Insights & Resources4 min read

SIP Trunking vs VoIP - What's the Difference?

SIP Trunking and VoIP are related, but not the same. Here's everything you need to know.

Brian Segal
Employee talking over SIP Trunking and VoIP
SIP vs VoIP is not a direct comparison, as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Voice over IP (VoIP) are heavily intertwined but are not the same thing. Understanding the nuances between the two will give you an advantage when building out your business’s communication solution.

Sip Trunking and VoIP Overview

VoIP is a group of technologies that allow for sending and receiving of voice messages over the internet, and SIP is a technology that supports VoIP.
More specifically, VoIP describes the method of delivering voice communications over the internet rather than using traditional phone lines and includes any phone calls made using the internet. With the increasing popularity of broadband, VoIP has become a popular choice for businesses.
SIP is one signaling protocol used to connect the participants in a VoIP call, and it’s the most common. Essentially, a SIP trunk acts as a virtual phone line and uses a packet switch network to connect calls. A SIP trunk then has SIP channels which act as individual calls. SIP also supports video conferencing, messaging, and media transfer in addition to voice calls.

VoIP Alternatives to SIP

While SIP is the most popular protocol, it is just one of the protocols that allows VoIP to function, so it is not the only option. You can absolutely take advantage of VoIP to avoid PRI lines, even without SIP trunks. VoIP can be used alone with a hosted PBX to manage it or with other protocols that can be used instead of SIP such as H.323 and Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP) or proprietary protocols like Skype Protocol. Below we explore the options of using VoIP alone and pairing it with SIP Trunking.

Pros and Cons of VoIP Only

Using VoIP alone is something that can be leveraged to great effect by many businesses. It is a low cost solution that is easy to implement and use without a long-term commitment.
Pros of VoIP Only
VoIP can be leveraged on it’s own as a simple, low cost solution for voice communication. The main benefits include:
  • Low cost to get started with continued savings and flat rate billing.
  • VoIP systems do not need an on-site installation and are easy to move.
  • Long-term contracts are not required for most VoIP providers.
Despite its ease of use, there are some limitations to be taken into consideration when using VoIP by itself.
Cons of VoIP Only
While using only VoIP certainly has its draws, it is often not a robust enough solution for many businesses. Some things you may want to think about:
  • VoIP requires sufficient bandwidth to maintain call quality.
  • It lacks support for multimedia communications and is limited to only voice.
  • It lacks integration with commonly used third party applications.

Pros and Cons of SIP with VoIP

While using VoIP alone has definite advantages, it can be enhanced by using SIP. You can increase both scalability and versatility with SIP, adding multimedia communications and more. While there are many reasons to leverage SIP, like using VoIP alone there are also drawbacks.
Pros of SIP Trunking
There are many advantages to using SIP for your business. While using VoIP alone has its advantages, the flexibility of SIP makes it a great choice for many companies.
  • Very scalable, SIP is not only limited to voice so you can expand into video, messaging and more.
  • Frequently has built-in integration with commonly used software for increased productivity.
  • Can be integrated with PRI lines for a combination phone system that best suits your business.
  • Very flexible with pricing by allowing for additional features and lines as needed.
Cons of SIP Trunking
While the versatility and cost savings of SIP make it a great solution, like using VoIP alone, it is not without its drawbacks.
  • Requires sufficient bandwidth to to maintain service quality.
  • Not all SIP providers offer the same features or quality of service, so you will need to make sure you are choosing the right one for your business.
  • SIP can have issues with both quality and security if used on the public internet.

Which is Best for You?

If you are looking to switch to an internet based phone system understanding SIP vs VoIP will allow you to pick the best solution for your company. The comparison isn’t direct, but if you are deciding between a VoIP only solution and SIP trunking, the best place to start is to determine whether your business will be effectively serviced by voice only or if you need a more robust solution.
VoIP offers a cost effective, easy to implement voice only solution. This can be enhanced with SIP, offering more flexibility and a unified communication solution by offering multimedia communication in addition to voice. SIP is a great tool that can both cut costs and improve productivity for your business.
Looking to get started with VoIP? Learn more about VoIP and how it can help your business needs by talking to a Telnyx expert.

About Telnyx

With Telnyx Elastic SIP Trunking, users can count on carrier-grade quality and low latency communications. Our portal and APIs allow you to build your own, scalable solution with highly configurable features for better control over all elements of your calls, including cost.
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