Entries with tag sip .

Why You Shouldn't Buy a New PBX

When people think of office phone systems, they often imagine one that has a rack of switches in an equipment room and a hierarchy of desk phones; typically, the desk phones range from the cheap and simple to the ones with extra buttons and a screen for the switchboard.  These phone systems are known as Private Branch Exchanges (PBX) and to route and transfer calls, you have to learn arcane combinations of numbers and symbols.  Furthermore, if you have to move someone's number to a new desk, you need a specially trained technician.  If you’re still using one of these older analog systems, you should be aware that the world has moved on.

Modern phone systems use a computer protocol called SIP and are much more flexible.  For example, you can take your office phone wherever there’s an Internet connection—simply plug it in at home or in a new office and it’ll work.  Additionally, you can use your mobile phone as an extension on the office phone system.  Another benefit of SIP is that you can click on a person's name to transfer calls, learn who’s calling, and see who is available to receive the call.  It’s also possible to ring all of your phones at once—including your mobile.

The old-style systems typically cost a lot up-front and tied users into a hefty maintenance contract—at least their basic phones were cheap.  The new systems can be rented by the month from a cloud system provider.  Another alternative is to buy a relatively inexpensive SIP box.  This gives you the option to make calls from your laptop and smartphone.  Or you can simply buy a modern digital phone with a nice big screen.

If your company has outgrown its PBX, don't be tempted to buy a bigger one—you can always mix and match with an SIP system for a while.  And when considering a new phone system, watch out for the supplier who tries to sell obsolete technology that comes with an expensive maintenance contract.

What SIP Can Do For You

SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) is a communications protocol that was originally designed for the Internet back in 1996.  It works with other Internet protocols to create the technical underpinnings of Unified Communications.  In essence, SIP ensures that voice, video, text messaging and screen sharing all work together, creating a seamless communications experience.

SIP is great if you want to collaborate easily with people in other locations.  Additionally, SIP enables calls to be directed to the right person—allowing for faster decision making and happier customers.

Another key benefit of SIP is presence.  For instance, it allows you to see whether the person you want to talk to is available, an enormously helpful feature.  Also, you can set your SIP presence to display as available or busy; set the system to call all of your phones at once or define the order in which they are called; and create rules to treat calls uniquely depending on where they originated and what time they were received.

Although your SIP phones have to be smart, fortunately, there are multiple options.  For example, you may choose to buy SIP desk phones.  Alternatively, you could use an app on your smart phone or a client on your PC as your SIP phone.  While SIP isn’t often mentioned in marketing, most modern business phone systems are based on it.  Instead, you may hear a business phone system referred to as a Unified Communications system or a hosted PBX or IP centrex.

The products that are most widely described as SIP products are SIP trunks; these connect your voice systems across the wide area network.  Your business can rent SIP trunks from most carriers as a cost-effective alternative to voice lines.  You can also interconnect SIP systems by carrying the calls as prioritized traffic on an MPLS network [1].

SIP is the technology behind flexible and cost-effective communications systems that help staff and customers stay connected and productive.  Contact us for a no-obligation analysis to find out whether SIP systems would benefit your organization.