SIP vs Non-SIP. What do we mean?
There are so many TLA (three letter acronyms) in the world of technology that it can be difficult to know what it all means. One of the questions most asked is what does ESS EYE PEE mean and how do I know if I want one?
First we will start with the semi-technical explanation of what SIP is and then we will explain simply when you might consider SIP devices when shopping around.
SIP – Session Initiation Protocol – was originally defined to provide a signalling and call setup protocol to support the same features in an IP (Internet Protocol) based network as found in switched telephone networks (standard telephone). Essentially SIP is the protocol used in Voice over IP and multimedia and messaging over IP networks. SIP allows the seamless carriage of PSTN (standard telephone) and video conferencing and messaging on an IP network eg. the internet.
Typically, each end device (User Agent or UA) registers with a SIP server or IP PBX. This is similar to the email system where an email account is a registered account on an email server. The UA then uses the account to make calls to other devices which are found on the IP network using standard IP network systems such as DNS. For a more complete definition of SIP please check this link here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Session_Initiation_Protocol
SIP is used with IP telephone systems and other SIP devices. VoIP (voice over IP) uses SIP to communicate between devices and phone systems.
With the rollout of the NBN in Australia all telephony will eventually be carried over the internet as VoIP. The evolution of wireless broadband is also seeing mobile networks move to all IP based networks including telephony. SIP is the protocol used predominantly in all IP based telephony. SIP can also be found in many other systems such as online gaming, CCTV and security systems, FAX etc.
So why should you consider a SIP based intercom or CCTV camera?
Firstly not all SIP based equipment is the same.
For example, some equipment provides SIP as an additional function set and will work without connecting to a SIP server (IP PBX). Other equipment requires a SIP server to operate.
Our intercoms sold as SIP systems (door station and display panel) will work without a SIP server i.e. the door station will call the intercom panels and normal intercom functionality will occur. The message is using SIP but as the devices are on the same network they can find each other without requiring a SIP server – this is unique to this system. They can also call devices via a SIP server as they have additional SIP accounts. In this way a SIP device can call other SIP devices much the same as making a phone call. A door station could call a local display panel first and then try another number second and then a mobile number etc. A CCTV camera could call a phone number when it detects movement in a defined area of the camera view. This is especially attractive for businesses where they are likely to have an on premises IP PBX or a cloud hosted server and they want to integrate the intercom or camera into the existing business telephone server or move to a more cost effective IP PBX appliance solution rather than the expensive PABX systems used in the past. Home owners may find this useful too where they have (or want) a number of VoIP extensions in the home and want the intercom to make a video call to the phones as a group call or individual extensions or even call forward to a phone outside the system. At the most basic they may want to receive intercom calls to their mobile only which they can do through a VoIP call to the mobile number or to a VoIP App on the mobile phone.
Non SIP IP systems are restricted to calling other devices within the same system i.e. door station calls display panel or mobile App but cannot make a VoIP call to a telephone or Soft Phone. They support the usual desirable features such as video, message on no answer, mobile App, alarm system integration, interface to electric door strike, and ability to view other cameras. There are non SIP systems that work with telephone systems usually as an analogue extension of a PABX or a DECT extension of a mobile DECT telephone system often found in homes or business, 3G/4G mobile equipped devices using mobile carrier networks for communications. These are usually limited to audio only.
SIP just describes the method used to connect the intercom system and offers VoIP telephone system integration for your intercom. While not all systems require a SIP IP PBX, all SIP systems have the ability to connect to one. This enables increased functionality which will continue to grow as more devices become SIP enabled.
Please contact us to discuss if you would like more information or to discuss your specific situation. We consider ourselves in the consulting and support business rather than sales. We provide ongoing support and are happy to discuss any issue long after the sale has been completed.