SIP Trunking vs PRI -Detailed Comparison Guide

What is SIP?

Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is a virtual connection to the public switched telephone network and is used to signal and control communication sessions like VoIP calls. The capacity of a SIP trunk is equal to the capacity of bandwidth available between the customer and carrier.

What is PRI?

Primary Rate Interface (PRI) is a telecommunications interface standard used on an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) for carrying multiple voices and data transmissions between the network and a user. PRI is a high-capacity service carried as T1 or E1 trunk lines between telco central offices and your location. PRI comes in 2 flavours T1 and E1. A T1 line carries voice and data via 24 digital channels while E1 carries 32 Channels. It delivers multiple lines of voice and data into a business’s existing PBX via one physical line.

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SIP Trunking & PRI –

SIP trunking and PRI are two different ways of connecting your business to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network).

Typically PRI and SIP Trunking require a piece of equipment in your office called a PBX (Private Branch Exchange). Most PBX  can support both PRI trunk and SIP Trunking connections, either directly or with support of additional component.

SIP vs PRI –

Below table details on the difference between both the Voice communication technology types & SIP trunk vs PRI trunk–

PARAMETERSIPPRI
Abbreviation for
Session Initiation protocol
Primary Rate Interface
Philosophy
SIP trunking is a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). SIP trunks allow multiple simultaneous streams of VoIP calls to be routed through a carrier's network and delivered to an organization as voice packets.
A PRI line is end to end digital circuit. A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) line is a form of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) line which is a telecommunication standard that enables traditional phone lines to carry voice, data and video traffic. PRI comes in 2 flavours E1 and T1.
E1 carries signals at 2 Mbps (32 channels at 64Kbps, with 2 channels reserved for signalling and controlling),
T1 carries signals at 1.544 Mbps (24 channels at 64Kbps).
A PRI line is end to end digital circuit. A PRI (Primary Rate Interface) line is a form of ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) line which is a telecommunication standard that enables traditional phone lines to carry voice, data and video traffic. PRI comes in 2 flavours E1 and T1.
E1 carries signals at 2 Mbps (32 channels at 64Kbps, with 2 channels reserved for signalling and controlling),
T1 carries signals at 1.544 Mbps (24 channels at 64Kbps).
Connection Type
SIP is virtual connection to PSTN over physical line that can be shared over existing data connection
PRI is a physical connection over physical line that only serves voice transmission.
Switching technology
Uses packet switched technology for communication across voice communication systems
Uses circuit switched technology for communication across voice communication systems
QOS
Typically Best Effort on Quality of Service option
PRI guarantees on Quality of service front.
Scalability
Scaling can be usually done with minimal time and effortScaling requires additional infrastructure in terms of circuit and hardware
Cost
Costs generally lower than PRI relative to circuits and associated hardware.
High on cost considering circuits and associated hardware required.
Business continuity
Allows for automatic call rerouting to defined locations as part of disaster recovery plan.
Complicated and costly affair when call rerouting is required during disaster at location.
Recommended when
Quickly scale no of lines or users to meet dynamic business needs.
Low in-house maintenance staff to handle voice system.
Quality of service is prime ask of business.
In-house resources can handle dedicated PRI circuits and hardware to support the business.

Download the difference table here.

sip-vs-pri

Related – SIP vs SCCP

To know more about SIP vs PRI watch this video –

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