receptionist handing over key to guest

SIP Trunking vs PSTN: What’s Best For Your Hotel?

PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) is a traditional circuit-switched phone system. It’s the kind of system that’s been around since the late 1800s, and unsurprisingly, it’s a little out of date. Want to know the difference? Read on.

PSTN — The Old System

PSTN networks are completely analog. They’re made of copper wires in the ground and in your walls, ending at outlets in the walls into which you plug landlines. It’s how phones have worked for decades, and it’s incredibly common — there are almost a billion fixed-line telephone subscriptions in the US. That sounds like a lot, but it’s the lowest we’ve seen this century.

SIP — New And Improved

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, and it refers to any phone system that sends data like voice, fax, and other information over the internet rather than through traditional phone lines. In hotels, hospitals, and other large businesses with dozens or hundreds of phone lines, SIP trunking is usually run through a central hub with an IP-enabled private branch exchange (PBX).

SIP Trunking vs Traditional Phones

The biggest downside of a PSTN system is that it requires a physical connection between two phones. If you want to add new lines to your hotel, you need to physically install wiring throughout the wall — and you still won’t have all the features that a digital system can provide.

SIP trunks are virtual. Rather than transmitting data across a wire, data is transmitted through packets. While a PSTN phone line can only carry one conversation at a time, a SIP trunk can carry as many simultaneous lines of data as are allowed by the bandwidth of your hotel’s internet connection — and in most cases, phone lines are a mere drop in the bucket compared to the streaming video and web browsing that you’re already accommodating.

Think of packet transmission like sending puzzle pieces through the mail. You can take apart a blue puzzle and a red puzzle at the same time, mix the pieces together, and send them simultaneously, and the person at the other end will still be able to assemble them properly.

Why Your Hotel Needs a SIP System

SIP trunking PBX systems continue to rise in popularity, thanks in large part to the increasing prevalence of affordable broadband internet. Besides, it’s highly unlikely that any modern hotel doesn’t already have a high-speed internet connection, and adding phone service to that connection will hardly affect your internet speeds at all.

In addition to the ease of installation, there are a few other advantages for hoteliers:

  • Costs are much lower. Customers who make the switch from a PSTN system to a SIP system save substantially on their monthly costs. And since adding or moving lines doesn’t require any changes to infrastructure, future upgrading is cheaper as well.
  • Freedom and flexibility are far greater with a SIP system. To add new lines, all you need is an internet-connected phone handset and a wall outlet to power it. With SIP-powered systems, you can forward calls to any other office, mobile device, or even home phone so that your staff can stay in touch and focused on your guests.
  • Finally, you only need to manage one network. Your IT staff no longer need to deal with both phone and internet systems, since your one network handles voice, fax, internet data, screen sharing, and streaming all at once.

Upgrade with Phonesuite

Phonesuite has been installing dedicated, hotel-specific VoIP phone systems for thirty years now, so we know every aspect of the hotel industry and the technology. We can assess your communication needs and capabilities, give you a detailed quote, and install a Phonesuite system in your existing hotel system for an affordable monthly fee, rather than a major upfront cost. If you’re ready to upgrade, get in touch with Phonesuite today!


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