What is VoIP?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), sometimes called internet calling or IP telephony, is a type of telephone technology that allows you to make phone calls using a broadband internet connection instead of using a traditional analog phone line. VoIP calls use various methods, including traditional phones, apps for smartphones and desktops, computer software and specific VoIP-enabled phones. VoIP systems are typically less expensive to operate than other phone systems and have the flexibility of letting the business use the system wherever there is an internet connection. Since these systems are built on and rely on digital technologies, they can incorporate newer features easier than analog systems can too.
However, VoIP systems rely on a strong broadband internet connection. If internet service is intermittent, does not have enough speed or bandwidth, or goes out all together, VoIP systems will not work. Additionally, internet speed and bandwidth issues will affect call quality as well.
What is a landline?
A landline typically refers to the original telephone system first developed in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. Although enhancements were made to the system, it functions primarily the same and it is the telephone system that most people thought of before the proliferation of the mobile cellular phone. With landlines, signals are sent over copper lines through a series of physical switchboxes from one phone to another. This wired network makes the connection extremely reliable and stable. As long as the lines are intact, these phones remain operational. Additionally, since they do not rely on internet service, the sound quality is significantly greater than calls using internet technologies, and with viewer dropped calls.
However, there are some drawbacks and limitations to landlines. Although the analog technology of landlines is consistent and proven, it is not portable. Calls using this technology are limited to the location where the service is installed. Cordless phones give some portable flexibility to the service location, but it does not allow the user to make calls from anywhere. Additionally, the service cost of landlines is more expensive than VoIP options. The addition of features like voicemail, call waiting, caller ID and the additional taxes that landlines are subject to, make them a more costly option than VoIP phones.
VoIP vs. Landline: How do I Choose?
If you are making the (VoIP/ landline) decision, there are a few things you should consider first. There may be other factors unique to your business but these are universal items that should apply to any situation:
Costs & Features: This is a straightforward analysis. Talk to the service providers in your area to get quotes on the system you think is best for your business. Do a side-by-side comparison of the costs and features available from each. Then, perform a cost benefit analysis of each and what is important for your business and its growth.
Equipment: What equipment do you already have and what will you need to purchase? The system you choose will require certain hardware to make sure the system operates properly. If you already own or have access to quality equipment that you are pleased with, it can make the implementation of your phone system less expensive. If not, you will need to invest in new equipment to get your system operational. This could mean additional phones and a PBX system for a landline. If you go with a VoIP system, you'll need to have stable internet routers and VoIP adapters or phones.
Service reliability: Although landlines are known for their reliability and in-frequent outages, there are geographic nuances. Is the service in your area consistent and reliable? You'll want to know that before committing to a landline system. The same is true for VoIP options. These systems rely on the internet and therefore you must have a consistent and reliable internet connection and significant bandwidth for the system to operate.
Future Needs: What are the growth plans for your business? How will that effect your telephone needs? You may not need some features initially, but as your business grows your needs may change. You may want to select a system that can be easily scaled to meet the needs of your business as it evolves.
There are a lot of questions to consider before deciding on your telecommunications system. Businesses rely on its telecommunication system to keep customers and employees connected. Additionally, most businesses now have an operational need to conduct business virtually. Choosing the right phone system and related tools will affect your business's productivity and efficiency. If you have questions about your phone system needs, consider partnering with an experienced firm to help you through the process. They can help you make sense of the options and choose the best products and service for your business.