Hosted PBX vs. SIP Trunking—Weighing Your VoIP Options

SIP trunking or hosted PBX? That is the VoIP implementation debate. 

Both are viable approaches when looking for a VoIP solution, which is the only problem. It’s up to you to decide which makes the most sense for your business. 

As is true for any business technology decision, it’s important to know both sides of the story—the pros and cons of SIP trunking and hosted PBX. 

When Does SIP Trunking Make Sense for VoIP?

SIP trunking services act as a gateway so you can move your on-premise PBX to VoIP. 

With SIP trunks, connecting on-premise equipment to an internet telephony service provider; you can replace legacy primary rate interfaces (PRI) or analog lines and enhance your current system with the typical VoIP features (automated attendant, voicemail, automatic call distribution, call transferring, and more). 

Keeping your communications system on-premise comes with a few distinct advantages as you transition to VoIP:

  • Call Quality Benefits: While many SIP trunking providers use the public Internet for connectivity, you could potentially connect via a dedicated link for improved reliability and security. 
  • Control Lies with Internal Staff: Rather than relying on a third-party to maintain your business communications, you can leave control in the hands of your trusted IT staff. 
  • Support for Large Companies: SIP trunks are often priced according to the number of concurrent calls that can be made. If you’re staffing a massive call center, there’s predictability in deploying VoIP for so many users. 
  • Cost Savings Compared to Legacy Systems: Combining audio and video over the same data link and pooling phone lines across locations mean you can save money as you scale VoIP services in a large business. 

Even if these benefits seem valuable, you can’t plan a move to VoIP with SIP trunking if you don’t have a dedicated IT staff. You’ll need experienced  IT personnel to manage bandwidth demands and troubleshoot inevitable issues on-premise. 

Not only that, but SIP trunking comes with significant CapEx demands as you implement an on-premise phone system with local hardware. If those upfront costs are too much or a challenge to manage your business, hosted PBX might be more appropriate. 

When Should You Consider Hosted PBX?

Hosted PBX is a complete communications solution. Once the hosted PBX is connected to your PSTN, the service provider takes care of the management tasks that SIP trunking demands of internal staff. 

The benefits of hosted PBX include:

  • No Internal Expertise, No Problem: For many small & medium-sized businesses, employing an experienced IT staff just isn’t possible. With hosted PBX, many processes such as adding or removing users can be taken care of from a simple web interface.
  • Focus Solely on OpEx: With hosted PBX, there’s no on-premise equipment to purchase. Saving on the upfront costs can help you budget for the ongoing subscription expenses of a hosted PBX provider.
  • Simplified Scalability: Hosted PBX offers simple scalability (up or down) for virtually unlimited numbers of users.
  • Advanced VoIP Features: With hosted PBX, you have access to advanced features like video conferencing, CRM or Email integration, and mobile support depending on the vendor you choose.

As you look at these benefits, just keep in mind that the service is entirely reliant on your internet connection—if you haven’t invested in strong connectivity, the whole system could suffer. 

Hosted PBX vs. SIP Trunking—It All Depends on Your Situation

It would be nice if there were a simple answer to the hosted PBX vs. SIP trunking debate. However, the reality is that both are viable options for companies of all sizes.

When in doubt, consider your internal IT staff—can they really handle the additional responsibility of supporting VoIP if it’s kept on-premises?


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