SIP Phones: What You Need to Know

Graham Williams, VP-Business Phones, VTech
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Graham Williams, VP-Business Phones, VTech

Have you ever heard someone reference SIPphones and wonder what he or she is referring to? You’re not alone. The fact is, many people still don’t know what Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phones are all about and why to purchase them. But it’s best to start educating yourself now on the technology, because adoption is increasing fast, and you don’t want to be left playing catch-up.

First things first, what is SIP? In essence, SIP is a specific communications protocol that enables VoIP (Voice over IP)and is used for managing multimedia communication sessions. In addition to voice, SIP can be used for video conferencing, instant messaging, media distribution and other applications. The protocol was developed and standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The SIP phone is quickly becoming the topchoice for hosted and cloud-based services for customers thatchoose not to own an IP private branch exchange (PBX) system.Eastern Management Group, a research and consulting firm, expects that by 2019, 76 percent of outbound call traffic will be SIP, compared to about 30 percent today.

So why the uptick in SIP phones? For business owners, they offer a lot of benefits in comparison with proprietary vendor desksets. Here are a few:

• Wide variety of options: When buying SIP phones, business technology purchasers have a large selection to choose from. Gone are the days of being limited to one PBX vendor because it was the only one building desksets that supported its proprietary signaling. With SIP, you aren’t tied to one specific PBX vendor; you can choose from a number of models from a variety of brands.

• More cost-effective: A little competition never hurt anyone, and, in this instance, it actually has led to lower and more competitively priced products.

• Unified communications support: SIP is necessary for enabling unified communications applications. For instance, if you have remote employees working on mobile phones, SIP allows them to transfer calls from their mobile phones to laptop-based softphones without dropping them. (SIP trunking is needed for this advanced feature.)

• Vendor-neutral: In theory, a SIP-compatible phone can operate on any vendor’s PBX system that supports SIP signaling. If you have multiple offices and each office uses a different vendor’s PBX, you can swap sets among them—no problem at all.

The benefits of SIP phones are undeniable, so if you’re considering upgrading or switching out your business’ telephony products, SIP-based VoIP phones are an option you shouldn’t overlook. I’d encourage you to evaluate VTechErisTerminal™ SIP phones, which complement the office environment with advanced features that increase office mobility and connect all employees with ease. By adding ErisTerminal SIP phones to their networks, businesses can consolidate systems and cut costs, without losing key features or access to top-of-the line technology. ErisTerminal enables connectivity and collaboration for remote workers, teleworkers and different branch sites right away.

I’ve only scratched the surface of SIP phones in this article, so if you’d like to dive a bit deeper and understand how to select a SIP phone, check out a recent whitepaper by Jon Arnold (sponsored byVTech) – Key Considerations for Choosing SIP Phones –for additional information.

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