Making the choice between a hosted private branch exchange (PBX) service and on-site Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking isn’t as easy as it initially appears. While the former seems like a no-brainer for small businesses with small budgets, there are many considerations that make the latter a more sensible solution. When choosing between these Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions, it’s crucial to know what each option offers in terms of cost, control, and quality.
Consider the Costs
Smaller businesses often shy away from on-site SIP trunking due to the comparatively high setup costs when compared to hosted PBX solutions. The expense required to purchase, install, and maintain new IP equipment often makes this solution financially undesirable for many small businesses. However, those that can afford to make the jump are rewarded with greater flexibility, broader customization options, and a total cost of ownership that’s lower than most hosted PBX solutions after three years.
On the other hand, businesses are attracted to hosted PBX solutions thanks to their low start-up costs when compared with on-site SIP solutions. Turning to hosted service providers can also sidestep the potential costs of having an in-house team manage VoIP systems. However, the low initial costs are often offset by monthly fees as well as potential penalties for expanding too soon or too often.
Consider the Management
Management is another issue when it comes to choosing the right VoIP solution. Some businesses strive to have strict control over their network, while others are more willing to outsource control to third-party providers. On-site SIP trunking offers businesses a great deal of control over their VoIP systems, allowing them to fluidly adjust to changing telecom needs. However, businesses that go this route become responsible for nearly every aspect of managing and maintaining the network, including upgrades, emergency repairs, troubleshooting, and expansions.
For businesses without their own in-house IT teams or those who simply don’t want the hassle of maintaining PBX systems, hosted service providers can take on the maintenance and upkeep of these systems. While selecting this option allows businesses to remain focused on their core competencies, a large degree of control over their VoIP systems is sacrificed.
Consider Voice Quality
Both on-site SIP trunking and hosted PBX solutions offer similar levels of call quality under ideal conditions. However, it’s outside of ideal conditions that the differences between these two VoIP solutions become evident.
On-site SIP trunking solutions will attempt to maintain call quality during periods of heavy traffic by prioritizing voice packets over data. In comparison, hosted PBX services usually do not prioritize voice packets, resulting in call quality losses as voice and data packets compete for network access. However, hosted providers may offer a Session Border Controller (SBC) to help businesses better regulate voice and data packets for improved call quality.
In the end, on-site SIP trunking and hosted service providers may achieve the same goals, but both solutions take different paths while offering a number of unique features and benefits. It’s important for businesses to weigh the pros and cons between the two while keeping cost, support, and growth considerations in mind.
To see how our VoIP services can benefit your business, contact eXemplify today to schedule a no-obligation consultation.