If you blinked, you may have missed it, but some of the biggest news in the telecomms world was recently delivered from BT Openreach which announced that it will be switching off its ISDN (Integrated Service Digital Network) in 2025. Openreach suggests that existing customers will automatically be reassigned to a single IP (Internet Protocol*) core network. Is this the best option though? Considering that there are currently 3.2 million active ISDN networks in the UK, the probability of Openreach's decision impacting on your organisation looks likely; careful consideration is now key.
So what of VoIP and SIP? Whilst ISDN - digital transmission via copper lines - was once 'fit for purpose' could these new contenders in the alphabet soup of communication solutions reap any significant rewards for your establishment? The answer is simple, yes. But first, let's distinguish VoIP from SIP.
The term VoIP stands for 'Voice Over Internet Protocol'. It is a broad term which covers any phone calls made over the internet, as opposed to traditional phone lines, otherwise known as TSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Other terms that are used interchangeably with VoIP include IP Telephony, Internet Telephony, Voice Over Broadband and IP Communications (to name but a few variants). They all describe the fact that the internet is used to digitally transmit a voice signal to another telephone or endpoint.
The terms encompass a group of protocol technologies, including propitiatory ones, like Skype Protocol and open standards of which SIP is an example. VoIP is typically deployed in conjunction with an application, such as Skype or Google Talk, with IP enabled PBX hardware or via a hosted VoIP service.
Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) is a communication protocol that is widely used for managing multimedia communication sessions, such as voice and video calls. SIP is therefore one of the specific protocols that enables VoIP; it defines the messages that are sent between endpoints and it governs establishment, termination and other essential elements of a call. SIP can be used for video conferencing, instant messaging, media distribution and other applications.
Essentially, there is no SIP versus VoIP; SIP is simply an industry-standard method of achieving VoIP.
While 2025 may seem an age away, it should be appreciated that ISDN is fast becoming a legacy technology; organisations who wish to remain ahead of the game need to turn their attention to the many and varied benefits of VoIP/SIP trunking. Technology and alphabet soup to one side, the following simple table shines a spotlight on the obvious advantages:
If you're still not sold on the advantages of VoIP/SIP trunking, call us today. Alternatively, if you wish to switch to VoIP/SIP, get in touch with us and we will arrange a survey to establish your organisation's needs...
*The set of standards responsible for ensuring that data packets transmitted over the internet are routed to their intended destinations.