Junction Networks has been around since 2014 with its goal is to help businesses of all sizes and everywhere build a faster, easier, and more professional communications network via its OnSip product. Since then OnSip has grown from a small VoIP startup to a strong cloud based virtual PBX provider in the communications sector. As a large cloud PBX service provider it claims to have more than 45,000+ subscribers who are particularly vocal in their praise for the product and customer support.
Junction Networks have developed OnSIP as a web-based VoIP telephone system, specifically for small to medium businesses (SMBs). However, a very unusual feature of OnSIP is that as it is part of Junction Networks it operates over the traditional PSTN networks using SIP trunks hence the SIP in OnSip.
Session Initiation Protocol (“SIP” for short) is actually a VoIP signaling protocol that is used to control the setup and termination of real-time VoIP connections for things like voice and video calls. SIP is very important as it sets up the connection between VoIP endpoints such as phones or mobile apps endpoints to be able to initiate a call and then SIP is used to tear down that connection after the call is finished.
Why use SIP Trunks
SIP trunks are usually only used by enterprises and large businesses for VoIP due to their expense. However, OnSIP has brought this to the SMB and at a very low cost hence the interest. In addition, SIP trunks provide the reliable bandwidth that is a prerequisite for high quality and reliable service, which is very important nowadays when using HD video for video calling and presentations. Furthermore the SIP trunks are also enhanced by OnSIP’s main data centers being located in geographically diverse locations. Not only does thins provide redundancy but also optimal routing between calling parties.
Hub Centers for Business Continuity
Network Junction has its own network of Data Centers. These are the vital hubs of the cloud service, and are located in New York and California, which provide for business continuity in the case of a local disaster (Floods, earthquakes, snow etc).
Another advantage of having your VoIP service hosted by a nationwide web services provider is that they have large hub networks, which provide the necessary connection points across all of the North American continent. What this means in practical terms is that your business will be only ever likely to be one hop away from both OnSIP’s cloud service (their servers) and the called party. This provides efficient call routing and enables low charges; hence, OnSIP’s attractive pay-as-you-go deals.
As of 2020 OnSIP has restricted its service plans to two offerings: basic and unliminted service and pricing plans. This is because OnSIP as its name suggests has been developed using the open standard SIP protocol, which makes its service flexible, easy and cheap to configure. It is this flexibility of service that makes it ideal for SMB’s as OnSIP charge for calls and not for the number of extensions.
As a result, a business can install as many extensions as they wish for no extra charge as OnSIP’s business model is structured around the call minutes not the number of devices. This can make OnSIP highly attractive to some smaller businesses that do not have heavy call usage. Alternatively, OnSIP also offers a more traditional model based on the number of seats (users) with a pay as you go or an unlimited number of standard calls (minutes) plan. This may be the more attractive scenario for some SMBs as it does pack in more features and benefits that some businesses will find essential but it does appear to dilute one of OnSIP’s differentiating features of unlimited users/extensions.
This Basic plan is the entry-level plan, which would suit small businesses that do not have particularly heavy call usage – Remember with VoIP you are charged for both incoming and outbound calls. The idea behind this plan is to permit the business to install and configure as many extensions as they wish as revenue will be generated by the call minutes. As a result, the Basic plan is really a pay-as-you-go model, which is very attractive to SMB’s that wish to avoid the hefty price-per-user fees demanded by many of OnSIP’s competitors. As of writing – (May 2020) OnSIP charges 2.9c per minute with on-network calls free.
The basic plan is however not entirely without charges as you must buy a minimum of $49.95 worth of features as part of your service account, which is a recurring monthly charge on top of the call minutes used. The features you would expect to get included with the basic Plan for $49 are; Voicemail box, Auto Attendants, Ring Groups, Web phone app, music on hold, announcements, web site call to dial widget and a conference call suite. However an interesting thing about OnSIP is features are pick-and-mix so youcan choose exactly which features you want.
The alternative offering is a traditional pay per user service plan called Unlimited, which offers many features included in the monthly price of $18.95 per user per month. Other features are also available again as an al le carte basis. However you will find that most VoIP features such as the advanced music on hold and call parking are also included at no additional cost.
With the Unlimited service plan, there is still no restriction on the number of extensions that can be assigned per user or even the type of devices as we will discuss in the next section.
Basic Vs Unlimited
OnSip, suggest helpfully that the basic service plan is suited to businesses that rely heavily on their phones but with low to medium calling, examples are real estate, business consulting or legal services. Alternatively, the unlimited option is optimized for businesses with heavy call usage such as auto dealerships, insurance agencies, and Financial services.
Taking the unlimited calls option also provides for easier administration and budgeting as you pay a standard cost per month. However, the costs incurred are directly related to the call usage, as the service doesn’t provide any additional (free) features or functionality
Website Chat (SAYSO)
There is a third option which OnSIP call Website Chat. Which comes free of charge as it is a browser based VoIP system that makes voice and video calls over the internet. The SAYSO service plan is very popular today as solution for remote working as it is ideal for team meetings and video conferencing amongst other things.
OnSIP Pros and Cons
- Free website chat
- Mobile and desktop apps
- Good omnichannel support
- Video conferencing
- Goo business application integration
- Cheap call rates
- Many features are extra
- Can become costly to scale
- Not easy to configure
Phones and Devices
OnSIP, being based upon the open standards SIP protocol – is able to support any standard SIP device, whether that be a standard SIP phone, a mobile application or a computer softphone. Therefore, it is easy to add extensions to the OnSIP network, however it does take some technical understanding and skills. Alternatively, SIP phones can be purchased pre-configured from OnSIP that work out of the box in a plug-and-play mode. This is probably the most convenient method for non-technical users but the option to customize the network using and SIP enabled device is always an option.
Unified Communications – the new hot term in Cloud based VoIP systems – is also fully supported in OnSIP through a my.onsip portal that enables basic features such as managing voicemail, messaging coworkers and handling presence in addition to making and receiving calls. Using my.sip on a smartphone or tablet allows for true mobility as you can fully communicate through the business number anywhere and at anytime.
Although OnSIP’s feature set is merely a subset of some of its more illustrious but expensive competitors it does provide the essential functions and a few more. For example, OnSIP supports system integration with CRM packages such as Saleforce, Zen Desk and importantly Microsoft Outlook.
Other features available are voicemail-to –email transcription, Business hour routing, and click-to-dial widgets for a website.
Mobile and Desktop Apps
There free apps to download from the OnSIP website for Windows, Apple, and Linux as well as mobile apps for Android and iOS. These OnSIP apps provide mobility as they can operate as a fully functional system extension on a laptop, tablet or mobile where ever you may be.
In addition you can expect to get HD audio and video with great quality and performance on your mobile devices. Nonetheless, apart from the quality and ease of use, the OnSIP app is free to download and use as it is available to any clients regardless of the service plan that they chose. The desktop app runs on Opera, Chrome, and Firefox, and OnSIP provides detailed setup guides for each OS. OnSIP users have access via the mobile app to all of their contact information, presence indicators, and are able to answer and transfer seamlessly any inbound calls. Additionally, users can set their own find-me follow-me call preferences such as call sequence and call transfer, hold, mute, and they can even pause video running within the mobile app.
The benefit of these smart and easy to use mobile and desktop apps makes remote working much easier and this has been a big selling point in 2020. For example during lockdown you can easily use the OnSIP Mobile app as a complete desk phone replacement. As a result, using your mobile phone at home you can make instant HD voice and video calls to your coworkers and other contacts just as you would have from your desk. The app also offers voicemail management, call history, and lots more.