Making the Move from PRI to SIP Trunking?

Posted on September 21, 2020

There is clear trend in that businesses are moving away from primary rate interface (PRI) and towards internet protocol, which includes leveraging session initiation protocol (SIP) trunking as a key communications solution for business connections.

The global SIP trunking services market continues grow and is expected to reach a market value of $35.5 billion by the end of 2030, according to Transparency Market Research. Topping the list of reasons that businesses are migrating away from PRI and utilizing SIP trunking services are improved reliability, flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

To effectively understand the key benefits of using SIP trunking, it’s important to understand the differences between PRI which is the legacy method, and the modern approach to communications services using SIP trunking.

A PRI is the legacy method of providing telephone service to larger businesses with a digital private branch exchange (PBX). PRI operates within the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) specification for transmitting voice and data between a network and a user. It’s based on the T-carrier (T21) line consisting of 24 channels, 24 for voice and one for signaling. For the business user, this equates to 24 lines for phone service and a limit of 24 concurrent channels, hooked up directly to the telephone company’s central office.

SIP trunking, on the other hand is an application layer protocol similarly used to transmit voice and data between a network and a user. SIP supports the standard call processing functions found in the public switched telephone network (PSTN) for IP-based networks.

SIP trunking establishes virtual voice circuits configured and delivered over an internet connection. Used in conjunction with an IP, PBX or traditional PBX with an IP gateway, businesses gain a much more robust replacement for traditional PRI or analog circuits at a fraction of the cost. Outside of dramatic costs savings, SIP also enables businesses to digitize their communications, unlocking a whole suite of features that were previously inaccessible on a PRI system.

The transition from PRI to SIP trunking clearly offers a breadth of benefits, but how can businesses evaluate SIP trunking providers and determine the best fit for their business needs? Consider the following factors when making a move from PRI to SIP trunking.

Enhanced quality and reliability

Voice quality is one of the top benefits when switching to SIP trunking, so this should be a top consideration as businesses prepare to migrate to SIP trunking services. Evaluate the service providers and carriers that leverage software and cutting-edge technology to reduce the latency and minimize the jitter of a call.

In addition, telecom service providers should have the capability to research, analyze and diagnose problems in the event of degradation in call quality. Once the problem has been identified, an effective SIP trunking service provider should be able to assign a new inbound route to complete the call successfully.

Increased flexibility

SIP trunking is designed to be a flexible, more user-friendly alternative to PRI. Some providers understandably model their systems after traditional telecom providers, limiting enterprises both in terms of capacity and functionality.

However, by definition, SIP trunking should provide businesses with the freedom to configure their system to meet specific needs and simplify the overall management of their telephony environment. Further, it’s critical for businesses to ensure their selected carrier is not limiting their capabilities.

Improved cost-effectiveness

As expected, cost-effectiveness is a key motivator in making the transition to SIP trunking. According to a report from Gartner, SIP trunking lowers enterprise telecom expenses by up to 50 percent. In fact, this significant decrease in cost often displaces “anytime, anywhere communications” as the key catalyst to making the change.

While businesses are focused on reducing spending, it is important to find a cost-effective solution that does not dramatically impact service and call quality. SIP Trunking service providers who are effective at finding the delicate balance between cost and performance are typically software-centric carriers.

Executing a successful transition

In addition to these key benefits, businesses need to ensure the SIP Trunking provider they select has the following key features before they make the move. Without these capabilities and features, businesses run the risk of a disjointed transition with increased complications.

  • A self-service portal that provides complete control over a business’ telephony system.
  • The ability to instantly provision a SIP trunk and be live as fast as a business can configure its IP-enabled PBX.
  • A reliable failover plan in the event of a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack or network outage to limit downtime.
  • The ability to easily purchase and activate direct inward dialing (DIDs) and toll-free phone numbers.
  • Automated porting capabilities to reduce the headaches of switching providers.
  • Proactive fraud monitoring to protect customers from telecom hackers.
  • Real-time reporting for immediate insight and analytics.

Businesses that are eager to improve reliability, quality flexibility and cost-effectiveness when it comes to their communications solutions should strongly consider making the transition from PRI to SIP trunking. With the right carrier and communication service provider (CSP), the transition should be simple and streamlined, while providing the business with many benefits.