What is a VoIP gateway and how does it work?

What is a VoIP gateway?

A VoIP gateway is, at its simplest, a device – or bridge – that converts call traffic into data packets to be transmitted over the internet.  

This happens in one of two ways:

1. When the call traffic originates from a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and needs to be converted from an analog voice signal into a digital one. The digital signal is then compressed using what’s known as a ‘codec’ and broken into a series of ‘data packets’ that are transferred across the Internet Protocol (IP) network. 

2. When the call traffic originates from an IP network, then the VoIP gateway will decompress the data packets into a digital signal that’s then converted into an analog signal to be sent across the PSTN.

These data packets are the lifeblood of any internet call system as they dictate call quality – data packet loss can result in poor quality calls that frustrate employees and customers alike and can even have a negative impact on your business. 

With traditional phone systems, one call is converted at a time, whereas with a VoIP gateway, multiple calls are supported simultaneously, increasing call capacity for busy companies. 

VoIP gateway systems typically include the following features:

⚫ Voice and fax compression / decompression

⚫ Packetization and control signalling management

⚫ Call routing

⚫ External controller interfaces

Why was the VoIP phone late to the meeting…? It got hung up in traffic!

You can always tell when a new piece of tech becomes commonplace – the corny jokes start doing the rounds!

And it’s easy to see why VoIP has recently followed this well-trodden path given our remote ways of working since 2020. 

But what about a VoIP gateway? It’s perhaps a term that is less common right now but is likely to see increasing usage in the coming months and years as more and more companies continue to switch to digital phone systems and look for ever more efficient ways of managing call traffic.

In this article, we’ll set out what a VoIP gateway is, how it works, what the different types of gateway are, and how to set one up.

Man With Headphones using VoIP gateway facing computer monitor

VoIP gateways offer many benefits, the biggest of which is the ability to spread out and manage costs more effectively.  (Image credit: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels)

VoIP gateways have many benefits, especially for businesses transitioning from one type of call system to another. 

With VoIP gateways, you can, for example, migrate in phases, keeping your existing hardware in place to keep new costs down. By using existing equipment, you subsequently reduce training and set-up times for your teams.

The biggest benefit of a VoIP gateway is, therefore, one of cost. Changing over an entire office or organization to VoIP can be costly – in addition to the cost of new equipment, there’s the infrastructure and IT support costs to factor in too. With a VoIP gateway, however, these costs are more easily managed and can be spread out over a longer period of time – something most Finance Directors and CFOs will be very glad of!

Read next 💡

ringcentral logo

(Image credit: RingCentral)

We've listed the best VoIP services and best VoIP headsets available for businesses to help give you a head start in your search. 

Why not also take a look at our popular RingCentral VoIP services review or Nextiva vs RingCentral VoIP comparison? Or, if you're just starting out with VoIP learn the difference between VoIP and PBX.

What’s more, you can choose a VoIP gateway system that optimized for minimal or ‘Least Cost Routing’ by directing specific calls to the provider that will charge the least per minute.

In addition to this, VoIP servers can and often fail. VoIP gateways, however, have what are called ‘fallback’ modes that switch to the PSTN if the internet is down.

What a lot of businesses opt for nowadays is a ‘hybrid’ approach that combines on-site equipment with VoIP gateways. This enables them to get many of the advantages of VoIP while still retaining their existing infrastructure and equipment that they know to be reliable and familiar.

Oh, and watch out for what are called ‘Fully Hosted IPBX systems’ – they’re also a growing trend nowadays as they offer a full telecommunication system without the hassle of buying and managing additional hardware. However, if for any reason you lose your connection to the hosted IPBX, you lose the ability to make both internal and external calls.

What are the different types of VoIP gateway?  

There are two main types of VoIP gateway, analog and digital. 


