To SIP or to VoIP? That is the question…
In recent years, the increasing reliability and accessibility of internet telephony has made it an initial choice for many businesses. Users find that it delivers a high quality communication experience, while allowing them to reduce their communication costs. With the rise in remote working the popularity of internet telephony software is set to keep growing. Here we examine the pros and cons of two vital telephony protocols, SIP and VoIP, how they are connected, and what they could mean for your business.
As with many areas of technology, internet telephony tends to be overrun with acronyms, so let’s begin by explaining that SIP means Session Initiation Protocol and VoIP refers to Voice over Internet Protocol. Still leaving you head scratching? You are not alone.
SIP is a particularly powerful and efficient communications protocol. It is often used by companies with numerous branches or remote workers because it allows people to communicate globally via the internet using their computers and mobile devices and it can carry all forms of media including voice, data, and video.
However, to maintain a good quality voice call and be able to receive concurrent phone calls, you need to have a good amount of bandwidth. In addition, SIP systems tend to be more difficult to set up and manage and so are better suited to companies with strong IT support, such that we at HPN can provide.
VoIP is essentially a digital phone service, in that VoIP phone systems digitise the user’s voice and send packets of audio over the internet. VoIP is an increasingly common business protocol and is particularly useful in small businesses with only a few locations. Initial investment costs for VoIP are low, plus systems are highly portable and do not require on-site installation.
But as with SIP, VoIP requires sufficient bandwidth for service availability and sufficient call quality of service (QoS). VoIP-only service cannot support multimedia communications and some of the more basic packages may not offer mobile integration or mobile apps.
An important difference is that, whilst VoIP sends only voice messages, SIP can carry all forms of media, including voice messages. This means that as well as phone calls, SIP users can conduct video conferences, exchange instant messages, or distribute multimedia files and other data.
There are differences too in terms of hardware. VoIP handsets and SIP handsets also vary (although it should be noted that a SIP handset is also a VoIP handset). In order to make or receive calls, a VoIP handset must be connected to a live computer. Whereas a SIP phone only needs a modem in order to work.
SIP systems can handle large amounts of data and traffic as its users have access to much more bandwidth and resources. VoIP, on the other hand, tends to operate from one central network. This means that while large amounts of traffic can cause the VoIP system to become overloaded, its single network system, with fewer points of communication, can offer stronger security defences.
SIP vs VoIP - which is best for you?
The most useful way to answer this question is to ask which phone service best meets your business needs. Do you require a voice-only VoIP phone service, or is a SIP solution with a broader range of communications tools a better fit?
However, it is not always easy to understand your options or evaluate your needs when considering a new telephone system for your business. So it makes sense to gain an independent audit of your current telephony demands and your longer term needs. This is where we can help. Start the conversation today by calling our High Performance Networks team on 028 9053 8411. Whether VoIP or SIP, we’ll help you find the system that’s right for your business.