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VOIP vs SIP | Tata Tele Business Services


Summary:With its increasing accessibility and cost-effectiveness, Internet telephony has become a useful technology for businesses. It is reliable and offers a host of calling and conferencing features. While both VoIP and SIP are digital communication channels, it is good for users to understand exactly what they are, how they differ, and which suits their requirements better.

Business communication today goes far beyond voice calls. Although phones are still critical to connecting with clients, vendors and stakeholders, the workforce in any organization also uses emails, instant messaging apps and video conferencing tools for a more effective exchange of ideas and data. Such needs are increasingly driving businesses to adopt flexible IP-based transport mediums and communication protocols.

With rapid technological advancement, there has been an upsurge expansion in the available options enterprises have in business phone systems. Over time, more and more business organizations are changing their preference to more integrated options like VoIP for cost-effectiveness. Also, the answer to ‘what is the full form of VoIP and PRI” is simple. VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and PRI stands for Primary Rate Interface.

For some business enterprises, it’s the right decision to switch to internet-based phones. However, using only VoIP will not be a robust solution for any business organization in today’s digitized world. A unified communications approach is what is benefitting multiple businesses nowadays. This approach extends its support for mobility, conferencing, text, voice, and other communication forms.

It’s common for any new business organization to wonder about the key difference between SIP and VoIP and which is the best option for them. For those enterprises that don’t know, SIP calling full form is Session Initiation Protocol.

If you are considering new phone systems and wish to know which between SIP and VoIP is a better technology for your enterprise, here are some points that will help you make a choice:

SIP and VoIP: Not the same ideas

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is an overlay protocol riding over an IP network that can be used in any telephony application.

Voice over IP (VoIP) is the name given to the technology that establishes voice conversations over an IP medium. Essentially, VoIP uses SIP as a protocol to establish communication. This communication can be between device-to-device (CUG), app-to-app (CUG) and from app or device to any PSTN phone.

A critical difference between VoIP and SIP is their scope.

VoIP is a broad term that may be used to refer to any voice call made over the Internet instead of traditional phone lines. It needs data connectivity and not a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) connection to transmit voice packets. VoIP & SIP are used interchangeably with terms such as digital telephony, IP telephony, Internet telephony, broadband telephony, voice over broadband and IP communications. All of these describe the fact that VoIP is used to transmit voice signals to another telephone.

SIP is a powerful communication protocol that enables calling on IP-based phone lines. It is just one of the signalling protocols used to enable VoIP. A SIP trunk is digital and can be plugged into an Internet Protocol private branch exchange (IPBX) to start communication operations.

Technically, SIP defines the messages sent between endpoints, and it manages the establishment, termination and other essential constituents of a call. SIP can be used to transmit data between two or multiple endpoints.

In addition to voice calls, SIP also enables instant messaging/online chats, video conferencing, media sharing and other web-based applications.

If you are connecting an IP-PBX to a PSTN provider to route PSTN calls, this connection is termed as SIP Trunk. It then depends on the law of the land, which defines the transport medium of this connection. In India, if you are connecting to a BSO, the transport medium has to be private in the form of an MPLS or P2P link. If you are connecting to a VoIP provider, the transport medium can be the public Internet and can only be used for outgoing international calls.

SIP vs. VoIP: Key Comparisons

It’s crucial to understand that VoIP is a networking term that can be used to depict any internet-based phone service. In contrast, SIP is used for several types of VoIP deployments as it’s a well-functioning communications protocol. In the 1970s, VoIP technology had established its roots, but it received immense popularity as one of the most effective business technologies in the last decade.

Any phone call that has been made over the internet but not the conventional telephone lines is broadly classified as VoIP. Despite using the PSTN or public switched telephone network, the voice packets are transmitted using data connectivity in VoIP calling.

In VoIP applications, SIP is used as a communication protocol to start, maintain, and implement multimedia communication sessions. The signaling and control of messaging, video and voice applications are all supported by the SIP protocols.

Below is a comparison table of SIP-VoIP for your better understanding.

S.No. VoIP SIP
1 VoIP full form is Voice over Internet Protocol. Whereas SIP is abbreviated for Session Initiation Protocol.
2 It can handle both messages as well as voice calls. While it can handle all media types.
3 It is less flexible. It is highly flexible
4 It relies on the devices that provide the internet. It doesn’t rely on any other device.
5 It is a layer 3 network protocol. It is the application layer protocol
6 It is associated with separate and severely identifiable technology. It is associated with signaling protocol for manipulating the technologies.
7 It is compatible with the internet. It is also compatible with the internet.
8 For handling complete operations, it uses only a particular system. For handling entirely different operations, it uses multiple systems.

SIP Trunk vs. PRI: Know The Differences

When understanding the differences between SIP and VoIP, it’s crucial to have an insight into SIP trunk vs. PRI too. One of the key differences between SPI trunk and PRI is that PRI (Primary Rate Interface system) ensures a robust physical connection to the PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network. In contrast, a virtual connection is established to the PSTN with a SIP trunk.

