SIP vs PRI has been a hotly contested debate for the past decade. For the past many years, the answer for which was better just depended on who you asked. Not anymore. The debate has settled and SIP has emerged the winner. However, before we delve into why SIP is the superior to PRI for business telecommunications, let’s first take a look at both SIP and PRI and define what they are.

 

PRI:

PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is a voice technology that has been widely-used since the 1980s. It delivers multiple lines of voice data to a PBX via one physical line, called a circuit. Most businesses have their PRI circuits in the form of T1 lines. A T1 line carries voice and data via 24 digital channels.

PRI is quickly becoming considered”legacy” phone service . It is physical hardware (the circuit) and also requires servicing from a telecommunications provider.

 

SIP:

SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) is a way to deliver phone service via the Internet. Unlike PRI, SIP trunks are virtual. They don’t require physical circuits to deploy. Instead of having PRI “lines” SIP has “trunks” or call paths, which aren’t subjected to circuit limitations since data packets are sent purely through the regular internet network.

 

Round 1: Price

PRI: To run your business phone system with a PRI, you’ll need a dedicated telecom circuit, an internet connection, and an onsite PBX. In addition to outright buying this equipment, you’ll need a dedicated IT team ready to support and maintain it as well. This can get costly!

SIP: To run your business phone system with SIP Trunking, you’ll really only need an internet connection. An onsite PBX is optional because you could instead opt for a virtual PBX. This means that you can get started right away for a low price and not have to worry about unexpected maintence costs.

WINNER: SIP Trunking

 

Round 2: Business Continuity

PRI: Redundancy with a PRI involves installing redundant circuits that can re-route your calls to secondary sites. Purchasing and installing PRI circuits can get costly and then the technical side of re-routing can be difficult for those less experienced with data networking.

SIP: SIP is often a great option for businesses that place a lot of value on having redundancy. Since the voice data packets are sent from the SIP carrier to the onsite PBX, there is no circuit involved. This means that when you need calls to be re-routed to a secondary location, this can easily be done on the carrier level. Often this is a few clicks on the customer portal or a quick call to your SIP carrier! In terms of cost, this is usually very inexpensive compared to PRI redundancy. A simple SIP failover to an alternative destination will run you about $10/month. That’s it.

 WINNER: SIP Trunking

 

Round 3: Scalability

 

PRI: Scaling is often slow and costly. It involves the installation of new hardware when old hardware becomes antiquated and more circuits when the call paths need to increase beyond the hardware limit (24 call paths for T1).

SIP: Scaling is quick, simple and affordable. Since there are no circuits involved, you don’t need to ever worry about updating equipment or repairing broken equipment. And if your call volume is expected to increase (for example a seasonal business) you can simply increase your call path limit in a matter of minutes by speaking to your SIP provider, which is often completely FREE.

WINNER: SIP Trunking

 

Round 4: Ease of Use

PRI: PRI can be difficult to manage compared to SIP Trunking. When a problem arises, the issue could be on the carrier level, the onsite circuit, or the onsite PBX. That’s a lot of troubleshooting. You also will need to have an onsite IT expert to help resolve most issues that arise. For day-to-day usage, PRI is relatively simple for basic calling tasks, however if you want to do some advanced tasked like call-forwarding things can get tricky.

SIP: SIP is easy to manage. If a problem arises, it can either be from the carrier itself or your onsite PBX. Without having to worry about circuits and additional hardware, this narrows down the list of potential issues that could arise. Whenever a problem does arise, it can normally be fixed virtually by either the SIP carrier or the PBX manufacturer. For day-to-day usage, everything is easier with SIP. From basic calling to setting up call forwarding, it can all be done with little to no technical knowledge with virtual assistance from your SIP carrier.

WINNER: SIP Trunking

 

Round 5: Security

 

PRI: There is a common misconception that copper cableing is more secure than digital bandwidth. However, copper cableing has its security vulnerabilities as well. You will also need an on-site manager to ensure the health and security of your circuit has not been compromised. This involves a lot of time, resources, and technical know-how.

SIP:  With RingLeader SIP we establish a secure VPN connection straight from our Data Center to your PBX. The data that’s passed through this connection is encrypted and HIPAA compliant. With secure, end-to-end encryption such as this, without a need for a dedicated IT support staff, SIP is the winner here.

WINNER: SIP Trunking

 

Conclusion: SIP wins 5-0!

To sum this up, SIP Trunking is the best method to use for your business phone system. PRI is quickly becoming an antiquated technology as more and more people move away from hardware costs and migrate their technology into the cloud.