Need a Free SIP Address?
The latest Address Real Estate
VoIP has become the hot new communications technology which is radically different from the traditional PSTN phone lines. If you could redesign the phone system, wouldn't you make it more like email? Where everyone has an account with a provider and calls between any two users are free? This dream is partially realized - you can easily get a VoIP account with a plethora of service providers such as Skype. But interconnectivity between them is problematic. This is because we're too used to dialing numbers to make calls. Most providers these days are SIP compatible which means that you can dial anyone's SIP address and talk to them entirely over the Internet. But when each SIP address is linked to a telephone number, there's no way to tell if an SIP address is hiding behind it.
But for now, SIP addresses are the latest real estate. Remember the boom days of email when there was a scramble for people to get their names first with a variety of service providers? So many email providers came and went. Who knows which ones will be alive a decade from now. But the process for getting an SIP address is pretty much the same as that for an email ID. Find a provider you're comfortable with, and sign up!
Who do you sign up with?
The quality of the SIP services clearly varies greatly with the kind of provider you sign up with. Unlike with email, which had low bandwidth requirements, an SIP provider has to have capable servers which can seamlessly transfer voice and possibly even videos in real time. Junction networks for example, recently released getonsip.com which gives users access to an SIP address on their servers. Several other free services such as callwithus.com and callcentric.com also offer free SIP addresses. And then there's sip2sip.info which is another strong contender.
The best option would be to sign up with all of them since they're free and try out their services one by one. I haven't had a great experience with callcentric but then I don't know if it's their fault or there's another clog somewhere up the line.
Using an SIP address, you can receive free calls from any phone in the US if you can also sign up for a free telephone number using services such as IPKall or Google Voice. The exact process is a bit complex, but once you understand how it works, it all becomes crystal clear. If you're a business, contact your ITSP to ensure a smooth switch to hosted PBX services. Your hosted business SIP provider will be able to tell you more about the quality of their SIP services and also allow you to investigate problems with call quality.