In North America, a PRI trunk is considered a T-1 connection, which means a single line with 23 voice channels. A copper wire is used to transmit these channels as electrical signals. Also, for making the voice connections, a circuit-switched model is used. Over the existing fiber or ethernet connection, a SIP trunk transmits voice calls as data. Moreover, VoIP telephony is supported by a SIP trunk, and the SIP trunk makes connections by using a packet switching model.

SIP And VoIP: How They Work Together?

VoIP is an extensive term referred to a collective group of technologies, which are generally used for making internet-based phone calls. The messages sent between the VoIP endpoints are well-defined by the term SIP. Whether it’s media transfer along with voice calls, messaging, or video conferencing, SIP supports all.

A SIP trunk functions as a virtual phone line while utilizing a packet switch network for connecting calls. A SIP trunk consists of SIP channels, which in turn works as individual calls. Typically, there’s no limit for the exact number of channels on a SIP trunk, but your carrier plays a key role in it.

Users receive unified communications with SIP calling or SIP trunking due to the SIP-enabled PBX or Private Branch Exchange. PBX provides several services like voicemail, call management, and more. The user won’t have to depend anymore on the legacy traditional telephone lines as the public telephone network is connected to the SIP trunk. This enables the business enterprises to choose the IP-PBX software and hardware ideal for their needs and ensures much higher flexibility that was previously absent with conventional telephone lines.

Choosing between VoIP and SIP for your business

While VoIP can be availed via any Internet telephony service, SIP is a specific protocol. As per your business priorities, you can choose VoIP in isolation (deployed through any IP technology) or VoIP with SIP

Subscribing to VoIP in isolation

The benefits that your enterprise gets from choosing a ‘VoIP only’ service include:

  • Monthly cost savings with predictable and flat-rate billing
  • Ease of installation and portability of VoIP phones between workstations
  • Availability of features such as caller ID, call waiting and call forwarding even with basic VoIP plans
  • Flexibility to use the service without long-term service contracts

On the other hand, the limitations of a VoIP only service are:

  • Need for sufficient Internet bandwidth to run the service
  • Service support on a best-effort basis
  • Ensure security as PBX might get exposed to the public Internet

Subscribing to VoIP with SIP

When you choose the SIP technology to deploy VoIP for your business, you get benefits such as:

  • Multimedia-ready communication including voice and video
  • Efficient failover mechanisms including call preservation
  • Flexibility and cost-effectiveness to scale, enabling the organisation to “pay as you grow” as per changing needs
  • Web portals for ease of call monitoring and management
  • Low costs of maintenance as there is no special hardware/equipment involved and reduced circuits
  • Ability to integrate with the other legacy PBX and ISDN systems for investment protection and to build a hybrid phone system

SIP does not have any particular limitations per se, other than the fact that it also requires sufficient data connectivity bandwidth to support call quality. It is advisable to deploy SIP over a private or a dedicated circuit like an Internet leased line (VOIP trunks) to get the most out of SIP communications and maintain a high security level for them.

What businesses need to understand is that a comparison between SIP for BSO-based PSTN telephony and VoIP for Internet-based telephony is not fair. SIP is an industry-standard methodology to deploy VoIP, and it is preferred as a deployment method due to the ease of scalability it brings for VoIP communication.

When you opt for SIP, your organisation gets a cost-effective technology for voice calls along with other features such as lesser post-dial delay, incoming call control and caller tunes

At Tata Tele Business Services, we offer SLA-backed SIP trunk solutions with ease of scaling up and down in multiples of ten channels. Our SIP system is a low-maintenance option to make the most of your IP PBXs along with the benefits of business continuity and simplified call management.

Final Words: Knowing The Right Choice For Your Business

If you’re wondering which is the right choice for your business - SIP or VoIP, you’ve most likely considered switching the internet-based phone systems for the business. Although there’s no question of direct comparison, the question you may need to ask for your business is whether using Unified Communications tools for SIP implementation is ideal for your business agendas or if using VoIP-only phone services is the best fit.

When compared to VoIP vs. SIP, it’s preferred by many businesses and considered far better to look into VoIP vs. UCaaS. To understand whether UCaaS is the right choice for your business, you must consider several factors like your willingness to use multimedia communications tools and your budget.

Your business may possess a strong use case for SIP adoption if it has pre-existing collaboration apps or technologies which fall under the component categories of Unified Communications. VoIP capabilities are triggered and enhanced by SIP. These capabilities extend beyond just voice calls by enabling your business enterprise to exchange forms of data such as files, videos, and messages over the internet.

For most businesses, switching directly to SIP and Unified Communications is an effective solution. It will help them with productivity gains and cost-efficiency. So, choose the best option and take a step forward to rapid digitization for making your business a hit in the fast-paced digitized world.

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