So, here you are.
You’ve set up a business.
You’ve faced competitors.
You’ve overcome boundaries.
You have learnt the finance-gibberish, and you’re even fluent in tech mumbo-jumbo.
But now you have something new to wrap your head around:
SIP and VoIP phones.
So, what is a SIP phone? And what is a VoIP phone?
Wait, there’s a difference?
We know how hard it is to run a business.
And I know how hard it is to juggle your business’ needs with finding new tech.
My client even set out to find the perfect phones for their business.
One of my clients was lost in technical terms, and confused by the benefits and costs of each respective system.
And when they worked which kind of phone to go for, my client then had to pick out an actual phone!
All that time they could’ve used for supporting our business was lost to complicated explanations, and computer companies.
But in the end, I found the solution to my client's business needs.
And I want to save you the time I wasted on working out SIP and VoIP phones.
So, in today’s article we are going to discuss:
- The relationship between SIP and VoIP phones
- The main differences between the two
- The benefits and costs of each
- Which one will suit your business best
And by the end you should be ready to make your decision.
Check out the FAQs to help you find your way.
Read More: Wikipedia on SIP Phones
Before you work out which will adapt to your business best, you have to know what the phones actually are.
VoIP - or Voice Over Internet Protocol - is when you make or receive phone calls over the internet.
SIP - or Session Initiation Protocol - is an application layer protocol.
Or, in simpler terms: it allows you to establish, modify and terminate multimedia sessions.
Still with me? Good.
Because here’s where it can get confusing.
VoIP and SIP are both ‘internet telephony’, and are often considered the same.
But they are not the same.
And even though technically they are different, SIP phones can host VoIP phone calls. SIP is just a communications protocol that can be used to transmit VoIP calls.
This is known as SIP trunking, which creates a bridge between VoIP and the public phone network.
When you aren’t SIP trunking - and you’re just using VoIP - this is known as ‘hosted services’.
This means you won’t have to worry about maintenance or management of the system; that’s up to the vendor.
So, to find the right phone for you, we must either see SIP as a component of VoIP calls or as an alternative.
And it's for this reason that a comparison can feel pointless.
But when it comes to finding a match for your business, working out which one suits you doesn't seem so futile.
So, now we know what the phones are.
And we also know that in some ways VoIP and SIP overlap, and that they will therefore suit different needs better.
But aside from defining the technical terms, we also need to define the differences.
Only then can we work out which phone will suit you and your business needs best.
|VoIP phones||SIP phones|
VoIP is not a discrete technology.
It is actually a family of technologies used within modern telecommunication.
SIP is a signalling protocol under the VoIP umbrella.
VoIP phone can only send voice messages.
And it today’s world, you need to be ready for any form of message.
Can send a much wider scope of messages including voice, data and video content.
VoIP protocols cannot interact intelligently with other protocols.
Your tech needs to be able to adapt to the rest of your system.
SIP can interact within other protocols.
This means it can adapt to match the client system, making it much more flexible and scalable to your needs.
VoIP phones must be connected to a computer to make or receive phone calls.
The computer also needs to be switched on.
SIP phones can perform without a computer.
If your internet goes down, you won’t miss a minute of business.
Plus, if you can use VoIP on SIP phones too, your options are definitely open.
But you’re a business owner.
You don’t take decisions lightly.
You don’t go through with things that might not maximise your success.
And it’s for this reason that I’ve brought together the advantages and disadvantages of each phone.
Believe me, I know the volume of information can be overwhelming.
And this is why I’ve compiled it here to make your decision that much easier.
Read More: Wikipedia on VoIP Phones
We all know how confusing tech can get.
To help you find the perfect match for you, here are all the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP phones:
First up is its low cost.
From low initial investment costs to flate-rate bills, it’s a cheap option if you struggle to save.
To ensure your phone calls are at a high quality and service availability, you will need bandwidth.
Plus, as a portable system it doesn’t need to be installed on-site, saving you time that you can put to what you do best.
Also VoIP’s integration with other multimedia is certainly lacking.
Some VoIP phones might not even integrate with your mobile phone, let alone apps like Microsoft Office.
And this is a must have to keep on top of your business.
Most providers even offer unlimited minutes of usage!
This is because VoIP is limited to voice transmissions, reducing your usage.
And when it comes to hosted services, you don't have control over the security of your data, the customisation of the VoIP phones, and the feature upgrades.
The vendor is in control of the phone.
So: has VoIP convinced you enough to become a loyal customer?
Will this be adaptable to your business and its changing needs?
Or are you looking for something more advanced to suit your needs?
As VoIP is voice-only, you might not fit into the 21st century.
The Pros and Cons of SIP phones
So you’ve heard about VoIP.
Now it's time to consider its alternative.
As SIP trunking communicates digitally, pricing can be cheaper and easier for businesses. Monthly fees, for example, are calculated per person.
This way you can keep tabs on your costs, and save as a team.
As an up-to-date piece of tech, it can cost you more than you’d want to spend.
But if you choose to consider it an investment, you might turn that cost into a benefit!
Plus, it provides flexibility to you, the customer. You can purchase your own must-have features and add lines as you need them.
You won’t have to adapt to this phone.
It’ll adapt to you.
Unfortunately, you will need quality bandwidth for quality service.
In fact, the service quality provided by SIP vendors varies.
One of the most convincing arguments is how SIP can improve VoIP phones:
It can take this out-of-date tech back to the present, making it multimedia worthy.
Security is important to you, right?
If you use SIP on a public internet service - and not on a dedicated fibre-optic internet service - you might be putting your quality of call at risk.
Oh, and your data.
