What’s the Difference Between PRI and SIP Trunks?

call center employee comparing the difference between a pri and sip trunk

Whether you want to upgrade your current phone system or own a start-up and need to compare options, you’ve probably stumbled across choices that use either PRI or SIP trunks. However, many of us are not well-versed in IT terminology. You may even be questioning the difference between PRI and SIP trunks. To make things easier, we’ve discussed each one below to help you make an informed decision.

PRI Vs. SIP Trunking: Is One a Better Fit for Your Business?

Both PRI and SIP trunks connect your business to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). However, they don’t have much more in common, and most companies prefer one over the other. Read on as we break each one down to help you get a better sense of their capabilities.

What are PRI Trunks?

PRI trunks are otherwise known as Primary Rate Interface trunking. They use a physical connection through copper wires to provide multiple voice channels. While having unlimited phone lines tied to a PRI is a possibility, only 23 separate phone calls can be made simultaneously on each connection.

Since PRI trunks are labeled a voice-only option, they may not be a good fit for larger companies looking to enhance their internal and external voice communications, productivity, and scalability. However, their high-quality voice capabilities can make up for the areas they lack in functionality. Additionally, since they are on a private telephone network, you don’t have the same interference risks as other options.

What is SIP Trunking?

SIP trunking, otherwise known as Session Initiation Protocol trunking, doesn’t require you to have a traditional PBX and even works with VoIP telephone systems. This option allows your business to manage its phone system over an internet connection rather than relying on an in-house PRI circuit.

Although SIP trunks may be subject to higher costs when placing long-distance, international calls, they can often save you money in the long run, depending on your business communication needs. They’re sometimes sold on a per-channel basis and are quick and easy to upgrade. Therefore, you’re not paying extra for phone lines you don’t need. Besides standard voice calls, many SIP trunking services are capable of supporting video conferencing, SMS messaging, and data transmission. Best of all, most offer failover protection which is critical to maintain productivity in the event of an abrupt system failure or during scheduled downtime.

Which is the Better Phone Service Option?

When comparing PRI lines to SIP trunking, each one’s specific features can provide your business the leverage it needs to expand communications and productivity. The right choice ultimately comes down to your business needs. If video chatting and SMS messaging are essential for your communications, SIP trunking would undoubtedly be the clear-cut winner. You may even benefit from combining the two in a hybrid-hosted PBX system. Still, plenty prefer the basic functionality of PRI solutions and can rely on them to maintain operations.

At Warwick, we work closely with our clients and can deliver each of these services in a customized plan. For more information on our voice service options, consider reaching out to us. We’ve helped countless Ohio businesses reach and exceed their voice and communication goals, and we’re eager to help you too!