As the name suggests, an analog VoIP gateway is used to connect your traditional analog telephones to a VoIP phone system, or to connect your VoIP phone system to the PSTN. These gateways are typically available for between 2 and 24 lines and come in two different forms, both of which often appear as ‘media gateways’ to:

  • FXS (Foreign Exchange Subscriber) gateway – used to connect your traditional telephones (and fax machines) to a VoIP phone system.
  • FXO (Foreign Exchange Office) gateway – used to connect your VoIP phone system to your PSTN lines.


Once again, the clue is in the name! Digital gateways are used to connect your VoIP phone system to your digital voice lines – either BRI ISDN lines (for Europe), PRI / E1 lines (for Europe), or T1 lines (in the US).

 Other terms it’s worth knowing about when exploring VoIP gateway solutions are:

VoIP GSM Gateway

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications and is used for routing IP, digital, analog, and GSM networks directly. With these devices, companies can take advantage of the ‘Least Cost Routing’ option that we mentioned earlier.

PSTN Gateway

A PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) gateway is a third-party hardware component that converts signalling and media between the Enterprise Voice infrastructure and the PSTN, either directly or through connection to SIP trunks (more on SIPs and SIP trunks here).

It very much depends on your existing phone system as to which gateway solution is best. If you’re currently running on analog, then you’ll need an Analog Gateway. If you want to upgrade on flexibility though, then you should consider a Digital solution. And if cost optimization is high on your priority list, then it’s worth exploring the VoIP GSM Gateway option.

How do you set up a VoIP gateway? 

IT helpdesk administrator in Black Suit Jacket Sitting at the Table

 Setting up a VoIP gateway should be done by your IT administrator or external supplier. (Image credit: Photo by ANTONI SHKRABA from Pexels)

The specifics of setting up and configuring a VoIP gateway will very much depend on the system you have. You’ll usually be able to find detailed instructions with your supplier either via their website or their support line. For example, beroNet, one of the most popular gateway solutions, explain their beroNet configuration process online. Or Grandstream, another supplier, has their own detailed set-up instructions for Grandstream gateways online.

The basic steps are pretty similar across solutions.

What you’ll need before getting started:

  • An internal telephone device with external connectivity through VoIP via the Internet.
  • The PSTN interface to a telephone network, with IP connectivity to an in-house VoIP phone system.
  • Both PSTN and VoIP interfaces externally.

Steps to follow to setup a VoIP gateway:

Step 1

Find and note the gateway’s network IP.

Log in via the device’s web interface and update your firmware to the latest version.

Assign a static IP and note it down.

Step 2

Configure the VoIP gateway in your admin or management console.

You can typically do this by clicking on ‘SIP Trunks’ and then ‘Add gateway’. Here you’ll be asked for details such as the model, number of device ports and main trunk number.

You’ll also need to add the hostname or IP of the VoIP gateway and any Direct Inward Dialling (DID) numbers.

Step 3

Once you have created the VoIP gateway connection, you’ll need to generate a device config file. Depending on your solution, that will either configure remotely or download a file to your computer. If the latter, you’ll then need to upload these to the gateway.

Step 4

Your final step is to create ‘Outbound Rules’ to route calls over the PSTN gateway. You can do this via the ‘Outbound Rules’ function of your device.

You’re all set!

If at any point you get stuck, then contact your gateway device supplier or IT administrator.

Final thoughts

The telecommunications world has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, with many businesses now relying on VoIP for their core operations. VoIP Gateway is additionally a common method for businesses looking to ease the transition to VoIP technology while still leveraging existing equipment and IT infrastructure. 

Pardon the pun, but it’s an excellent ‘gateway’ to a much easier and more efficient VoIP system that helps to reduce IT costs and keep your business running. What’s more, the benefits of VoIP gateways make them a smart choice when trying to spread out upgrade costs while still retaining a professional, high call quality system.

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What is VoIP jitter in VoIP phone systems? |Network jitter explained

What is VoIP jitter?

VoIP jitter, usually referred to as network jitter, is the time delay experienced by VoIP phone users between signal transmission and signal reception over a data network. During VoIP voice and video calls the audible and video performative effects of network jitter are usually seen as a loss of connection, glitches or ‘lag’.

