If there is one thing that most organizations can agree on, it is that a communication platform is absolutely critical to a successful business. Whether your team needs to communicate internally, or connect with the outside world, a telephony system will of course be one of the most important solutions your team adopts.

When it comes to business communications, and telephony specifically, as our technology has grown so has the accessibility to what were previously expensive and complicated setups. Traditionally, Landline telephony was the only option, and while the traditional method still has its benefits, we have more recently seen the legacy solution pushed aside for a much more cost-effective paradigm: Business Voice over Internet Protocol, or Business VoIP.

Now, it would be easy to simply declare these hosted solutions the way of the future, as it will be, but that does not really tell the full story. At the end of the day, both VoIP and traditional Landline telephony have their own hosts of benefits, as well as downsides. When searching for the right business telephony solution, it is imperative to become familiar with not only the options, but the baggage that they bring with them. We are going to take an in-depth look into both Landline and VoIP solutions in order to help your business make the right purchase.

The Need For Telephony

Without a doubt, telephony is still an absolute must-have. This of course goes without saying, but with the introduction of new technology telephony can easily be seen as a last resort. Quite the opposite is true, actually. Sure, email, team collaboration and messaging, and even text messaging has risen in popularity. But, these digital means can lack the nuance and functionality provided by a complete telephony solution.

This is especially true when your team is working with external vendors, clients or partners — a phone solution will be absolutely necessary to stay in touch, and ensure real-time conversations can happen even outside of email. We’ll dig a bit further into the details, but VoIP introduces an entirely new paradigm for Business Telephony. Whether installed on-premise or through a hosted cloud solution, VoIP enables organizations to save money while gaining even more features than they previously had access to.

Furthermore, instead of previously solely relying on local telephony providers for small businesses, IP business telephony has introduced a new competitive market with almost endless options, from provider size, to focus, to international presence, and even different types of VoIP. In reality, the transition from legacy Landline to VoIP service doesn’t have to be daunting, and we hope this article will help your organization make the right decision.

Landline vs Business VoIP

Right off the bat, I want to offer an easily digestible side-by-side comparison of Landline and Business VoIP services. As our standard phone service for over 100 years, the vast majority of the population has become familiar with Landline telephony. And, while Business IP Telephony isn’t something incredibly new, not many are very familiar with the solution, how it works, and what it provides.

Here we will break down a rough overview of how Landline and VoIP solutions generally contrast one another. Just like with any other solution or platform, there are trade offs between each. Now, it may look like VoIP has a bit of a leg-up right away, and you wouldn’t be entirely wrong for making that assumption.

Business VoIP solutions tend to offer the best of Landlines, plus even more functionality, while remaining even more cost effective.

