Hosted PBX Vs SIP Trunking and Which One Should You Have For Your Business

Hosted PBX Vs SIP Trunking

The business world is shifting towards hosted PBX. From $ 4.19 billion in 2017, it is expected to exceed $ 9 billion by 2023 t a growth rate of 14.9%. North America accounts for the biggest share at 57%. It is interesting to note that 30% usage is by tier 1 companies and 40% by tier 2 which means there still is potential in the market for hosted PBX solutions. For those wishing to take the plunge one question to decide is whether to go the hosted PBX way or the VoIP SIP trunking way.

Hosted PBX and VoIP SIP Trunking

The end result is the same: you enjoy a host of VoIP communication features such as phone calls, SMS, text, audio-video chat, and conferences as well as email. The difference is in the way VoIP communication is set up.

Hosted PBX solution means your VoIP services are cloud-based with a VoIP service provider in charge of the entire infrastructure like SIP servers and supporting software. You connect through endpoints. Endpoints in hosted systems comprise of IP handsets, softphones and also the microphones/video cameras you will use for audio-video chats and conferences. The software you use is in the cloud and users simply log in and start communications either through SIP phones or softphones on desktops or mobiles. You get to use standard PBX features such as call transfer, call hold, direct inward dialing, voicemail, conferencing, email, and others.

VoIP SIP trunking means you have the entire infrastructure in-house including the hardware VoIP Gateway/server/proxy set up plus on-premise software. The endpoint is the IP PBX through which you can use mobile/desktop softphones, desktop SIP phones, and PSTN phones through the ATA. You have granular control over software modules and permissions. SIP trunking handles various functions such as locating users, determining the capability of the end-user system, establishing, managing, and terminating call sessions and selecting the end system for a call session.

SIP or session initiation protocol manages the task of connections and terminations besides a host of other functions including codec handling.

The pros of hosted PBX Solutions

Given the advantages of hosted PBX solutions it is not surprising that many businesses small and large, and even startups, prefer it.

    • There are minimum upfront investments in software and hardware, space to install such equipment and setup. All you will need is some SIP phones, desktop computers, routers, microphone headsets, and cameras.
    • You can be up and running in less than a day. If you shift office premises there is no disruption of communications.
    • You do not have to worry about maintenance and upgrade of software and equipment – the provider takes care of it.
    • Services are modular so you can pick and choose.
    • Built-in redundancy ensure you are not affected by any disruption or power outages
    • The biggest benefit is you can use the hosted PBX from anywhere and even through mobiles.
    • You can scale up or scale down and pay as you go only for components used.

There is a flip side too:

    • “Running” costs are higher. You could end up spending a lot more over a period of time, especially if yours is a large enterprise.
    • Quality of service may be variable, depending on internet speed and the vendor.

Pros of VoIP SIP Trunking

There are benefits to having VoIP SIP trunking in-house:

    • You have a choice over software and hardware components.
    • The IP PBX and SIP server become part of the local IP network and run as an application.
    • SIP trunking can replace landline phones or even include them in the IP PBX through ATA devices.
    • Quality of service may be far better depending on your hardware, software, and internet connection. SIP trunking is ideal for larger enterprises employing more people with the need for higher concurrent calls.
    • Opt for VoIP SIP trunking to add to existing PBX and you have enhanced functionalities such as voicemail, text, IVR, call routing, recording, multimedia, and video chat/conference facility even as you retain existing PSTN lines.
    • Inherently better security.

On the flip side you face these issues:

    • Need to upgrade system hardware and software on an ongoing basis, entailing additional expenditure.
    • Pay for maintenance and upgrade of infrastructure – hardware and software upgrades are expensive. These costs can add up to a substantial amount over time.
    • Limited scalability, limited by the hardware PBX capabilities. Channels are limited and if you increase channels or DID numbers you pay correspondingly higher fees.
    • It is not easy to shift the system fast if you change the location of your business
    • You may not have that vital “any time, anywhere” access facility. You may have to pay to use third-party tools.

Which one for you? Hosted IP PBX or SIP trunking?

For small businesses and startups, the hosted IP PBX solution is the best. You have agility, mobility, and a host of features you can switch on or off as may be required and pay only for what you use. You do not need hardware or software or maintenance engineers. Even larger enterprises will find the pros of hosted IP PBX attractive and if it is multi-tenant hosted IP PBX then you have more control and flexibility to set up operations across different branches. VoIP SIP trunking is ideal only if yours is a well-established large enterprise with PSTN lines you still wish to use and yet enjoy the benefits of VoIP communication facilities. Some experts are of the opinion that it is better to dispense with the local PBX and opt for hosted IP PBX, connecting your existing PSTN to the hosted solution, which the provider may agree to do.

Mobility and remote work are the keywords in today’s business environment. In this context too, the hosted IP PBX comes up trumps. Just pick the right provider, link it with your CRM, layer a mobile app into it and you are good to go, regardless of where you are located.

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