: Since 1988, most businesses have used Integrated Digital Networks (ISDN) for the provision of their voice systems.

Since 1988, most businesses have used Integrated Digital Networks (ISDN) for the provision of their voice systems. An ISDN works by providing the infrastructure for the simultaneous transfer of voice, video and other data across the infrastructure provided by traditional telephone circuit boards. This, however, is a system that is becoming ever more antiquated and being replaced by SIP Trunking.

It is formed from two expressions. The first, SIP, stands for session initiation protocol, the universally accepted standard for Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, which provide voice systems over the internet instead of over traditional telephone lines. This has allowed many enterprises across the world to migrate from having separate systems for their voice and data networks into having one that performs both functions.

The second, trunking, is a legacy term inherited from circuit-switched telecommunication and refers to a dedicated method of allowing many different telephones to share a limited number of lines.

Traditionally, this function was facilitated by a private branch exchange (PBX), which is an in-house telephone switching system that allows for the connecting of calls internally to the outside world and vice-versa. With SIP trunking this connection is performed virtually over the internet.

By combining the two, SIP Trunking is a service that connects a phone system such as a PBX with a Voice-over-Internet Protocol network instead of an ISDN. So, with many enterprises the world over making the switch, what are the pros and cons of your SME doing the same?

  • SIP trunking will allow your enterprise to join its voice and data services into one network so that it will no longer have to pay out for expensive ISDN rental costs.
  • The cost of making Voice-over-Internet Protocol enabled telephone calls is much cheaper than over ISDN infrastructure, especially for overseas calls.
  • If your business enjoys exponential growth, SIP trunking allows for the extra phones to be added without installing extra lines at great cost.
  • SIP trunking allows for the presence of cloud based call recording, enabling your enterprise to record calls, which can help protect against any legal and security issues that may arise.
  • Interactive voice response technology – that allows customers to interact with your company’s system for hosting calls via they keypads – is a lot easier to integrate into your services. This is ideal if your business has to deal with a high call volume.
  • If your enterprise is sales orientated, amalgamating web-based click to call into your company’s website can allow customers to instantly call relevant staff to help them with their enquiries.
  • There is no need to replace existing technology that is SIP enabled. If your PBX system was made in 2008 or later it will already be support SIP, if not then you will need to buy a little device called a SIP-ISDN Gateway that will act as bridge between your SIP trunk and the ISDN interface of your PBX.
  • By upgrading to SIP trunks now, your business will be primed to benefit from any advancement in internet protocol (IP) voice technology and be able to integrate them into operations with the maximum of ease.
  • As SIP trunking allows your business to export your existing number – even if you move premises – the end customer experience remains consistent.
  • ISDN infrastructure has been around for many years and is highly reliable and consistent, whereas SIP trunks require the use of a reliable broadband connection – something that not everyone enjoys.
  • Without access to broadband with a high bandwidth, the quality of the calls made within an SIP trunk network will drop significantly.

Although historically only the largest companies enjoyed budgets to enjoy access to the finest broadband, an increasing number of internet service providers (ISPs) are offering affordable, high-capability broadband. This is ideal for SMEs. In fact, if you don’t have business broadband, it is definitely something you should look into regardless of whether you opt for SIP trunks, as it has a myriad of other performance related benefits.

  • Because SIP trunking operates using IP based technology, it is subject to the same security risks associated with IP data traffic over the internet, including denial-of-service attacks (DoS attacks) and eavesdropping with the intention of accessing sensitive customer information.
  • Criminals are targeting unsecured PBX’s operating SIP trunks for a fraudulent activity called ‘phreaking ’, which aims to push through calls at a substantial charge for their financial gain.

The solution to counteracting these concerns is simply making sure that your business is aware of the dangers. When in search of an SIP trunk provider, make sure that they offer proactive measures for monitoring and recognizing threats as they happen.

Also, if your organisation handles sensitive customer information, you will need to implement access control and authentication schemes that work alongside your companies firewall to ensure there are no leaks and to improve overall security.

In terms of phreaking, you wouldn’t leave your house unlocked as it would be an easy target for burglars, therefore it is important to ensure your PBX and/or connected SIP trunk is safe and secure.

As with all businesses, the final consideration on the benefits of SIP trunks VS ISDN will come down to cost and, after taking into account the needs of your enterprise, there is a massive potential to save money by opting to change to SIP trunks.

Yet there are also further benefits, such as the ease with which it can be implemented without having to replace all your legacy equipment and factors surrounding scalability and being able to make use of further developments in IP voice technology.

Of course there are concerns to consider, however, making sure you have access to high-performing business broadband and taking every measure to be conscientious over security these can be easily negated. So, can you afford to be missing out on the mix of cost-saving, scalability and flexibility that SIP trunking can offer?

If you have any thoughts to add to the SIP trunks VS ISDN debate, please share in the comments section below.

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