PRI vs. SIP Phone Solutions for Business

PRI vs. SIP – Cost-Effective Solutions For Any Business Size

​When you are considering phone service for your company, you have a number of options. You've already decided that a modern approach to telephone services for your business is right for you, but you still have decisions to make. Two of the most used options in today's variety of business phone plans compare favorably against the selections of yesteryear: PRI (Primary Rate Interface) and SIP (Session Initiating Protocol), both of which connect a business phone system to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). Both PRI and SIP offer cost-effective solutions for businesses of all sizes.

What is PRI?

PRI is a high-capacity, circuit-switched system with a physical, dedicated channel for telephone communications that can also work in tandem with an existing, PRI-enabled PBX. A PRI circuit is a single connection that carries voice transmissions and comes into your telecom or server room to provide telephony to your business.

PRI business services give your company multiple phone lines, with up to 23 simultaneously active calls, making this option perfect for businesses with up to 100 employees with moderate call volume. Scaling service is straightforward—and when your PRI phone system needs more capacity, additional PRI lines give you 23 more channels each when added. It's not uncommon for companies to have two or more PRI lines to handle their calling needs.

With a PRI phone system, you'll enjoy guaranteed quality of service because PRI phone system circuits typically have guaranteed bandwidth; the PSTN always prioritizes voice calls over other types of traffic. PRI business services are a smart, cost-effective, and reliable option for your company.

What is SIP?

Because it operates over Internet Protocol (private network or the public Internet), a SIP phone system can send and receive phone calls and other communications from any location with such a connection. SIP business services can connect to on-premises PBX systems as well as provide phone numbers to traditional office phones as well as software applications that can run on other devices than a traditional hand set such as computers, tablets and smartphones and other individual phones/devices—often with additional features not available with traditional telephone services. Scaling is a matter of obtaining more SIP trunks (virtual connections) as needed, or increasing bandwidth.

For best performance with a SIP phone system, you'll need a solid Internet connection with plenty of bandwidth. Calls are handled on the Internet like other data—which eliminates the need for long distance; however, SIP calls are not given priority over emails, web pages, instant messages or other Internet traffic. Although costs can be much lower, and there are a wider range of features typically available, SIP call quality can be subpar at times if the public Internet is leveraged due to the "unmanaged" nature of the Internet. However, SIP business services generally prioritize voice traffic so consistent performance can be expected, offer companies great flexibility for their employees, particularly telecommuters and travelers, since a user's phone number can travel along with them.

Business Phone Plans Comparison: How to Choose Between PRI and SIP

Now that you've learned the basics of PRI vs. SIP, how do these business phone plans compare? Both offer flexible, scalable cost-effective options.

Choosing between PRI and SIP depends largely on your unique business needs. Many companies typically over subscribe employee extensions to a PRI channel at a 4:1 ratio. Meaning four employees for each voice channel. With PRI, while you get guaranteed call quality for your PBX system and you would need to purchase additional PRI lines (at 23 channels each) if you need to expand beyond 23 simultaneous inbound/outbound calls. With SIP, you get immense flexibility to connect to mobile devices.

It's also possible to combine both services into a hybrid solution that gives your business the best of both worlds. By combining PRI and SIP for PSTN connectivity based on your hardware needs, you can keep your telephone and data lines separate to maintain Internet bandwidth for other use, while still offering flexibility and features for mobile users. Your company will keep the PRI's call quality and security as well as benefit from integration of remote locations, ease of adding new users and infinite scalability.

Contact Cable ONE Business today to learn more about our PRI trunk services.

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