The decision to switch from a PSTN to a SIP trunk can be overwhelming one. However, if you are comfortable with the PSTN services that are offered by your current provider, then it would probably make sense to go with the SIP solution. But, as we move further into the age of cloud computing and a virtual world switching to a SIP provider can be a good idea for a few reasons.
First, if you use a business phone, you need to understand how SIP works. SIP phones require that you have a SIP trunk. In other words, you need to establish an IP connection and an address and port-forwarding process needs to be in place before your SIP phone can send or receive messages. This is a very important feature because a good PSTN will allow you to do this automatically.
Second, in order to switch over to a SIP provider, you will likely need to get a SIP account. But, the difference in SIP accounts can be staggering. SIP accounts are often only available to organizations that are part of a service provider.
Most business phone providers also have their own SIP service. You might think that this is where the similarities end. Not so, many times the companies that provide SIP service also offer a toll-free SIP number. This gives you a way to reach customers even when they are outside the United States.
Third, SIP trunk services have built in features that you will find useful. For example, many of them include call screening, which allows you to automatically pick out your best customers. Call screening also enables you to cut out the callers who have a poor voice quality or have a poor accent. If you need to automatically cut out the ones you consider unimportant, this is something that you will want in a SIP provider.
Fourth, you will want to look at the service offerings of each SIP provider that you are thinking about going with. You may find that some offer unlimited calling while others limit you to just local calls. You may also find that you need a SIP account with a higher limit. The higher limit will allow you to do more things than you can do with a lower limit account.
Fifth, you may also want to limit your business phone numbers to a few. In many cases you will probably already have an existing telephone number. However, it might not be the phone number you use for your daily business calls. You might be better off with a SIP account that offers unlimited numbers or one that limits your numbers to a specific area code or number of places you conduct business. You may want to check with your service provider about this as well.
In summary, you should really think about the pros and cons of switching over to a SIP solution before you make the switch. You want to get an account that offers unlimited numbers with a higher limit, easy call screening and a high level of call filtering. Also, check with your current provider and see what options they have for you to set up a toll-free number.
A SIP provider might offer you a number of different choices. For example, they may offer you a number of toll-free numbers, a hosted toll-free number, or they may offer a SIP trunk service along with the number of toll-free numbers. These are all options for you to consider.
Of course, once you have decided on a provider, you need to do a little comparison shopping to make sure that you get the right service for your needs. This is especially true if you need a toll-free number.
Finally, be sure that your SIP provider will offer you some sort of support if you need it after the switchover to SIP is complete. This is especially important if your provider is new. It may take some time to get used to the new system, but it will pay off later when you start getting fewer dropped calls, better call quality, and a better customer service.