VoIP jitter time delay

High quality data stream vs. same stream with jitter visualisation. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Do you recognize this situation?

“You’re currently number 23 in the queue.”

That’s my starting position as I begin the familiar, on-hold phone game with my gas supplier. Four and a half minutes in and waiting patiently. 

It’s not my position in the queue (down to position 17 now) that irritates me so much as the increasingly poor quality of the not-so-delightful hold music wailing in my ear. It’s choppy too, cutting in and out incessantly. 

Do I really need to speak to them today? Last time I was on hold for almost 48 whole minutes. I'd groan if I wasn't concentrating so hard on waiting to hear this sorrowful hold music stop. 

Oh, I could always call back. I won't though. I'm definitely not going through all of this again. Almost eight minutes now and my brain is starting to feel like a cheese grater. 

Woman is frustrated with customer service connection over VoIP phone

For some, the effects of VoIP network jitter are enraging.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

I can barely make out the audio, but it sounds like I’m now number 9 in the queue, progress! But of course, the longer I wait to speak to someone, the more dire the call quality becomes. Typical. Wait. Why does the hold music now resemble a toddler let loose in a Yamaha Music shop? 

“You’re currently number 7 in the queue. We're sorry, all of our customer service agents are busy at this time. Please continue to hold. ”

Honestly, if they’re going to make me sit and wait for this long, they could at least check the hold music and queue updates actually work… I can feel the blood pressure rising before I’ve even spoken with the poor customer service agent!

Why is network jitter important?

The scenario described above is precisely why combating VoIP network jitter is important. Being placed in virtual customer service queues with distorted hold music is enough to make anyone grouchy and grumpy. 

In this article, we look at how you can minimise customer irritation caused by network jitter on VoIP phones. Understanding VoIP jitter can help you increase customer satisfaction, minimise customer wait times and ultimately offer better customer service for increased sales. 

What we’re dealing with here is quite simple – Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) jitter, often called network jitter.

VoIP or network jitter is congestion generated by millions of internet connections that are all active simultaneously, and which effectively start to clog up the ‘routes’ they’re taking to get to their individual destinations.

The technical definition of VoIP jitter is the variability over time of network latency

Latency, in turn, is defined as the time it takes for one packet of data to pass along its route. Learn more about VoIP Quality of Service, how data packets work and what packet loss is.  

It’s important to know about and understand VoIP jitter because it ultimately has an impact on how your business operates. It can be the difference between retaining a customer and losing them. 

VoIP phone user stands on car for network signal

When you’re trying to close a sale the last thing you need is network interference.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Jitter is a common occurrence that affects online activities that depend on two-way, real-time communication. Examples include customer service lines, conference calls, IP security cameras, and more. Jitter problems can affect any network connection, but end users experience it most often on wi-fi.

❕ Example of jitter business interference:

Complain keyboard button

(Image credit: Future)

If your VoIP system connectivity is poor and your customer is being put on hold with crackly music and unintelligible muffled message updates, they’ll quickly hang up and start looking for alternatives, and alternatives often mean going with a competitor!

Thinking back to our data packets that transfer information along these communication lines, when packets arrive at different intervals, fluctuations result and voice packets end up being dropped. 

As VoIP converts sound into data packets, every packet matters. So packet delays can result in gaps in conversation or drops in sound quality. 

From an end user perspective, VoIP is particularly prone to jitter problems as people can perceive delays above 500 milliseconds (more on that below). 

Depending on the level of jitter, the sound can therefore be choppy or even incomprehensible – that cheese grater effect!

What is VoIP latency what does it have to do with network latency?

We mentioned earlier that the technical definition of VoIP jitter is the variability over time of network latency and that latency is defined as the time it takes for one packet of data to pass along its route. If you’ve ever tried watching a video over the internet that kept getting interrupted, then you’ll be familiar with this type of latency.

