Communication is key for the smooth functioning and growth of any business. Whether it is internal communication with employees, or external communication with customers, you need a reliable and cost-effective communication service. With the enhancements in communication technologies, many companies are seeking to move towards VoIP-based communication (aka Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS)) systems to replace their traditional landline connections. Hence, the ‘VoIP vs Landline’ topic is one which can certainly be considered “hot”.
Let’s learn about both of these technologies, so that you can decide if VoIP, landline or a hybrid of the two is more appropriate for your business.
Landline refers to the traditional telephones that have been in use since the 19th century. Landlines use the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). The PSTN connects to your home or office over copper wires. Within the PSTN, a call is carried over dedicated circuits that remain in place for the duration of the phone call.
Initially the switching in the PSTN was done manually: surely you remember the scenes from the movies of yesteryear with many ladies in a room receiving calls and making manual connections! Later on the switching was taken over by purpose-built “switches”.
Initially the PSTN was based on analog technology. It later transitioned to digital technology which offers many benefits such as improved quality and the ability to offer both voice and data services.
To use a landline, you have to be very close to the fixed-line phone.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a technology that allows users to make voice and video calls over a data network. The network used can be public such as the Internet, or private such as that operated by a corporate entity.
VoIP can be software or hardware-based
To use VoIP, you can be anywhere, as long as you are connected to a network. You can also use any device – such as your laptop or smartphone – to communicate.
A hybrid system is one in which your business is connected to both landlines and to a VoIP system. You could use the landline for making local calls, and use VoIP for long-distance calls.
A hybrid model offers the following benefits:
In order to decide between VoIP and landline, it is important to understand that both these technologies have strengths and weaknesses. Maybe “weakness” is not the proper term, as each technology has a certain set of characteristics, which make it suitable for some situations, and not suitable for other situations. Therefore, we will use the term “limitations”.
Having looked at how these technologies function and at their benefits and limitations, we will now compare criteria such as features, cost, reliability, flexibility and scalability.
In terms of usability and features, VoIP certainly has the upper hand. You have a variety of features at your disposal that can enhance the overall communication experience. Therefore, if your business relies heavily on features like email access, call forwarding, etc. as a part of your integrated communication service then VoIP is a better option than a landline.
If your business requires a single telephone connection, then a landline is a good and reliable option. However, setting up multiple telephone connections can add to the cost of installation, operation, and maintenance. This is not the case with IP telephony as the system works on a single Internet/network connection irrespective of the number of voice lines you use.
When it comes to reliability, landline systems are certainly more reliable than Internet-based communication services. If you are located in remote areas that are prone to Internet outages or unreliable Internet connectivity, then VoIP may not be entirely suitable for ensuring reliable communication services.
To add landlines, you need to order physical connections which are costly and take time to implement. On the other hand, VoIP is highly scalable: only additional software licenses and bandwidth may be required to add additional lines, and all required changes can be made in very little time.
Several providers offer hosted VoIP solutions: you only need an Internet connection, and the service provider will provide a hosted VoIP server at its premises. The service provider will also take care of all upgrades and maintenance. This model is suited to businesses that need fast deployment without any up-front costs.
You can also choose to go with an on-premise VoIP server, which connects to the service provider over the Internet or over a dedicated MPLS connection, for example.
With landlines, the only solution is to have the lines terminate on an on-premise Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
VoIP or Landline or Hybrid: the best solution for your business depends on your particular requirements.
The team at Carrierbid can help you in developing the best solution. We can perform detailed assessments and help you in determining the solution that is right for you. Our domain experts can be reached directly at 1-888-706-5656 or through our website at www.carrierbid.com.