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SIP vs. PRI – What Are the Benefits?

What are the benefits of SIP (Session Initiated Protocol) trunking over PRI (Primary Rate IDSN)? This is one of the most commonly asked questions in telecommunications today. This post will help answer that question and illustrate the differences between the two setups. By the end of this article, it will be evident that are many benefits for companies that choose to make the switch to SIP trunking, particularly when it comes to reducing costs.

Setup and Hardware

In terms of initial setup, SIP has a decisive advantage over PRI in that you do not have to purchase expensive termination hardware. Since SIP has virtual-based connections, there is no hardware to purchase beyond your current network setup.
Benefits of SIP Trunking     

Monthly Costs

PRI is quite costly as you are charged per circuit per month.  Each circuit has a set number of voice channels (23) and therefore many companies are left either paying for capacity they do not use or, conversely, are over capacity and are reluctant to purchase another large chunk of voice channels.

SIP is generally charged on a usage basis with considerably lower monthly rates.  Unlike PRI, you are only paying for the capacity you use and this offers a great advantage.


Scalability is another area in which SIP has a clear advantage. SIP’s virtual-based nature means that there are no physical barriers to scalability and no on-site service needed to add channels.

PRI, in contrast, does not offer the same flexibility. Its set number of voice channels per circuit means that you cannot scale on a user-to-user basis and adding circuits is a costly process. Additionally, adding a new PRI circuit typically requires a 30-day waiting period in order, which can be a serious obstacle when you need the extra capacity; not so with SIP.


If there is one issue with SIP that has impeded its growth, it is reliability. PRI has traditionally been viewed as having superior reliability, which is why it became so widely used.However, this is no longer the case. It is now possible to get the same call quality and reliability from a SIP trunk as traditional PRI.  Local companies, like ECI, are experts in this regard and are available to guide customers towards top quality reliability at monthly rates lower than what is expected from PRI. sip versus pri

Backup / Disaster Recovery

While it is possible to put in place redundancy for backups and disaster recovery with PRI, it tends to be prohibitively expensive. It requires either purchasing extra circuits or setting a system of redirecting calls when the PRI fails. Both of these options are costly and quite complex to put in place.

With SIP there is the option of having PSTN reachability in the case of loss of network, which is not costly whatsoever.  Also, the SIP technology allows for automatic call rerouting to pre-defined locations should the location go offline, a huge business continuity benefit.


This has continued our look at how SIP can reduce your business expenses when compared with traditional telephony technologies. If you’d like more information on SIP trunking, please read our previous article entitled How is SIP Helping Companies Cut Costs.

If you would like to know more about how SIP trunks can reduce your telecom expenses, contact us at info@ecitech.ca. ECI is your local expert on SIP trunking, as well as a channel partner of Rogers Business Solutions, a leading SIP trunk provider in the region.