When it comes to choosing a phone system for your business, there are a number of factors to consider – primarily cost, reliability, call quality, and installation. Both have their pros and cons, which may make one the better choice for your company. Here’s a brief look at both to help you decide which will work for you.
1 – The Difference
A traditional phone line plugs into a phone jack and uses electrical signals to transmit sound over a hardwired phone system. With VOIP (voice over internet protocol), on the other hand, the phone line plugs into a VOIP adapter, which is then plugged into your modem or computer. It converts sound into digital signals which travel via broadband internet – either DSL or fiber optic cable.
2 – Landline
The Pros – A traditional landline is typically more reliable than a voice over IP system, as it’s not affected by internet or power outages. It also tends to have better overall call quality. Many businesses are comfortable with landline as it’s a time-tested, reliable system.
The Cons – Installing a landline for your business requires multiple lines, which means you’ll need a PBX, a costly piece of equipment. It also means that as your business grows and you need to add more lines, you’ll need to pay to have additional, physical lines added to your PBX. The ongoing costs also tend to be higher, particularly for international calls. High international costs and voice delay.
3 – VOIP
The Pros – Typically cheaper to install as it doesn’t require a PBX. Easy to set up, either on your computer or smartphone. Being a “virtual” phone system, it’s easy to add lines as your business grows. Generally offers competitive rates and lower calling costs. Can usually be added to your internet package from the same provider. Calls can be made and received on multiple devices – smartphone, computer or desk phone. No delay on international calls and much lower international call rates.
The Cons – Call quality may not be as good, though a reliable internet connection provides better voice quality. A VOIP system relies on both power and internet, so will be affected by outages. A lack of stable internet connections in remote or rural areas may mean VOIP isn’t an option.
A VOIP system tends to have the upper hand when it comes to cost, setup and ease of use. Most phone service providers are moving away from landline and can offer better rates on a VOIP system, often as part of your internet package. Though landline has, until now, had the advantages of reliability and better call quality, improving technology means VOIP is not far behind. International calls, apart from being cheaper on a VOIP line, aren’t susceptible to the delay that landlines are, as data transfer is only limited by the speed of light. If you’re installing a new phone system for your business, a VOIP system is the obvious choice. If you already have a landline in place, look at the long-term costs to see if it’s worth switching.