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SIP Addresses vs Telephone Numbers

Updated on December 8, 2011

The Battle for the Address

In the technology world, he who controls the standard controls the entire platform. This is why when a new technology is introduced, there's a bloodbath as companies spend millions or billions of dollars trying to get their standard to be the most accepted. It's the reason why Facebook has such a dominant footprint and the reason why everyone now uses USB sticks.

In the telecommunications space, we've been using one particular standard for decades. And though it's served us well all this time and has been incredibly useful, we continue to use it even when it's outdated and a better alternative exists. This is human nature. People prefer what they're used to and are risk averse. But sometimes changes sneak up on them and this is one of those times when the benefits might just push us over the edge.

The standard in question is the telephone number and VoIP wants to punch through that and establish another addressing system much like the email addressing technology that has served to make the web what it is today. Change will be slow and the telecos will do everything to try and prevent that from happening. But you can't really compete with superior technology over the long term and the transition is inevitable.

VoIP Phone Models
VoIP Phone Models

The Age of SIP Addresses

The problem with telephone numbers is that it makes us beholden to the carriers. There's no way to tell at a glance whether or not a given telephone number is a real phone or a VoIP phone in disguise. This means that even if you want to connect to VoIP phones over the Internet you have to go through the telephone system for delivery as long as you're using telephone numbers. This incurs charges and lowers the quality of the call. In reality with fast Internet speeds, there's no reason why the call should not be free and shouldn't take place in clear HD voice.

Telephone numbers force us all down to the lowest common denominator. SIP addresses on the other hand are like email addresses for VoIP phones. If you dial an SIP address from your Internet phone, there's no need to pay the telcos anything. You can talk to anyone in the world for as long as you want...for free.

If you're wondering how to create an SIP account, contact your ITSP or select a free SIP provider. Businesses however should opt for a professional service provider and select from a range of VoIP phone models which they can use for the best VoIP experience.


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