SIP vs. VoIP: What’s the Difference?

  • May 25, 2021
  • Author: Keith Young

These two terms are used hand-in-hand with one another, but what is the real difference? Are they synonyms for one another, or are they two completely different things? 

Keep reading to find out!

What is VoIP?

VoIP is Voice over Internet Protocol. VoIP is a technology that allows you to make calls over the internet rather than through a phone line. This saves a lot of money on phone bills. You don’t pay for minutes or for long-distance, you only pay for internet access.

In a VoIP call, your voice is turned into packets of audio and sent over the internet to the other person in the call – and likewise, their voice is sent back in audio packets. 

VoIP requires some sort of internet protocol to run. SIP is by far the most common, but you can use others such as H. 323. However, VoIP technology is only capable of transmitting voice from phone to phone if you’re using anything other than SIP. 

Alongside SIP, you can do much more. We’ll get back to that, but first let’s find out what SIP exactly is.

What is SIP?

SIP (or Session Initiation Protocol) is effectively a set of rules that allow VoIP systems to function. It regulates the transmission of information from one device to another – or many others, and is used in video conferences, forms of text-based messaging, and more. 

In simple terms, SIP acts like a language. When you make a call on a VoIP phone, you’re telling your phone to initiate the call. 

SIP is the language used to “talk” to the phone. It’s how your phone is able to know to maintain the call when the other person has picked up, and how it’s able to know to terminate the call when you hang up.

While you can have a VoIP system without SIP, SIP is universally accepted as the industry standard, and there are very few people who’ll use an alternative.

So from this point onwards in this post we’ll assume that all VoIP systems use SIP.

VoIP and SIP together

VoIP on its own is only capable of voice calling, but SIP makes it possible to send video, text, and more – pretty much any kind of digital communication will usually use SIP.

Another advantage of VoIP is its mobility. You can go anywhere and make a call – as long as you have internet access. In the event of a sudden emergency, you can switch over to work-from-home with ease.

Not only that, but you save a ton of money on hardware as well – all you need is a phone and a router, rather than all the equipment required to operate a landline system! This also makes it really easy to expand and add more devices to your system as needed.

You might not even need to use the same phone, as many VoIP providers also offer a softphone app – meaning you can use your cell phone instead!

Together, VoIP and SIP allow for the creation of powerful and versatile tools.

The Verdict

So in reality, SIP and VoIP are two different things that work together in order for most internet communications to happen. 

VoIP allows people to connect over the internet in many ways, and SIP enables VoIP systems to function by regulating it and telling it what to do.

If you’re looking for the best VoIP solutions, get in touch with us here at UnitedCloud today!

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