What is a SIP Client?
Session Internet Protocol (SIP) clients are programs connecting with other programs online to initiate real time communications (RTC). They are network devices that send SIP requests and then receive SIP responses afterwards. As such, SIP clients can help you connect Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) communications and begin talking with another VoIP subscriber. Without a SIP client, it is impossible to connect SIP communications. SIP clients make this possible! SIP clients help connect to servers so you can start talking, texting, chatting or communicating in another way. And SIP is a great protocol to use because it is a standard that crosses different VoIP vendors and phone equipment brands. SIP is largely compatible with the bulk of VoIP platforms, in other words, so it makes sense to invest in SIP-compatible systems. Many SIP clients are open-source and free to users. Others, however, are proprietary and available through VoIP vendors.
SIP clients work differently from many other online programs, so in this article we will discuss how VoIP systems use SIP to connect new calls. By the end of this post, you should have a better understanding of how SIP clients work and how they benefit your company by powering your phone system.
- What is a Client Program?
- What is VoIP?
- How Do SIP Clients Work?
- Why are SIP-Compatible Systems Useful?
- Other Considerations
Elsewhere on the Top10VoIP website, you will find other articles related to VoIP and SIP. These articles can help you get a new VoIP account established, choose equipment and begin taking advantage of the rich features and capabilities VoIP offers.
1. What is a Client Program?
Clients are different from “master/slave” programs and peer-to-peer systems. A client requests a service from another program, creating a connection by asking the other program to behave in a particular way. In contrast, master programs directly control slave programs and peer-to-peer programs are equally capable of beginning a transaction. Client programs are used to initiate services from other programs. In VoIP, this type of system is used to create connected calls.
You need a SIP client program in order to use VoIP within a SIP system, so that is why SIP client programs are so vitally important. There are many different SIP clients available, and many of them are freely available. Your VoIP vendor may have specific recommendations in this area. Client programs connect VoIP devices (such as the Cisco phone in the above photo) with servers.
2. What is VoIP?
VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, uses the Internet to transmit phone and other communications. Sending these communications over the Internet greatly reduces the costs associated with phone service. Traditional phone service requires extensive maintenance for copper wire networks, which are frequently worn-down and need replacement and care. Phone companies are forced to pass these maintenance costs along to their subscribers in the form of higher phone plan expenses.
This type of service uses computers extensively as phone calls and other types of communications are connected. SMS text messages, chat and other communications media such as video calls are also types of VoIP communications. SIP clients are an essential part of transmitting these communications across the Internet between sender and recipient.
3. How Do SIP Clients Work?
SIP clients connect through networks to servers, allowing new VoIP calls to be initiated. For as long as the interaction between the client and server occurs, a connection is established and maintained. Once the communication is complete, the connection is dropped. The servers SIP clients connect to are known as SIP proxy servers. You can connect between SIP clients and proxy servers to start and continue a call, for instance. The client itself may offer a variety of different types of features and therefore connect more than just calls between the client and proxy server. This can enable you to also take advantage of chat and SMS text capabilities.
After the call, the session ends, and to start a new call a new session must be initiated between the client and proxy server. The session, then, is only valid for the duration of that one transaction. A new transaction must then be initiated all over again by having the client once again send a request to the proxy server.
4. Why are SIP-Compatible Systems Useful?
SIP-compatible systems can help you reach more proxy servers online, since these SIP clients are compatible with SIP protocol. Many different vendors use SIP technology and so it makes sense to adopt this standard for your system. Other protocols are available, but SIP is in many ways a gold standard for VoIP phone service. Many VoIP systems use it fairly consistently, and you can readily find vendors that support it fully.
If you are looking to purchase or rent phone equipment, SIP-compatible equipment makes sense and is usually a great investment. This type of equipment is readily useable with other types of systems, is supported by many vendors and is often easy to learn. Investing in a SIP-compatible system will probably provide you with a phone system you can bring with you to bring your own device (BYOD) vendors, too, since many of them recommend choosing a system that is compatible with SIP.
5. Other Considerations
SIP is a secure, flexible system protocol for Internet communications. Many of the systems running SIP are readily available and even free to users. Some systems are also proprietary and exclusive, so that is also something to keep in mind. You may need to check with your vendor before making any commitments to new equipment. In fact, it is a smart idea to choose a vendor before choosing equipment, since you may end up making a significant investment that way. Do not make a large investment in new equipment without doing plenty of your own research and finding equipment that is fully compatible with what your vendor recommends. Your vendor can also offer great advice in choosing new equipment and getting it online and operational.
After you begin using your new VoIP system, be sure to secure your system sufficiently. Having an insecure system can result in hackers gaining access to your network, unauthorized access from someone within your organization or misuse in some other form or fashion. Your VoIP network is an important part of your business operations and you need to ensure that you take excellent care of it and use it properly.
If you have any questions, be sure and do more research on your own using your vendor’s knowledge-base online, asking your vendor for help or asking other users how they have handled similar situations. You may need to hire technical support personnel to help you keep the network up and running at peak efficiency. Continue learning, too, so you are always improving and getting better at how you use the system. With these tips, you should be able to accomplish more with your VoIP system and get the most from your VoIP client. If you are shopping around, be sure and make a list of questions, too, and think carefully about how you plan to actually use your system every day. These strategies can help you get your new system running quickly at your business, whether you have a small business, a medium-sized organization or a larger enterprise with high call volumes.