Example of network jitter, video buffering

Don’t worry it’s not your internet, this is an image to show the affects of VoIP jitter on data transmission.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to VoIP specifically, latency generally occurs in two ways:

1) The delay between a person speaking, and then the recipient on the other end of the phone hearing those words.

2) The time it takes for the VoIP solution to actually process and convert the voice information into data packets.

A bundle of optical fibres: Even fibre optic broadband isn't safe from VoIP network jitter.

Even fibre optic broadband isn’t safe from VoIP network jitter. (Image credit: Denny Müller on Unsplash)

It’s easy to see how this directly impacts the quality of the call, leading to those long pauses we all know and love and, of course, speakers interrupting or talking over each other. Latency is usually impacted by a number of different factors. These include:

Network hardware – some routers can only transmit data at limited rates.

Wireless interference – this is down to the distance between devices and the lack of stability that comes with a wired connection.

Network software and set-up – firewalls that are incorrectly set up, or quality of service settings that aren’t configured correctly, can delay the transmission of data.

Location – this is the most common cause of latency. The further away, the longer it will take to transmit that data.

Congestion – think of your network as a road and latency as the congestion caused by extra traffic. The more data that’s being transmitted, the slower it goes.

Luckily, measuring latency is pretty easy to do – it’s calculated using what’s called a ping test. A ping test is really simple. You carry out a basic data transfer test (a ‘ping’) and measure the time it takes for your network to send and receive this data packet. You’ll then be able to work out your latency using the below equation:

Latency = ping send time + ping receipt time in milliseconds (ms).

What are the different types of VoIP jitter?

VoIP jitter definition: (n.) The technical definition of jitter defines the variability over time of network latency.

Synonyms include: Network stuttering, bandwidth issues, network connectivity problems, ping delays and pings.  (Image credit: Future)

The ultimate goal is to eliminate any form of VoIP jitter – there’s no such thing as good or bad, high or low, as it all contributes to poor communication quality and negative business outcomes.  However, there are acceptable levels of jitter depending on the situation. For interactive video streaming, Skype calls and the like, jitter tolerance is low.

According to Cisco, jitter tolerance, packet loss and network latency should be as follows: 

  • Jitter should be below 30 ms.
  • Packet loss should be no more than 1%. (Learn more here on how to measure packet loss).
  • Network latency should not go over 300 ms (for the full ping send and receipt time).

However, if you’re streaming a Netflix video, i.e., the communication is uni- or one directional, then a higher jitter tolerance can be exploited.  As a business relying on VoIP for business-critical customer service activities, the lower jitter tolerance level is a good best practice to follow.

VoIP jitter, ping delays and network stuttering: understanding VoIP terminology 

There are a plethora of different words and phrases used to describe VoIP jitter. Very often, however, they all describe the same thing. This goes for ‘network stuttering’, ‘bandwidth issues’, ‘network connectivity problems’, ‘ping delays’ and even simply ‘pings’. 

On the face of it, this might seem irrelevant, especially if you’re used to dealing internally with other network and IT-savvy people. 

Diagnostic tip 💡

Understanding the different terms used to describe network jitter as a professional means you can identify and diagnose network problems in a flash, and troubleshoot them faster.

However, if you’re dealing on a daily basis with other company departments and even customers, then you’ll want to familiarize yourself with all the different variations and even come up with a common ‘dictionary’ that your company uses. 

It may appear trivial, but a huge amount of time can be saved if you’re all talking the same language and can therefore identify, diagnose and fix problems more quickly.

How to fix VoIP jitter

Use a jitter buffer

A jitter buffer is a device installed on a VoIP system to counter delay and latency.

The way they work is to delay incoming voice packets and store them for a short period of time. They can be configured to buffer traffic for 30 to 200 milliseconds, before the traffic is then sent on to the end user. This process ensures the data packets arrive in order and with minimal delay.

It’s worth noting that using a jitter buffer won’t fix everything. While jitter buffering improves VoIP call quality, it also increases the overall network delay. This is because the jitter buffer holds traffic for up to 200 milliseconds, adding latency to the service. 

In effect, they don’t address the root cause of the issue, only the symptoms. For more on how to prevent jitter in the first place, scroll down to the next section on how to prevent VoIP jitter.

Prioritize packets

Packet prioritization refers to a VoIP Quality of Service (QoS) setting that gives certain traffic types priority over others. 

The traffic you decide to prioritize will depend on which service you want to maintain or enhance the quality of. Typically, packet prioritization is only used when the service you’re trying to uphold demands constant high performance and is of critical importance to your organization.

If you choose to support VoIP calls, then you’ll need to make sure any packets containing VoIP data are given priority over other traffic types.

How to prevent VoIP jitter

Of course, the best way to stay on top of issues with VoIP jitter is to avoid it in the first place. Thankfully, there are a number of preventative measures that can be taken to do this, so you can avoid headaches later on down the line with irate employees and unhappy customers. 

Test your connection’s quality

This may sound simple but poor internet connection may be the biggest cause of your jitter issues. Some VoIP providers already offer speed tests. 

They are designed to show you the level of quality you’d expect to see when making calls through their platform. You can get in touch with your provider to see if they offer these tests and how they can help improve connection quality.

Use an Ethernet cable 

Ethernet cables are an uncommon sight these days but they’re actually a great resource if you’re not reliant on constant mobile working and are at a fixed desk for periods of time. 

Ethernet cables generally provide a much more powerful connection that wi-fi ones so you’re less likely to experience jitter.

Check your hardware

Even the most basic of networks now consists of a good number of hardware components. Think of your company set-up – it’s probably made up of physical firewalls, digital converters, physical network cables, modems, switches, wi-fi components… and that’s just for starters!

If any of this equipment is outdated, or worse, damaged, then it’s probably going to give you jitter problems. So it’s really important you ensure hardware is in top shape and as modern as possible.

Configure Quality of Service (QoS) and other settings

QoS settings are typically included in routers – they’re what you use to prioritize data packets. 

But beware with data packet prioritization: on the one hand you are improving your VoIP services, on the other hand other traffic may suffer, so settings should be configured based on the specific needs of your business. 

You should explore the other QoS settings available through your router to optimize your VoIP service.  

Don’t scrimp on a good router

Routers are so important that they deserve their own mention. A router is effectively the brain of your internal network, connecting together the other components to create a complete circuit. 

They provide both wired and wireless connections, and can create a massive bottle neck if they aren’t up to the job. Good routers also have those QoS settings we’ve talked about and that you’ll want to take advantage of depending on your business.

Use a VoIP monitoring tool

Finally, there are VoIP monitoring tools designed to give you in-depth insights into critical call and QoS metrics. 

This one from solarwinds has a range of highly advanced features, including VoIP call quality troubleshooting, real-time WAN monitoring and visual VoIP call path tracing. 

In other words, they go beyond simple ping tests to offer a fully comprehensive solution. They can even let you generate simulated VoIP traffic so you can monitor network quality during periods of downtime when calls are less active. 

Final thoughts

VoIP is fast becoming a business-critical system for organizations of all sizes. Events of the past year or so have accelerated the move to VoIP for a number of reasons and have meant that even the smallest of businesses now rely on it to maintain their day-to-day operations.

Read next 💡

ringcentral logo

(Image credit: RingCentral)

We've listed the best VoIP services and best VoIP headsets available for businesses to help give you a head start in your search. 

Why not also take a look at our popular RingCentral VoIP services review or Nextiva vs RingCentral VoIP comparison? Or, if you're just starting out with VoIP learn the difference between VoIP and PBX.

But as with any high-performance system, it does need a degree of maintenance and upkeep to ensure it supports business teams in the right way and to guarantee that customers receive an optimal customer experience.

We’ve all been there ourselves on the other end of the phone when jitter is occurring. Thankfully, jitter is easily fixed and even prevented. 

Cutting corners when it comes to your foundational VoIP and internet infrastructure is not recommended; taking the proper measures to prevent jitter and minimize latency to ensure your VoIP runs smoothly is a much better route.

