Landline or VoIP: What’s the best phone system?
As the owner or manager of a small to mid-size business or organization, you’ll generally choose between one of two types of phone systems. A landline which uses use traditional copper wires. Or, voice-over IP (Internet Protocol). VoIP employs your internet connection to transmit conversations as data.
Landline phone services explained
Commonly called public switched telephone networks or PSTNs, landline phone services are analog systems that run operate via your telephone company’s traditional copper wiring. To benefit from a landline service, your business or operation will require on-site private branch exchange (PBX). PBX is hardware that lets you operate multiple phone extensions and allows various calling features like extension directories and call transferring.
Advantages and disadvantages of landline phone services
Time-tested solutions, landline telephone services are reliable, easy to maintain and can function independently of electrical outages or internet connectivity issues that may affect VoIP services. (Some phones may require electricity, but the copper wiring does not.) Landline phone services operate on purpose-built networks created for one use only: telephony. Because of their singular focus, landlines manage telephony very well. Users get excellent call quality as well as highly private and secure connections. Uptime approaches nearly 100%, and the ability to support large volumes of voice traffic is another major plus. The biggest disadvantages to landline phone services? If not quite obsolete, the technology itself has peaked. No developments or enhancements are envisioned for it. There are plans to phase it out completely in many areas of the world. And, the cost of upgrades, repairs and replacement parts can expect to grow. Consider features like intercom call transfer, group ringing, call queuing and more that come standard with most VoIP phone systems. To match them, you’ll need costly PBX hardware for your landline service, not to mention the expense of a technician to install and maintain it.
VoIP phone systems explained
Instead of copper wires, Voice over Internet Protocol phone services employ your business or organization’s existing internet connection to convert and transmit voice as data. Skype and Vonage are two examples of VoIP. However, these systems are used primarily by individuals. Other services leverage the same technology on a larger scale for companies and organizations. With VoIP systems, you have the option to purchase and install your equipment outright. Self-hosting is often the case for bigger firms with more users and with larger IT teams. Instead of buying and managing their own VoIP system, smaller users often elect to rent the VoIP equipment from a service provider and have them host it in the cloud.
Advantages and disadvantages of VoIP phone systems
VoIP systems are technically advanced, feature-rich and usually more economical than traditional landline systems. What’s more, they’re easily set up, configured and managed. As an added benefit, cloud-based VoIP phone systems require no maintenance or hardware beyond your desk phones. Technology is housed, maintained and upgraded for you by the service provider. Bottom line? Up-front expenses are minimized. What’s more, you automatically gain access to the latest features as soon as they become available. Beyond cost, the most significant technical benefit of VoIP phone services is their scalability. Landline systems are limited to the number of lines that you can connect. Need more? You’ll need to install them and upgrade your hardware.
In contrast, VoIP systems allow for an unlimited number of lines because they rely only on your internet connection. Setup and maintenance expenses are dramatically reduced. Ongoing costs are likely to be less with VoIP service, as well. The savings gained from internet connections over copper wires to service providers are often passed on to end users. And, international call rates are usually considerably more affordable with VoIP.
The bottom line?
The few disadvantages to VoIP phone services in relation to traditional phone systems are rapidly disappearing. Any business or organization served with a high-speed internet connection is likely to enjoy call quality every bit as good as that offered by older systems. And, while VoIP phone services remain dependent on a steady supply of electrical power, most of today’s VoIP system can operate during a power outage or even an internet failure. The VoIP provider simply routes all your calls automatically to a mobile phone or another backup number.