What is SIP Forking?

SIP connects two phones in a peer-to-peer link instead of sending traffic through a centralized point. This enables businesses to establish large phone systems with rules deciding where calls go as they are placed. For instance, phone calls can follow specific rules and fork in a sequence through a large number of different phones until someone answers, the call can go to voicemail afterwards. SIP forking, then, enables calls to move through a set of rules controlling how these incoming calls are handled.

Session Internet Protocol (SIP) trunking is used to create voice over IP (VoIP) phone “trunks” or lines via the Internet. Forking is a SIP feature that makes it easier to create rules that your phone system can follow, sending calls where they need to go whether that is an IP phone, cellphone, your desk phone or a coworker’s tablet computer.

What SIP Forking Can Do:

  • Sequential ring–Your incoming calls go to each phone in the sequence until calls are answered or go to voicemail.
  • Parallel ring–Your incoming calls reach every phone at the same time, ringing until someone answers or until calls go to voicemail.
  • Create rules to handle your calls, such as in a large business telecommunications call center
  • Enable call queues and structures that function automatically, even in distributed work settings

This article will help you understand the basics of SIP forking and how it works. With this information, you can make better decisions about what you need in a business phone system and how it should be set up.

Article Contents:

  1. How SIP Forking Works
  2. Typical Uses for SIP Forking
  3. How Does SIP Forking Help My Business?
  4. Getting Started with SIP Forking
  5. SIP Forking Tips and Tricks

1. How SIP Forking Works

SIP forking simplifies the process of setting up rules and features controlling how incoming calls are handled. A SIP fork sends a single call to multiple endpoints. This can be done with more than one phone network endpoint simultaneously, or to multiple endpoints following a particular order. Basically, SIP is the language VoIP phones and lines can use to communicate with one another without a centralized trunk. It is peer-to-peer, directly from one VoIP phone to another. You can set up many different and useful calling features with this technology.

As a SIP call occurs, the signal can be split to other phones, following particular rules. If a fork sequence is set up, the same call is routed in sequence, one after another, to each of the different phones programmed into the rule. A parallel fork sends the same call to every phone. These features are useful for businesses with many VoIP phones and extensions, allowing calls to be received by the correct people and departments at the right moments.

2. Typical Uses for SIP Forking

Business owners, managers and others looking to deploy a robust telecommunications system for their organizations may be interested in bringing many different phones into their phone system. SIP forking ensures that calls are appropriately answered and managed in order rather than being lost or ignored. If your business has a large call volume, ensuring that all calls are answered in the appropriate order and correctly taken care of through forking may make a lot of sense.


  • Avoid missing calls
  • Ensure calls reach someone in your system
  • Manage peak call volumes and other issues
  • Quickly and simply build a call center-style structure with your phone system

Whether your business is large or small, you may benefit from SIP forking. This straightforward queuing method minimizes missed calls in your system and helps create order.

3. How Does SIP Forking Help My Business?

SIP forking can help your business organize calls and structure a type of call center system, routing calls through your phone system to more than one phone. Since it can also work simultaneously, you can ensure that your calls are routed to a phone somewhere in the system that can be answered promptly. If calls do go to voicemail eventually, you can ensure that these calls have several opportunities to be answered by someone in the correct department or someone who is available to answer.

You can customize the settings and rules for SIP forking to keep calls moving appropriately through the system. SIP forking can help you move inbound calls within your organization without requiring extensive rule programming or complicated steps. SIP compatible phones communicate with each other directly through a peer-to-peer system rather than following an extensive route or going through a centralized trunk.

4. Getting Started with SIP Forking

To take advantage of SIP forking functionality, you may need a phone that is compatible with SIP, a VoIP vendor, Internet service and a connection. You may also need other technology and services, depending on your goals and what you currently have available.

Your phone or VoIP vendor may be able to recommend appropriate equipment and strategies for using SIP forking. They can help you figure out what is best for your business and how you should begin the deployment process. The actual process of setting up SIP forking with your SIP phones is usually very straightforward, since SIP compatible phones already have the necessary capability to communicate peer-to-peer and interact in a SIP fork.

5. SIP Forking Tips and Tricks

  1. You may need a private branch exchange (PBX) for your communications system. Your VoIP vendor may be able to recommend one for you. Some computers and similar appliances make excellent PBX systems, with the right software. Larger systems may cost several thousand dollars but offer great capabilities for routing calls and controlling your phone system.
  2. User agents are SIP forking endpoints. These can be smartphones, tablets, SIP phones or other compatible devices. SIP forking works with a broad range of different equipment types and can help you put together a functioning phone system with different phones.
  3. Using SIP forking, you can send an unanswered call automatically to the next phone in line, avoiding unanswered calls. This can help your business ensure that every incoming call is responded to and not lost.
  4. You can set more complex rules, too, and ensure that specific callers can get through, quickly set your phones to send calls to voicemail, etc. SIP forking allows for easily customized call rules. These can help your business telecommunications system function more efficiently.
  5. Create a distributed phone system for situations where employees are in many different locations. Calls can follow the rules you set even if each phone is distant from one another. This means you do not need all phones to be within the same building, city or even state.
  6. You can overcome geographic, time-related and other challenges with SIP forking. Quickly adjust the rules and have changes implemented immediately.
  7. Access additional features and functionality beyond what traditional phones and phone systems can offer you by using SIP forking with your phone system. SIP enables a variety of different communications strategies and can help your business operate more effectively by reaching more people.
  8. SIP forking is a powerful tool to create your own call center. You can do so at a lower cost, with equipment that fits your budget and business needs. If you need help choosing the right equipment, your VoIP vendor may have some suggestions.

Use our Best Price TM Tool to Find The Right Business Phone System For Your Business

Compare The Lowest Prices From Only The Best Business VoIP Providers

This will help us match you to providers
designed for your company's size.