SIP and VoIP are two common communication protocols. Each has its own pros and cons, and they can sometimes be used together. Here are a few basics on what they are used for and how they might be able to improve productivity and reduce communications costs.

SIP Basics

SIP stands for “Session Initiated Protocol” and describes a communications protocol that can send multimedia and voice messages to multiple parties. Much of the processing load is taken on by individual systems called “user agents,” software that is located on an individual user’s system. This can help reduce the burden placed on a centralized service.

Since multiple systems are in charge of managing SIP messages, users gain access to much more bandwidth and computing resources. This can dramatically improve the performance of a collaborative session between parties connecting to a SIP system. SIP is a peer-to-peer system that can handle larger amounts of data traffic. This is why businesses turn to SIP if they need to transmit video or photo media.

What Are the Benefits of SIP?

  • Cost Savings – Using SIP can save businesses money in a variety of ways. Because implementing the system does not require any complicated software or hardware, setup is relatively easy and inexpensive. Additionally, with SIP, businesses no longer require Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) gateways, bringing communications costs down even further.
  • Consolidation – With SIP, businesses can merge all communications into one single system. Companies are constantly looking for simpler ways to do business; converging local, long-distance, and broadband Internet services help accomplish that goal.
  • Everything Local – SIP is particularly beneficial for global organizations that utilize an international phone service for a large volume of calls. The calls travel as IP signals and are not tied to land-based phone lines, allowing businesses to set up a local presence in multiple countries, no matter where in the world they are physically located.


VoIP Basics

VoIP stands for “Voice over IP,” which translates to voice communications over online networks. This protocol is most popularly deployed with services like Vonage, Microsoft 365 Business Voice, and Nextiva. For businesses, VoIP can be an affordable alternative to traditional landlines and cellular plans. However, VoIP hosts handle traffic differently than SIP systems.

VoIP filters, organizes, and directs traffic from a central network. This means that a VoIP system could be potentially overloaded with high amounts of traffic, which can affect the overall performance of the system. The single network system boasts strong security defenses since there are fewer points that handle communications. However, a VoIP network can become flooded with traffic, leading to lag times in communication.


VoIP and Business Communications

VoIP is a hit in the business world because of its ability to unify communications. Instead of limiting users to traditional business phone lines, VoIP enables free call routing through cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, and smartwatches. With VoIP protocol, visual communication is also possible, helping to avoid miscommunications in international calling, where language barriers may be a factor. In addition to unifying business communications, VoIP can effectively replace outdated PBX systems, allowing businesses to implement limitless phone lines and extensions without paying the overheads involved in equipment installation and maintenance.


Building a Global Presence with VoIP

Because VoIP service is not affected by distance, most VoIP providers do not charge additional fees for long-distance communications. By reducing the cost of international networking, VoIP has paved the way for a new era of virtual global business.

Virtual businesses often operate without brick-and-mortar business locations, using local VoIP phone numbers to recruit consumers from all over the world. For example, a U.S-based entrepreneur can utilize VoIP service to set up phone numbers in London, Paris, Hong Kong, Sydney, and hundreds of other consumer hotspots around the world. These virtual numbers create the impression that the entrepreneur has business locations across the globe when really he could be working from his garage. Most virtual businesses operate through a combination of web and phone sales, advertising via social media to generate consumer traffic while avoiding traditional business overheads.


VoIP and Business Travel

As well as improving office communications, VoIP has proven a valuable tool to the business traveler, enabling employees and business managers to stay connected to the office from anywhere in the world. As VoIP merges with Cloud computing, mobile offices are becoming a reality. Business travelers can now sign documents, receive client calls, access business data, and even receive faxes through any smartphone or tablet. Since all of these capabilities can be achieved through an advanced VoIP calling system, business travelers can get on the road without worrying about international calling fees or consistent computer access.


Ideal Scenarios

SIP tends to be preferred by companies with multiple branches or remote workers, whose employees rely on multimedia communications. This protocol is built to better handle heavy data flow, since processing is fragmented rather than centralized. SIP systems tend to be more difficult to set up and maintain, so it is recommended for companies with advanced IT knowledge.

VoIP is a very common business communications protocol, and it is not difficult to find telephone systems packages that offer VoIP communications services. This protocol can be ideal for small businesses with fewer locations that rely primarily on voice interactions.


Compatible Solutions


SIP and VoIP communications systems can be linked with toll-free phone numbers so that your call center can better handle inbound communication. Many enterprises and small business apps on mobile devices are also VoIP and SIP friendly. As you move forward with unified communication systems, you should work with your IT department to make sure your current hardware and software solutions are compatible with a SIP or VoIP setup. You also want to ensure that compatible third-party apps do not open your communications up to risk. While VoIP and SIP have many integrated security features, you can still accidentally introduce vulnerabilities, especially in an environment where employees bring their own devices.

Sit down with your leadership teams and IT department to discover the best communication protocols that fit your organization’s needs. They are meant to handle different types of traffic loads and communication styles. Both SIP and VoIP have their own benefits and shortcomings in various situations – you must get a handle for the protocols that work best for your customers, employees, budget, and workflow.