SIP Calling 101: What It Is, How It Works, And Who Will Benefit From It
Have you ever noticed how, when you’re invited for a Zoom call, it also lists a SIP virtual number? That goes to show how powerful and widely-used SIP is.
And with the rising popularity of SIP and what you’re able to do because of it, companies like Telnum let you enjoy what SIP makes possible.
For now, we’re going to focus on SIP calls. Significantly, we’ll help you:
- Understand SIP calls
- Create a broad understanding of how it happens
- Decide if it’s something you’ll benefit from
However, before we go through all that, you must have a rudimentary understanding of SIP.
1. A quick overview of SIP
Session Initiated Protocol (also called SIP for short) is what makes online communication happen. What it does is create and send signals so that you can start, change, and end voice and video calls (as well as other messaging modes like instant messaging and texting) online.
Developed in 1996 and standardized in 1999, SIP is still widely used today because it’s designed to be timeless. Other protocols are used on top of this one, but while others become outdated, SIP remains.
To work, SIP will need to know these five things:
- Location of the user
- Availability of the user
- Device ability of the user to take certain types of communication
- Setup of the session
- How the session is managed
2. SIP Calling: What is it?
Many make the mistake of thinking that SIP calls and VoIP calls are the same. This is not the case at all.
Let’s air out the confusion first. In the more practical sense, they do seem to be the same thing because:
- They both can handle different communication modes, including video chats, voice calls, instant messaging, and many more.
- They use relatively similar technologies to work.
- The result for users feels the same.
But here’s how (and why) they’re different: SIP calls use a SIP trunk or line to establish communication. There are specific routes used to make the call within the same SIP address.
Plus, SIP calls don’t always need the internet to work. What makes it confusing is that it may use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to run your calls over the internet.
3. How do SIP calls work?
On both users’ end, SIP calls don’t seem so different from calling over the phone. But if we look over how the call happens, it’s how it becomes different.
Typically, the method can be divided into two steps: signaling and media streaming.
Your SIP service provider will send a small data packet to both of you to establish the call. This is how it goes, regardless of the SIP address of either party.
b. Media streaming
If the user you’re calling has the same SIP address, media streaming doesn’t have to go through the internet. It will be handled through the LAN.
However, if it’s to a different address, the internet provider of both you and the receiver will get the voice data.
That’s it! Because of how simple it is, you can liken it to calling using telephone lines, only that it’s free.
All connections where SIP calls are run typically to prioritize voice data over anything else.
So while you can still download software or watch videos over YouTube, their upload and download speed may be compromised to ensure SIP call quality.
4. Is SIP calling for you?
There’s only one person who can know that for sure. And that’s you! Here are a few factors that you may look into:
The price you’re willing to spend on communication.
Because of SIP calls, you don’t have to pay by the minute or at all. SIP calls are free. But if you stick with the old, antiquated system, you may be charged hefty rates, especially for international calls.
How much you rely on online collaboration
If you have employees in different locations, collaborations can be challenging and expensive if done the traditional way. SIP calls make sure that you can maintain the quality of communication to promote efficiency.
How flexible you want your communication system to be
Even if your company is in the process of expansion, you can rely on SIP. Costs barely increase despite needing more lines to accommodate your growth.
Whether it’s for business or personal use
SIP calls are most beneficial to businesses who want to separate their business calls from personal calls.
Whether you want centralized communication or not
Having SIP calls means you don’t have to switch channels for communication continually. This makes it more comfortable for your employees to collaborate and be more productive.
We’ve found that larger enterprises aren’t willing to switch due to fears of interrupting the service and the associated costs. They’ve already invested so much in traditional phone lines too.
But the longer it takes for you to make the switch, the more costly it will be in the long run. SIP calls are a must for businesses of all sizes who value the fruits of smart and effective communication with their employees and clients.