Gone are the days when businesses simply rely on a plain old telephone system (POTS) to communicate with their workers and customer base. With the advent of digital transformation, updates and improvements in the communications space have paved the way for the emergence of newer and much better solutions that make it possible for businesses to streamline their operations and easily connect with their works and enable them to get work done fluidly and seamlessly.
One technology that pushing the boundaries of business communication by enabling organizations to take advantage of its many benefits is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). But what exactly is VoIP and how does it differ from a traditional landline service?
To understand the differences between VoIP and traditional landline services and enable readers to choose the right option that will better suit their business needs, VoipReview will cover the ins and outs of both systems.
VoIP and Landline Services: Defined
Two of the most common technologies that small and mid-sized businesses employ when communicating with their employees and customers are traditional landline and VoIP services. Both technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages, which make one or the other more suitable depending on a business’ needs.
What is a Landline?
Traditional landline services, referred to as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), are the analog systems that run through a local or regional telephone service provider’s old copper wiring. To enable a landline service, businesses will need an onsite private branch exchange (PBX) hardware to allow them to set up multiple phone extensions and run different features such as call transferring and extension directories.
What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) does not use traditional copper wires but instead utilizes a business’ existing Internet connection to send and receive messages. VoIP technology converts audio signals from a speech into digital data that travels through a broadband Internet (e.g. DSL, fiber optic, or cable) to its destination. Instead of using a traditional phone jack, the phone line is plugged into a VoIP adapter, and the adapter is attached to a modem or a computer.
VoIP or Landline Services: What is Best for Your Business?
When comparing VoIP and traditional landline service, it is crucial to remember that they are two very different technologies. Although there are similarities to both systems, there are key differences between a VoIP system and a traditional landline service. But before choosing between a traditional landline or VoIP for phone calls, take into consideration an organization’s individual needs. Most importantly, compare the benefits and drawbacks of both systems before making a final decision.
- Convenience. In terms of convenience, VoIP wins over a landline service by bringing a range of benefits that enable businesses to make and receive calls without the boundaries of location and time. A traditional landline that runs on copper wires is typically set up in a fixed location (or wherever a dedicated telephone jack is located). But with a VoIP system, businesses can virtually connect with their employees from any location by using a designated telephone extension that can be programmed to ring through all mobile devices, including at home, at the office, and even a smartphone. Because of this, customers can easily reach the business by calling just a single number. Additionally, the virtual extension can be utilized to manage outgoing calls, whether in the office, at home, or abroad.
- Customization. One key difference between VoIP and traditional landline service is in customization. VoIP services allow users to customize their subscription, thereby allowing businesses to have the option to choose the services they want and eliminate the ones that they are not using. For instance, VoIP service allows users to email an audio copy of a voicemail they recently received or have their calls directed to their smartphones at a fixed time or when they are out of the office. Landline services, on the other part, have no mobile capabilities. Although it offers low bandwidth, there are no options for add-on services or customized features that enable them to redirect calls to their smartphones.
- Versatility. When it comes to versatility, VoIP is more superior than a traditional landline because it allows migration across different platform, from desktops and laptops to smartphones. VoIP can be integrated with other systems such as a customer relationship management (CRM) application to make it easier for a company’s sales teams to access important data during customer service calls. In this way, businesses can get to know their clients more and personalize the service based on their preferences. Plus, a dual-mode VoIP handset is capable of switching from a mobile connection to a WiFi even during a conversation, thereby eliminating the need to provide workers with both a regular office phone and a mobile phone.
- Functionality. Traditional landline service offered by a phone company only delivers the most basic features, such as caller ID, call forwarding, call waiting, call blocking, three-way calling, voicemail, and more. On the other hand, a VoIP system not only offers the basic features found on a landline service but it comes with a plethora of functionalities, including video conferencing, voice-to-email, virtual receptionist, three-digit dialing, automatic call forwarding, and more. Aside from these features, VoIP’s advanced messaging capabilities such as conference bridge, group paging, hunt groups, and find me/follow me, enable businesses to efficiently communicate and collaborate with their remote employees or mobile workers who alternate their time between the field and the office. All these productivity features of VoIP allow businesses to facilitate efficient communication across the entire channel as long as there is a high-speed Internet connection.
- Reliability. When it comes to reliability, landline service has a slight edge over a VoIP system. A traditional phone line is not powered the same way as electricity is. Hence, when there is power outage or interruption, businesses will still have access to their landline services to make or receive calls. On the other hand, with a VoIP service, in an event of a power outage or an interruption on the Internet connection, businesses will not be able to make or receive calls. The great news is that VoIP continues to improve their offerings and the small gap between the landline and VoIP in terms of reliability is closing. This is because many service providers are offering options to automatically send incoming calls to a designated backup number, such as smartphones. In this way, businesses can make use of their smartphones in the event that the Internet or electricity goes down.
- Cost-savings. Using a VoIP system is more affordable compared to a traditional landline service because the messages and calls are sent and received as Internet data whereas a PSTN required a dedicated line that runs over old copper lines to get the call to its destination. Although both VoIP and a landline offer unlimited domestic calling as a standard service, when it comes to international calling a VoIP system can offer lower rates by introducing the use of free on-network calling and virtual numbers (commonly known as direct inward dialing or DID). International VoIP calls are relatively cheaper than international calls from a traditional phone service because the virtual numbers are programmed to route incoming calls to a preset telephone number. As a result, businesses can create a local presence anywhere and once an employee makes and/or receives long distance calls, the caller will be charged a local call rate because the virtual number remains intact regardless of the location.
- Scalability. The scalable nature of VoIP allows businesses to add or remove as many phone lines or extensions to their existing system. It also has the capability to reduce or increase the number of users and pay for what they need instead of paying for a certain capacity. On the other hand, with a traditional landline phone system, businesses need to choose between an individual phone line or an in-house PBX system. Because a landline system has limited number of lines, adding more means installing and upgrading the company’s hardware, which can be expensive.
VoIP has a strong edge over a traditional landline when it comes to scalability, convenience, cost-savings, and versatility. As the world continues to embrace digital transformation, VoIP is fast becoming an excellent choice for organizations wanting to have a feature-rich and flexible phone solution that has the capability to improve business efficiency and enhance employee productivity while cutting costs.