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UCaaS & Voice
What is PRI? The Ultimate Guide to Primary Rate Interface

by Kendal Rudolph


4 min


PRI (Primary Rate Interface) is a form of a digital circuit that’s used for transmitting data and voice over conventional phone lines. But what exactly is this digital circuit, how does it work, and what benefits does it offer to businesses? We’ll discuss this in the ultimate guide to PRI and answer all the questions you may have about PRI.

PRI Explained

As mentioned, it is a digital circuit, which offers around 23 voice channels, as well as one data channel. This makes a total of 24 channels for transmitting both data and voice over conventional copper phone lines. Typically, medium to large-sized firms use PRI for their telephone systems to ensure they can easily manage a large volume of calls without any hassle.

How Does PRI Work?

PRI works simply by turning analog voice signals into digital signals that are easier to transmit over conventional copper phone lines. This conversion is possible with the use of a channel bank device that takes analog voice signals while converting them into faster digital signals over the entire PRI circuit. After that, the channel bank sends the converted digital signals to the final PBX, which routes all the calls to the desired destinations.

What is PRI in telecom?

In telecom, PRI helps in the management of an increasing number of calls simultaneously. This works by turning analog signals into digital signals that are easy to transmit over copper phone lines. It offers a dedicated circuit for easy data and voice transmission. This ensures there’s always ample bandwidth for data traffic and voice even during peak hours of usage.

PRI provides businesses with a more efficient and cost-effective solution for handling multiple voice channels, making it suitable for call centers, customer support centers, and businesses with high call volumes.

PRI is a reliable and cost-effective solution for businesses in need of more voice channels. Plus, it integrates with PBX (private branch exchange) systems effortlessly to form a comprehensive communication solution for various businesses that need a reliable and feature-rich telephone system.

Advantages of PRI

There are several advantages of PRI usage for a business’s telephone system.

  • Cost-effective: PRI is a cost-effective solution for businesses that need several voice channels. Since it needs traditional copper phone lines only, you don’t have to invest in a new, expensive infrastructure.
  • Scalable: PRI is easy to scale up or down as per your business requirements. You can easily add/remove the given channels as needed, without making any major changes to the given infrastructure.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): PRI provides QoS guarantees, which means that your voice traffic gets priority over various types of traffic present on the network. It also ensures your calls are uninterrupted and clear.
  • Integration with PBX: PRI can seamlessly integrate with PBX systems, allowing businesses to potentially utilize the existing infrastructure and avoid additional costs.
  • Improved Communication: With PRI, businesses can experience improved communication efficiency, call quality, and reliability, leading to enhanced customer interactions and overall productivity.
  • Dedicated Channels: The 23 voice channels in a PRI circuit allow multiple simultaneous calls, making it suitable for businesses with high call volumes and call centers.
  • Security: PRI offers better security measures, as it operates on dedicated circuits, reducing the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive communications.
  • VoIP Compatibility: PRI can also integrate with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technologies, allowing businesses to enjoy the benefits of both traditional telephony and modern IP-based communication.
  • Redundancy and Reliability: PRI circuits can be set up with redundancy to ensure high availability and reliability, which is crucial for businesses that require uninterrupted communication.
  • Support for Legacy Equipment: PRI supports legacy telephony equipment, allowing businesses to leverage their existing investments while upgrading their communication capabilities.

PRI is an Enterprise Solution

A PRI phone system can be beneficial to businesses of all sizes, especially those with many employees who need to make phone calls and need access to advanced telephone features. The PRI system offers much more flexibility and scalability than a traditional PBX system, allowing businesses to easily add or remove lines as needed. Additionally, it allows for multiple phone numbers to be used by a single phone line, allowing businesses to have multiple phone numbers for different departments.

Businesses that need to make international calls can also benefit from a PRI system, as it can provide them with cheaper international calling rates.

Some businesses also choose a hybrid type of communication setup. With such a configuration, a PRI system makes it possible to manage the local calling for a company. The preexisting PSTN phones are easier to use this way. For better unified communications activities that need higher bandwidth, a hosted PBX and SIP trunking is useful. This way, it’s convenient to use video conferences, file sharing, screen sharing, and webinars without incurring the per-minute charges from the existing telecoms.

Interactive comparison tables of businesses’ VoIP providers can be used to get insight into an upgraded legacy system for better internet-based communications.

PRI is a reliable option that allows businesses to take advantage of the latest features while still keeping their existing on-premise phone systems. It is a cost-effective solution that helps businesses reduce their communication costs. It’s easy to set up and provides reliable stability and clear lines. With its scalability, QoS guarantees, and integration with PBX systems, PRI continues to be a popular choice for businesses looking to enhance their communication capabilities and manage high call volumes efficiently. Embrace the benefits of PRI to empower your business with a robust and efficient communication infrastructure. Experience seamless communication, enhanced productivity, and improved customer interactions with PRI.