ALWAYS, ALWAYS, I can’t stress enough always question your providers, not just your Sip Trunk providers.
No change is easy! But often a change with least information is the toughest one. To avoid such situations make sure your are asking the right questions and getting all equipped to handle the big change.
Let’s discuss what you are going to question when it comes to a SIP Trunk provider.
How am I charged?
You know your going to pay, and the question is not How much, but how are you charging. You pay by the call, by the minute, certain numbers may have additional charges. Understand that while SIP trunks are capable of adding a huge amount of flexibility to your system, they also present the opportunity for providers to add a lot of different kind of charges to an invoice.
How can I connect to your service?
It is nice to think of a SIP trunk as a dedicated line from some location to your office, but it is not. It is simply a connection across the internet, and providers will supply multiple IP address to connect to. If they are not, you need to find out what happens if that single connection would go down? Is there a failover on their end? Do you simply lose your VOIP? Trunk providers should generally provide a range of address to connect on, it generally will not matter which you are connected to, because they actually are reflective of the fail over connections.
Can I purchase specific DID’s, or Port DID’s?
Find out what DID numbers are available, or the process used to port numbers to the sip trunk provider. Porting numbers from one provider to another can take up to a month, and can require sign offs from the responsible parties within the company, so be aware, and find out the process so you are ready, and things can flow smoothly. You also will want to know, how many DID’s you need, and find out, do they have that volume of DID’s available, and are they sequential? Are they in the correct area code?
What other services do you provide?
Do they/ Can they, provide monitoring? We have not mentioned monitoring as of yet, but do they monitor the trunk to ensure it is up/down, do they monitor the traffic flow? If there are issues detected, do they notify you, how will they notify you? These are important questions that will determine if you need to monitor the lines, or if you are able to relax knowing you will be notified of issues. Can you handle the complete management of the system? Several trunk providers will not only provide you the trunk and DID’s, they can also configure and administer the entire system for you.
Can you provide a discount on handsets or other equipment?
Find out if the provider has agreements with other suppliers, you may be able to purchase other equipment like handset and switches at a discount price, when purchased through the trunk provider. And again, if the provider does allow for discounts, you should still run some price comparisons.
Ask for reports!!
As I mentioned in another article: ‘QoS (Quality of Service) reports. Generally (as always) we like to see as small of an amount of packet loss in the transmissions as we can. For voice calls 1% or less packet loss would be an excellent quality call.’
Those reports should be available, they may not be offered, but should be available for you to view.
Can you tell me about current clients? References?
Sometimes, the most powerful and compelling information can come from current users. We do not need to see large name companies as users, but if the provider can provide references that will be in many case more valuable to you than QoS reports, or answers from the reps or sales associate. Current users have the experience of actually using the provider, and we would like to see the reviews, or even be able to directly speak to existing users who have been with the provider for a minimum of a year.
Asking quality questions, looking for reliable information, will ensure your choosing a SIP Trunking provider not simply based on the cost, but on the overall reliability of the trunk, as well as the quality. This is going to help you get the most out of your VOIP system.