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What is VoIP? A guide for businesses

What is VoIP? If you’re looking to set up a modern business phone system, then your research will no doubt have lead to you to VoIP phones, usually referred to in full as: Voice over Internet Protocol technology.

Did you know that “businesses that switch to VoIP reduce the cost of their local calls by up to 40%, and save up to 90% on international calls”? This is what makes VoIP worth learning about and investing in as business. 

Businesses that switch to VoIP reduce the cost of their local calls by up to 40%, and save up to 90% on international calls


Spending time understanding what VoIP is and how VoIP works can help you save a lot as a business long-term. Understanding this modern digitally-based business phone system is key to choosing the best VoIP services later on.

You've also likely run into the acronym SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol in connection with VoIP. In fact, navigating the world of  business phone systems can often feel like an alphabet soup of acronyms. In this article we'll only be looking at what VoIP is in detail, and how it works with SIP. However, you can learn more about SIP and its difference from VoIP in our article, SIP vs. VoIP: a guide for businesses.

What is VoIP?

First things first, what is VoIP and what  exactly does it stand for? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is essentially a digital phone service. Instead of sending audio through traditional phone lines, VoIP phone systems digitize your voice and send packets of audio over the internet. 

In some ways, VoIP is a lot like making a video call—except that you’re only sending audio, not video, back and forth.

As a cost-effective alternative to the traditional analog phone system, businesses enjoy significant savings with cloud based telephony systems like VoIP. With free quotes from the best VoIP phone providers, your business can too.

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Bonline mobile VoIP

(Image credit: bOnline)

We've listed the best VoIP services and best VoIP headsets available for businesses to help give you a head start in your search. Why not also take a look at our popular Nextiva VoIP services review?

Thanks to a rise in remote working and customer preference to contact businesses by phone, popularity for VoIP phone software and VoIP hardware is set to keep growing.

With VoIP phone systems, you can add as many phone lines as your business needs without having to bring in an electrician.

You can also integrate with software to automatically route your calls between departments or to keep a digital recording of every call that comes into your business.

What is SIP?

What is SIP? Well, not quite the refreshing summer drink you were imagining: SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. It's an open-source communications protocol that is deployed by VoIP phone systems to function. 

For VoIP business phone users, SIP is critical to initiating, maintaining, and terminating a phone call between two or more devices.

It’s particularly important to understand the word protocol in order to understand SIP. In this context, a protocol is a set of rules used by digital devices to communicate with each other. 

VoIP is a communications system, and SIP is a signalling protocol used to support that communications system.

Michael Graw

A protocol like SIP regulates how the exchange of data packets is synchronized between devices and how those data packets are interpreted.

The usefulness of Session Initiation Protocol isn’t limited to enabling VoIP business phone calls. SIP software can also be used to conduct video conferences, exchange instant messages, or distribute multimedia files and other data across global teams. 

SIP vs VoIP: What’s the difference?

Trying to compare SIP and VoIP directly doesn’t really make sense. Why? Comparing the two is like assessing a magician and their assistant side by side. 

One, VoIP, is the principal performer while the other is a support act. VoIP is a communications system, and SIP is a signalling protocol used to support that communications system. 

SIP is one way to deploy your VoIP phone system. It's favoured by telephony managers as it directly connects PBX (private branch exchange) users with public network phone users. 

VoIP business phone systems which use SIP rely on the protocol, to relay information between VoIP-enabled devices. You may notice SIP and VoIP have become somewhat synonymous, since SIP is easily the most widely used protocol for supporting VoIP communications.

SIP trunking explained

With a single SIP trunk, you can have as many incoming or outgoing phone calls as your business requires.

Michael Graw

To run a VoIP phone system using SIP, you’ll need a SIP trunk. If you're wondering 'what is a SIP trunk and how does it work?', panic not. A SIP trunk can be defined as the piece of hardware that enables all the SIP-enabled phones and devices in your business to connect to the internet.