Landline Business VoIP
Running Cost $30-60 Per Individual User (For Unlimited Calling) $20-35 Per Individual User (For Unlimited Calling)
Initial Setup Cost High – Requires purchasing of phones and other equipment Low – Does not require dedicated desk phones or hardware
Audio Quality Highly regarded, not reliant on internet connections. Variable, and reliant on internet connections, while still comparable to Landlines. Modern internet speeds have improved VoIP greatly.
Scalability Difficult – Requires introduction of additional phone lines and hardware. Disruptive and potentially expensive Easy – Organizations can simply upgrade to another plan or add additional users with the need to purchase more hardware or phone line
Customization Difficult – Landlines are much more limited in their functionality, and adding on features like call recording generally requires the addition of hardware. Landlines also do not provide mobile capabilities, and what you see is what you get. Easy – One of VoIP’s strongest points is the level of customization possible. Users can customize subscriptions to choose specific services or features. Users can specify greetings, business hours, individual user extensions, calling options, and much more.
Phone Compatibility Limiting – While the number of landline phones available is very high, users are limited to specific desk phones that utilize a landline connection. These options will only continue to decrease over time as VoIP continues to push further into the mainstream, and replace Landline connections. Lots of Options – VoIP solutions do not always require dedicated desk phones, as users can utilize the service on their mobile devices or a virtual soft phone on their computer. IP Desk Phones designed for VoIP are continuously being introduced, and users can even utilize older style Landline desk phones with an adapter.
Reliability High – Landlines are not limited by your organization’s internet connection, and experience little if any disruptions to service. Landlines are great for emergencies and disaster scenarios. Carriers promise 99.9% uptime. High – Despite common misconception, VoIP solutions have grown in reliability overtime. The introduction of more capable internet services has enabled organizations to take full advantage of VoIP without having to worry about disruptions, jitters or dropped calls. Carriers promise 99.9% or more uptime.
911 Access Included – Paid for by taxes Included – Paid for by taxes. Some services even include E911 functionality.
Security High – The PSTN is highly secure, as data is not traveling across the internet where it is more susceptible to attack. Dependent – While VoIP may seem more vulnerable, this will come down to both the Provider’s security practices, as well as your organization’s. Encryption has become common, and firewalls are a must have for any business.
Domestic Calling Generally included, sometimes charged per minute outside of local area. Always included and unlimited. Some Providers may offer a per-minute plan, but unlimited calling is standard.
International Calling Expensive – Generally charged per minute, with individual rates for specific countries. Inexpensive – Some providers offer Unlimited International Calling Plans, while others charge on a per minute basis as low as $0.02 a minute.
Electric Dependency Independent of Power Grid Relies on Power
Voicemail Options Answering machines and voicemail are available, but generally for a fee. Included, and accessible online and remotely. Many providers offer voicemail-to-email functionality.
Vendor Selection Limited depending on location, only a few major players Generally not limited by location, with many options to choose from
Multimedia Functions Phone Conferencing/3-way-calling VoIP has grown into Unified Communications and will generally include:

  • Phone Conferencing
  • Video Conferencing
  • Business SMS
  • Team Messaging and Collaboration
  • Screen Sharing and File Sharing
Contracts More likely, price decrease with longer term contracts Less likely, some providers offer pay-as-you-go plans, and most do not require contracts.

While it has remained a standard for a very long time, Landline telephony is actually on its way out, and the days are numbered. We will discuss this a bit more in-depth later on, but it is worth recognizing when we stack these two solutions together. But, while the service still remains, Landline solutions are a great way to provide an organization with an incredibly stable and predictable telephony platform.

This isn’t to say that VoIP is not reliable or stable, quite the contrary when we are discussing modern solutions. But, this is really just a quick comparison. There is much more to the debate of Business VoIP vs typical Landline telephony solutions beyond just a brief over view of costs and basic concepts.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The type of solution that your organization decides to utilize will directly be influenced by the specific needs of that business. IP Business telephony generally has a leg-up on most Landline services, however organizations might prioritize reliability and familiarity over cost savings.

We are going to breakdown the major advantages and disadvantages of each solution to help your organization reach this decision.

Landline Business VoIP
Advantages
  • Highly reliable as the service does not depend on an internet connection, or electrical power
  • Services will continue working even if there is a power outage
  • Overall familiarity with Landline services can reduce necessary training and adjustment periods
  • Highly secure, as data is not being transmitted over the internet in packets, but rather through the copper lines of the PSTN, which is simply not as susceptible to tapping or hacking.
  • Highly reliable for disaster recovery and emergency situations

 

