Q

What is the difference between a SIP-enabled phone and an IP phone that is not SIP-enabled?

Learn about the differences in programming a SIP-enabled phone versus a phone that is not SIP enabled, and the costs and benefits of each.

Is there any difference in programming a SIP-enabled phone compared to an IP phone that is not SIP-enabled? What can a SIP-enabled phone do versus an IP phone that is not SIP-enabled?

SIP will enable you to reuse the HTTP headers and also sets up a relative session during your conversation. In many cases, it also allows you more options for interoperability between equipment. With SIP you can also dial by URL and utilize some enhanced features of universal messaging. Non-SIP phones may have similar options that can be configured (but check with the manufacturer because not all do), but interoperability will likely...

be the biggest difference. It can be quite a savings for a global corporation to have equipment choices for each region of the globe. Of course, there are also advantages to a global spec, but either way, options are nice.

The SIP technology sort of mimics the traditional POTS network in that it works to assure that all packets travel the same paths, which can enhance the quality of the voice conversation -- unless there is a fault. This means that the re-assembly device (the phone) on the other end is likely to get the packets in order thus decreasing latency.

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As far as the programming -- that is sort of like asking how you program in C. Each vendor is going to have some things that are different than others. Some can be programmed in the phone, others may have to be programmed at the switch, etc. Check with the manufacturers that you are considering. They should be able to provide a demo not only for the initial programming, but also for any moves, adds and changes that you may need over time.

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This was first published in June 2006

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