And your information about your business needs to be protected.
You won’t need to download or understand software.
With most SIP providers offering mobile administration, you don’t have to wait or try and work out the problem.
Help comes to you.
Speaking of complex tech: you can actually exchange files and data over the internet, putting it streaks ahead of VoIP phones.
When it comes to SIP trunking, the vendor is responsible just for the connection.
Basically, they give you a dial tone. You do the rest.
You are in control of the PBX.
Not sure what a PBX is? That’s the problem.
You’ll need a team in to decide the features you want, and who manages it.
So, has SIP changed your mind?
Are you looking to keep up with changing technology?
And are you willing to make an investment to support you and your business’ needs?
Read More: The Differences Between SIP and VoIP
You’ve worked hard.
You’ve worked really hard.
And you will do anything to protect all of that hard work.
So, as with any decision, you have tread carefully.
Read More: VoIPon Review 
Will my business be able to adapt to the phones?
Will either fit my budget?
Which one will benefit my business more?
All of your questions are to be answered.
And guess what?
All you need to do is know your business.
Here are the 4 questions you need to ask yourself before you even look at the phones:
What are my business needs?
Your business always comes first.
We know that.
So working out your major needs always comes first.
But lucky for you, most phone companies have already thought that one up!
Due to the sheer number of VoIP and SIP services, you will certainly be able to find a phone that will work to your needs.
However, if you have more specific desires, like control, SIP phones are the choice for you.
With VoIP phones you have little control over security, customisation, and features.
You’ll want something to adapt to you and your business’ needs.
And SIP phones can be just the answer to those needs.
What’s my budget?
Whether your business is big or small, or whether you're new to the business world or an experienced executive, you know that sticking to a budget matters.
Keeping your costs inside the lines and cutting wherever you can is important to all businesses.
And thankfully, these phones can meet this requirement.
If you have a small or medium sized business, VoIP phones are the choice for you.
But if you have a bigger business and are looking to invest, SIP phones should be your go-to.
You might have to fork out for the IP PBX and the hardware in the first instance, but the costs overtime do actually make it the cheaper alternative.
Does your business have experience with technology?
If you’ve got tech heads working in the office, a SIP phone system will be an easy solution to your phone needs.
But this is only because it needs maintenance.
If you don’t have someone who can repair your SIP phones on demand, they might not be a viable option for your business.
In today’s world you need to stay constantly connected.
And how can you do that if your phones go down?
With VoIP phones on the other hand, you won’t need a team to manage your new fangled phone system.
The vendors will support you, meaning you won’t have to hire extra help.
What are your plans for future growth?
Running a business is hard enough.
And now you have to think about growing it?
If your long-term future plan isn't in place quite yet, opt for SIP phones.
They can be scaled to the size of your business and its needs easily.
This way, you can stay in control.
But if you're looking at large scale changes, expanding you SIP trunking installation might require investment.
You should always be considering a phone that can adapt to your needs.
And that includes the needs of the future.
No matter how ambitious you may be, you can never be too sure of what awaits in the years to come.
Read More: Business Telephone Systems
Still stuck for inspiration?
Maybe the history of the technology itself will convince you.
It’ll show you just how far the tech has come, and how both can serve your business needs in their own way:
VoIP transmission began as a result of the Network Voice Protocol that had just been created.
22 years later, Vocaltec - the first internet phone software - began to market VoIP, naming it the ‘Internet Phone’.
Unsurprisingly, the sound quality and ability to make a call was lacking.
You had to own the same software as someone calling you to actually receive the call.
How’s that for adapting to your business?
After the initial success with Internet Phone, they launched an even more successful IPO.
This was also the year of the original drafts of the SIP standard.
A mere 4 years later and VoIP traffic accounts for over 3% of all voice traffic.
SIP phones also had a good year:
SIP was accepted as a permanent element of the IP Multimedia Subsystem architecture for streaming multimedia services in cellular networks.
SIP really has always been one step ahead when it comes to bringing together different media.
If VoIP and SIP phones can adapt this much in 46 years, imagine how it can adapt to your business needs.
And we all know that being adaptable is key when it comes to business.
VoIP and SIP phones are evidence of our need to adapt to changing technology.
Read More: The Top 10 Best IP Phones
So, why not follow their lead?
Why wouldn't you want to be a part of history?
It’s time to make the switch to suit you.
Is SIP trunking VoIP?
A SIP ‘trunk’ is installed over your internet connection.
And it's from here that you can use VoIP.
Is VoIP better than landline?
With considerably better features to support you and your business, VoIP phones are the better option.
VoIP phones tend to have way more features that traditional phones.
From conference calling, to useful and high-tech interfaces, you’ll always stay connected.
And you'll only need an internet connection to keep connected.
Sounds good, right?
Does VoIP need a phone line?
All you need is an internet connection.
What is the difference between VoIP and IP technology?
VoIP uses the public Internet to carry your call.
IP phone systems on the other hand do leverage internet connection, but not the public internet.
Often VoIP and IP are used interchangeably, making it confusing for business owners like you.
What is the difference between SIP and PRI?
PRI - or Primary Rate Interface - is traditional telephony.
SIP (and VoIP) do not use phone lines to make phone calls.
Instead, they use your internet connection.
So, you’ve heard the arguments.
You’ve witnessed history.
And now, you can even explain SIP trunking to a nearby colleague.
But now it’s time to hear what you have to say.
Are you ready to go future-forward, and revel in the advanced SIP phones?
Or are you looking for the cheaper alternative to suit your more simple business needs?
But if you’re still stuck on whether to choose VoIP or SIP, don’t worry.
(You can actually have both.)