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VoIP's SIP Explained

New SIP-based VoIP phones will keep you chatting on the cutting edge.

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This story appears in the October 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The analog phone may soon be relegated to the world of 8-tracks and brick-size cell phones. When you look at moving up to VoIP, those old desk clunkers will be the first to go. In their place, you'll get something new, and there's a good chance it will be a SIP phone. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, a signaling protocol that establishes sessions in an IP network. A session may be a simple two-way voice call, or it might be something more advanced, involving conferencing or multimedia. Most important, it's become a hot choice for VoIP systems.

One nice feature of SIP is interoperability. You're not necessarily tied to one vendor. You could install a SIP-based IP PBX from one vendor and SIP phones from another. That's good news for growing businesses that already have an IP-PBX system and are looking to upgrade or expand their stables of desk phones. You have a wide variety of choices, so you can shop for features, voice quality and price.

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