SIP Trunking vs. PRI – what is the difference?

With the continuous rise of VoIP and improved Internet connections, more and more businesses today consider a switch from the traditional legacy PBXs running on PRIs to the fairly new SIP Trunk-based IP PBXs.

A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is a telecommunications interface standard, basically the correspondent of SIP Trunks in traditional networks. A PRI consists of 23 channels (concurrent calls). Its correspondent in VoIP technology is the SIP Trunk, which connects an IP PBX with the outside networks.

Scalability. A SIP service allows the allocation of individual channels. This means that if a business only needs 5 concurrent calls, it has the possibility to order as many as needed instead of buying a bundle of 23 channels that will not be fully used. Also, a PRI is dependent of location, so if your business has multiple locations, you would need to buy a PRI for each location while SIP Trunks can be shared and allocated dynamically to multiple sites.

Flexibility. With the new technology behind SIP Trunking and IP PBXs, businesses have more features to choose from than with a legacy PBX running on a PRI, customizing their PBX settings according to their needs.

Stability and availability. Traditional phone lines have always been appreciated for their high stability, while in case of SIP services this has been a concern. However, what you also need to consider is the fact that if your PRI fails, the traffic cannot be moved easily to another location. With SIP Trunks, a backup server can be set up to take over the traffic at any time, allowing for a fast recovery in case of an outage.

Price. One of the main reasons SIP Trunking is chosen by businesses is the savings brought by VoIP technology. From traditional PBX equipment to long distance calls, traditional telephony is an expensive technology compared to a VoIP PBX and a SIP Trunk. The increased flexibility of SIP Trunks also results in significant savings by allowing businesses to buy exactly the quantities they need.

Deployment. With a PRI, things are pretty simple when it comes to installation, since most of it is in the hands of the phone service provider. When considering to implement a SIP Trunking solution, we’re talking about converting your voice from hard wire into a network-based service, which require some additional security measures to avoid hacking (such as installation of firewalls) and some network upgrades preventing quality issues (implementation of QoS and stable, faster Internet connection).

Unified Communications. Automation and integration are some of today’s main goals of many businesses who are looking to streamline their activity by combining voice and other business applications into a single Unified Communication solution.

So, which is the better solution out of the two? There is no correct answer for this question unfortunately, as everything depends on the needs and preferences of a business. However, there seems to be an increased preference for SIP Trunking, mainly thanks to the significant savings it brings and the numerous opportunities to create a truly customized business phone system.sip-trunking-vs-pri-what-is-the-difference-bottom