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A line by line comparison between SIP and PRI - two popular voice delivery methods used by business today.

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  1. 1. SIP vs. PRI
  2. 2. Definition:  PRI - Primary Rate Interface.  SIP - Session Initiation Protocol.
  3. 3. Allocation:  PRI is sold per circuit. Each circuit provides 23 channels or call paths.  SIP is sold per call path.
  4. 4. Infrastructure:  PRI is part of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).  SIP is Voice over IP and is delivered over an internet connection.
  5. 5. Phone Numbers: PRI utilizes Direct Inward Dialing (DID) phone numbers that can be purchased in blocks of 20 and are local to the area the service is terminated.  SIP utilizes DID but can use local and out of area phone numbers. With SIP, a company located in Philadelphia could utilize Phoenix telephone numbers. 
  6. 6. Disaster Recovery: In the event of a natural disaster, SIP DIDs can be rerouted from one office or call center to call centers or offices untouched by the event.  This can be accomplished more easily and seamlessly than with PRI. 
  7. 7. Utilization:  Multiple users at a single or a networked location can share PRI voice channels.  SIP trunks can be centrally located and shared company wide, maximizing economies of scale. This setup is facilitated by the availability of out of area DIDs.
  8. 8. Scalability:  PRIs provide 23 channels or voice paths. If a business requires more than 23, they have to order another PRI, and deployment requires 2 to 3 weeks time.  SIP trunks can be ordered in any increment and implementation can be completed in days, sometimes hours.
  9. 9. Resource Utilization:  PRIs are static. When their channels aren’t use, they sit stagnant.  SIP is a dynamic service. When SIP trunks are not in use, the bandwidth they require is freed up for other uses.
  10. 10. Availability:  PRI requires a local loop, provided by a local phone company or incumbent carrier (ILEC). PRI providers must have agreements in place with ILECs to be able to provide PRI.  SIP only requires an internet connection, so there is a smaller barrier to entry to become a SIP service provider, leading to more competition and lower prices.
  11. 11. Handoff:  PRI requires the existence of a T1 card in a PBX or business phone system.  SIP can be engineered to work with any type of phone system.
  12. 12. Cost:  PRIs typically cost between 4 and 5 hundred dollars per month. The cost is higher for more remote locations that require a longer local loop.  SIP trunks cost between 10 and 20 dollars per month. The service can be made more economical when SIP trunks are consolidated at a company’s head quarters and shared, requiring fewer in number. With SIP there is a cost of the added bandwidth necessary to support the service, but the cost of bandwidth has dropped and should continue to do so.
  13. 13. For More Information:  John Gelhard  CarrierBid Sales Director  Toll free: 888-706-5656 x 701  Direct: 609-921-3434  Email: