SIP Trunking Pitfalls and Resolutions: A Guide for Streamlined Implementation

Avatar for Jody GilliamBy Jody Gilliam|Mar 12, 2019|7:30 am CDT

If you’ve ever thought that SIP trunking was a commoditized technology, you might want to reconsider. A survey performed by the SIP School found that over 80% of enterprises experienced some type of problem with their SIP trunks, and implementation problems are actually on the rise. That doesn’t sound like a commoditized technology.

What types of SIP challenges are plaguing buyers, and more importantly, how should IT leaders overcome them? Those are the questions answered in a new white paper highlighting the five major pitfalls associated with SIP trunking implementation. Written by Gary Audin, a celebrated author known for his technical advice published on and Telecom Reseller, the paper offers help for enterprises that want to prevent issues and collaborate with their provider in ways that streamline the SIP trunking deployment process. Here are the key takeaways.

SIP Trunking: Increasingly Necessary but Still Complex

SIP trunking adoption is accelerating as more and more companies phase out on-premise PBX systems in favor of unified communications as a service (UCaaS). It’s the technology behind hybrid deployment models or phased migration paths that allow enterprises to transition on-premise infrastructures to the cloud while leveraging UCaaS in other locations. SIP trunking is known to:

  • Lower costs
  • Expand solution flexibility
  • Eliminate VoIP gateways, enabling direct connections

Seen as an essential ingredient, SIP trunking is perfect for enterprises with multi-vendor legacy systems that want to avoid the dreaded forklift upgrade. But implementation can be a bumpy road. It’s easy for buyers to gloss over the complexities of the deployment process–that is until they’re faced with quality issues and project delays.

Customers Report an Array of Implementation Problems and Pitfalls

According to the SIP Survey, four out every five customers report issues. Their top three problems are related to:

  • SIP trunk provider
  • The edge (i.e NAT/SBC issues)
  • PBX configuration

Why do enterprise buyers experience these problems? Audin distills it down to these five major pitfalls:

  • Legacy Contract Risks
  • Interoperability Issues
  • SBC and Edge Devices
  • The IP PBX
  • Foreign Laws and International Penalties

Implementation Best Practices

Overstepping common pitfalls becomes a matter of using best practice deployment principles. Audin offers guidance for each phase of the implementation process but advises that a streamlined implementation requires conquering just one primary challenge: shared product knowledge.

The single biggest issue centers around how to make multi-vendor components interoperate within a single solution. Vendors and service providers intimately understand their own products and implementation processes but may be unfamiliar with outside products used in the solution. In the past, understanding each other’s products was not the provider’s responsibility. But today, this knowledge exchange is so critical that it could easily be considered a basis for anticipating how much friction your implementation will generate.

The white paper details implementation best practices covering:

  • Needs assessment
  • Collaboration
  • Checklists
  • SIP trunk connection design
  • VoIP bandwidth calculations
  • Solution testing
  • Technical troubleshooting

Solutions and Providers are Not All Equal

Comparing solutions across providers can be confusing because not everyone is on the same page when it comes to SIP trunk definitions, network reliability, and QoS requirements, SBC requirements, SIP trunk pooling capabilities, and the scope and quality of services provided. Gaining clarity in these areas will help compare apples to apples, but providers that proactively avoid implementation pitfalls are those who come with years of experience emphasizing:

  • Interoperability and Scalability: Support for your existing equipment with the ability to make changes at any particular site without significant disruption
  • Global Network Reliability: Guaranteed voice and video performance for end-user bliss
  • Visibility: An effective operations dashboard including analytics capabilities to easily manage and optimize service
  • Security: Sound security principles including the security of the managed service as well as the transmission of voice data over the network
  • Customer Experience: Comprehensive implementation services and dedicated resources coupled with high customer service ratings or Net Promoter Scores

While implementation requires technical experience, selecting the right SIP provider is more of a business decision and less of a technical decision. Partners who bring implementation expertise, exemplary customer service, and deep transparency will be best suited for success.

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