If you're opting for a hosted VoIP service, your SIP trunk will likely located at a nearby data center. 

Or, if you are self-hosting your own VoIP business phone system, the SIP trunk may be installed as part of your business’s internal telephony network.

The great thing about using SIP trunks is that they enable you to connect an unlimited number of lines. Practically, that means with a single SIP trunk, you can have as many incoming or outgoing phone calls as your business requires. 

The most significant limitation on the number of simultaneous VoIP calls your company can handle boils down to your internet bandwidth.

Choosing the right hardware for SIP and VoIP

To run a successful VoIP business phone system based on SIP, you need to have compatible SIP hardware. What does compatible SIP hardware include? 

Individual desk phones, which must be SIP-compatible. Analog phones, for example, won’t be able to connect to a SIP trunk to make and receive calls. The same is true for office phones designed for a protocol other than SIP.

The good news is that since SIP is so widely used for VoIP phone systems, the majority of business handsets and other VoIP-enabled devices are compatible with SIP. 

So, you don’t have to spend a fortune to upgrade your business’s phones to a hard-to-get model. Always check to be certain.

The advantages of SIP for business

Why do so many VoIP providers and businesses use SIP as the protocol supporting their phone system? This protocol has become the most popular VoIP protocol because it offers a number of advantages over alternatives, including these:

✓ SIP is a highly flexible, integration-friendly protocol software

Data packets sent using SIP can be interpreted by other communication protocols, which opens the door for integration with non-SIP software. 

This allows VoIP calls running on SIP to be automatically recorded using third-party software, for example, or for businesses to integrate their digital phone calls with a proprietary internal app. 

SIP’s flexibility also means that your business is unlikely to run into compatibility problems if you change software platforms in the future.

✓ Quality-first, SIP processes VoIP call data individual devices

…is another reason why SIP is ideal for businesses, particularly enterprise-scale businesses. This benefit reduces the amount of network bandwidth being used by an individual call. 

So, you can have more employees making more digital phone calls without experiencing connectivity issues or poor call quality.

✓ The protocol of choice for VoIP

SIP’s popularity has also made it the protocol of choice for new VoIP phone systems. Almost any service provider that offers VoIP supports SIP-enabled handsets, so you’re free to switch providers in the future. 

You’re also unlikely to have trouble finding SIP-compatible software to expand the functionality of your phone system.

Black Rotary Telephone on White Surface

Analog phones cannot connect to a SIP trunk (Image credit: Photo by chepté cormani from Pexels)

Alternatives to SIP for business

SIP may be the most popular protocol for operating a VoIP phone system, but it’s not your only option. 

H.323 is another common protocol found in VoIP systems. In contrast to SIP, H.323 is built to work with both analog phone systems and cloud phone systems.

Most businesses shy away from H.323, however, because it’s difficult to implement and highly complex. And unlike SIP, H.323 is not compatible with a wide range of productivity software applications.

Other alternatives include Media Gateway Control Protocol (MGCP) and Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP). 

MGCP is somewhat complex and doesn’t support caller ID, which is a major drawback for many businesses. SCCP is a proprietary protocol used by Cisco, and the company has largely been phasing it out in favor of SIP.

VoIP & SIP Summary

It’s easy to get confused when asking the questions, what is VoIP and what is SIP? 

In short, VoIP is a type of phone system that enables you to place calls through the internet rather than through traditional, analog phone lines. SIP is a communications protocol that enables VoIP calling.

Why should you choose VoIP and SIP? While there are other VoIP protocols available, SIP is by far the most popular, for good reason. It enables VoIP-enabled phones to integrate with a wide range of productivity software. 

And with VoIP for business software and hardware options offering faster, more flexible communication styles it's no wonder VoIP is a favourite with multiple business sectors worldwide. 

SIP also reduces the burden that a VoIP phone system places on your company’s network so that your employees can make and take more calls without a drop in quality. Now that we've covered VoIP, dig into your next read: How to choose a small business VoIP phone service.

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