Are SIP and VoIP the same?


Are SIP and VoIP the same?

  • SIP and VoIP are not the same thing, though the terms are often used interchangeably.

  • VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, which broadly covers any phone calls made over the Internet as opposed to traditional telephone lines.

  • SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol, a communications protocol that helps to manage multimedia communication sessions which may include voice calls as well as videoconferencing and other aspects of unified communications.

  • The SIP protocol can be used to enable VoIP.

The terms “SIP trunking” and “VoIP” are heard frequently these days as more organizations look to the Internet to provide advances in enterprise telephony. Both SIP and VoIP can refer to phone connections made over the Internet rather than with traditional telephone lines. But is SIP and VoIP the same technology? Or are there differences that enterprise decision-makers should be aware of? Here’s an introduction to “Is SIP and VoIP the same?” that discusses these matters in brief.

Are SIP and VoIP the same?

No. While SIP and VoIP can both refer to phone calls made over the Internet, there are significant differences between the two terms. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a family of technologies that enables voice to be sent over the Internet. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is a protocol that can be used to set up and take down VoIP calls, and can also be used to send multimedia messages over the Internet using PCs and mobile devices.

Are SIP and VoIP the same in the media they enable?

No. SIP trunks can enable communications in a variety of media, including voice, video and data. VoIP refers only to voice communications sent over the Internet.

Are SIP and VoIP the same in terms of handsets?

Yes. SIP and VoIP, working together, can place and receive phone calls to handsets that are enabled for SIP and VoIP. For most modern VoIP telephone systems, trunks and handsets, both SIP and VoIP support is required in order to place and receive voice calls. SIP and VoIP can ALSO be used to place and receive phone calls to other devices, such as soft clients on computers or apps on mobile smart phones.