Why is Inflow Communications so involved with SIP?

Hello, my name is Travis Dillard. As of the last couple years, I've become very involved with SIP - Session Initiation Protocol technology. In addition to being a prominent SIP provider, my company, Inflow Communications (www.inflowcomm.com), located in Portland, OR, provides business phone systems and implementation services for clients throughout the Northwest. Our IP PBX solutions include ShoreTel and Allworx.

Can I make International calls over my SIP trunk?

Yes. Often for a lot less per minute too! The pricing varies by the country called.

Do SIP providers charge for local calls too?

Many SIP providers will bundle a large number of local calling minutes into a flat price. If the customer exceeds these minutes, they get billed per minute for the additional local minutes. This doesnt sit very well with companies who are used to unlimited local calling. Thats why we like Broadvox. Broadvox will charge a flat rate per SIP trunk with unlimited local calling.

Can I purchase SIP services that give me unlimited long distance?

Yes. Pricing usually depends on the SIP provider and term.

What type of fees and taxes can I expect with SIP trunks?

That varies by the SIP provider and the location of the customer. We usually estimate about 12% of the total monthly billing with Broadvox. However, we’ve seen it higher. Normally the miscellaneous fees and taxes are much less than traditional carriers.

Can I port numbers from any state to my SIP trunks?

Yes, one of the fantastic things about SIP is that you can source or port numbers from any state to your SIP trunks (regardless of where the SIP trunks are terminated). However, there are a few areas in the country where not all numbers can be ported. Check with Access Technologies or an Access Technologies Agent to be sure. This also depends on the SIP provider.

What contractual obligations do I have with SIP trunks?

This depends on the SIP provider. Broadvox allows for month-to-month, 1-year, 2-year, and 3-year terms. Month-to-month contracts require that the customer pay monthly with an automatic credit card deduction.

How much bandwidth do I need for SIP trunks?

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This depends on the type of codec (the mechanism used to compress the voice traffic over IP) and the number of simultaneous calls. Broadvox uses G.711 and G.729. G.711 is considered “higher quality” and usually consumes about 88 Kbps (with overhead). G.729 consumes about 38 Kbps. Most of our customers choose the G.729 codec because they get more use out of their bandwidth. We personally cannot hear the quality difference between the two codecs.

If I’m going to use an Internet connection to deliver SIP trunks, what’s the best type?

Well obviously the best connection is a direct link to the SIP provider. This isn’t always (more often than not) a very economical solution for the small office. Low cost / high bandwidth Internet connections (DSL and cable) are very popular for our customers with 15 or less trunks. Keep in mind, these Internet connections are low cost for a reason. You are sharing the access to that Internet connection with your neighbors. This introduces a number of factors outside your control that can affect quality – the number of neighbors, their Internet usage, the quality of the cable or copper, etc.

Does placing SIP calls over the Internet cause quality issues?

With SIP trunks, voice gets converted into IP packets. These IP packets then get sent to the SIP provider (and vice versa). Because voice is real-time sensitive, it requires that the voice packets arrive within a certain amount of time and in the right order (along with a number of other factors like jitter, packet loss, etc). If some of the voice packets get dropped or if they are sent too slow, audible quality issues can occur. So the quality of the connection between the customer’s phone system and the SIP provider directly affects the quality of the call.

What security features are offered with SIP trunks?

This depends on the SIP provider. Broadvox can implement SIP trunks over a dedicated or VPN-enabled connection. Actually, it’s much harder for somebody to intercept a VOIP call than a traditional PRI or analog call.

How does the SIP provider determine if a call is local (and doesn’t meter at long distance rates)?

Again, this depends on the SIP provider. We’ll stick with the Broadvox answer. Like 911, it all depends on what number is out-pulsed to Broadvox. The following Broadvox products support local calling:
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