VoIP versus Landline – What’s the difference?
Not the great debate of the last decade, but something business owners and entrepreneurs ask every day when buying phone service. So what exactly is the difference between VoIP and landline telephone service? A lot of people aren’t sure what VoIP is or how it differs from a traditional phone service. Although there are some similarities, this article will lay out the key differences between the two.
When you use a voice over IP (VoIP) service, you’re actually placing and receiving calls through your internet connection. The audio signals from your speech are converted into digital data (internet packets) that travel through the internet (fiber optic, DSL, or cable) to its destination. With a VoIP connection, you can send and receive calls from your laptop computer using a soft phone (software) and a headset. Your voice is digitized by the soft phone and sent through the internet to the person with whom you are speaking. (It’s also possible to use a standard telephone with a VoIP connection, but this requires an adapter that digitizes your voice and connects to the internet, replacing your laptop.)
A soft phone is just a fancy name for a piece of software that allows you to make and receive VoIP calls from your computer. The soft phone’s user interface looks similar to a traditional phone, with a keypad and screen. Your VoIP service provider should provide you with a softphone after you sign up.
Landline phone calls originate as analog audio signals (ordinary sound) that are transported over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) to a destination through copper wires and fiber optic cables. These wires and fiber optic cables are buried deep under ground and aren’t usually affected by storms, using power supplies maintained by the phone companies. Because of this, you can often make calls via landline even if the power goes out.
VoIP is typically cheaper than using a landline because it relies on the internet to send packets of voice data, whereas traditional telephony requires a dedicated line to get the call to its destination. Additionally, VoiP service providers don’t have the costs associated with maintaining a traditional telephone network. If you currently have a residential internet connection, then you could already be using VoIP to make and receive phone calls. Your phone provider may be converting your voice calls to digital packets and using an IP (internet protocol) connection to move the data packets from your voice calls to it’s switches, to be routed to the person with whom you are speaking.
VoIP is ideal for businesses that make a lot of long distance calls. Landline carriers often tack on a few extra cents per minute to deliver long distance calls to standard telephone, but there is no such charge when terminating the call (connecting the call) to a soft phone on your laptop. With a VoIP service, you only pay a small monthly fee and for the minutes you use.
Additional VoIP Features
VoIP telephone service provides additional services that landlines just can’t offer. The following features usually come standard with any VoIP service.
- Auto Attendant
- Call Recording
- Time of Day Routing
- Sequential Ringing
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
- Auto Attendant
- User Self-Care Portal
- Voicemail/Web Voicemail
- Fax to Email
VoIP or Landline – What’s Better?
VoIP has become increasingly popular in the recent years because it allows for increased mobility, provides additional features and fewer costs. You can forward your calls anywhere there’s an internet connection. That means you can connect phone calls to virtual team members who may be working at remote locations without the expense of long distance charges.
VoIP call quality can be just as good as landline call quality, depending on the quality and speed of the available internet connection.
Landlines are still necessary for some industries. For instance, ATMs, pay-at-the-pump gas stations, and 911 operating centers still rely on landlines. Choice of service provider and technology, VoIP versus landline, is a choice that can be made by each business individually based on it’s business requirements.
If you still have questions about the differences between VoIP versus Landline, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to answer them for you.