  • Reliability has increased as modern internet speeds and accessibility has improved to rival that of Landlines
  • Incredibly feature packed without adding any additional cost. Some providers may offer a-la-carte feature options, both all providers include more features than a Landline as standard
  • Advanced mobile functionality enabling workers to stay connected with a mobile device, no matter where they are
  • Easily scalable, either up or down, to meet the needs of your business. Scaling does not require the addition of new hardware
  • Generally unlimited domestic calling is included
  • VoIP has grown to include multiple multimedia options and provides functionality that extends far beyond simple phone calls — for example Team Collaboration functions have become crucial to a competitive organization
  • A wide option of hardware and phones area available. In fact, VoIP does not require any physical phones and can utilize your mobile device, or a software phone on your computer.
Disadvantages
  • Overall costs of adopting and maintaining a Landline solution will be higher, with less functionality provided
  • Landlines are becoming obsolete, and it is only a matter of time until the PSTN is abandoned. There are already plans in place for this process to occur
  • Feature sets are generally limited, and the addition of new functionality will require an additional cost or even additional hardware, further reducing the cost effectiveness of Landlines
  • There are not many options to choose from outside of the major carriers. Rural areas will be even more limited, sometimes to one specific carrier or local, smaller carriers
  • Difficult to scale as the process requires new hardware and phone lines to be installed.
  • Landlines are limited to one location, and do not provide mobility. Landline phones require a fixed telephone jack, and portable phones can suffer in convenience (required charging) and quality.
  • While reliability has grown, the service is still dependent on your internet connection and can suffer from improper planning
  • VoIP solutions are reliant on power, therefore can go down during a power outage, emergency or disaster

 

It is becoming more and more obvious that Landlines are falling to the way-side, and for a good reason. The technology is simply outdated when compared to more advanced solutions like VoIP.

There still exists a solid use case for Landline connections, particularly when your organization needs the absolute best reliability with zero risk of losing connection during power outages. Landlines can also serve well for organizations that simply need basic calling, and aren’t looking to gain access to a load of features.

Features and Functionality

One of the biggest beauties of Business VoIP is the simple fact that the solutions are absolutely feature packed. Since VoIP does not rely on the standard PSTN, but instead is almost like a cloud-based application, providers are able to deliver advanced features and functionality without requiring additional hardware, or even charging more.

While Landlines are capable of being extended beyond their basic functionality, this generally requires the addition of new hardware, and potentially an increase of cost on your service. We put together this chart to help users better understand the difference in feature availability.

Features Landline Business VoIP
Call Blocking Yes Yes
Call Forwarding Yes Yes
Call Return Yes Yes
Call Trace No Yes
Call Waiting Yes Yes
Caller ID Block Yes Yes
Call Recording No Yes
Call Groups No Yes
Do Not Disturb No Yes
Repeat Dialing No Yes
Redial Yes Yes
Speed Dialing Yes Yes
Three Way Calling Yes Yes
Voicemail Yes Yes
Voicemail to Email No Yes
Find Me, Follow Me (Ring Anywhere) No Yes
Mobile Apps No Yes
Auto Attendants No Yes
Call Analytics No Yes
Anonymous Call Rejection No Yes
Softphone Capabilities No Yes
Integrations with Other Business Apps No Yes
Custom Greetings No Yes
Video Conferencing No Yes
Business SMS No Yes
Music on Hold No Yes
Click to Call No Yes
Dial-by-name Directory No Yes
Push-To-Talk No Yes
Conference Bridge No Yes

A Closer Look at Business VoIP Features

This list of VoIP features is by no means the entire feature list of every single provider. In fact, many different providers will offer different features broken down into different payment plans. Some providers will go above and beyond and include even more features than offered on this list — for example RingCentral includes their Glip Team Collaboration platform with all of their services.

Some VoIP providers will also offer features in an a-la-carte manner, enabling organizations to pick and choose and truly customize the plan they need to fit their exact needs. But even in these solutions, users are still gaining access to a wide array of features and functions typically reserved for the most expensive Landline service.

Simply put, if your business is looked for the most features for the lowest cost, Business VoIP blows Landline services out of the water. It almost isn’t a fair comparison.

A Closer Look at Landline Features

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a loss for Landlines. That isn’t to say that Landline business phone systems aren’t feature packed or capable, because VoIP wouldn’t be where it is today without the baseline provided by Landline solutions. However, Landline solutions do struggle a bit to compete with business IP telephony when it comes to the sheer bang-for-your-buck value.

Landline solutions still provide organizations with the necessary features right off the bat, typically this includes the advanced call features we have become accustomed to — call forwarding, call blocking, three-way calling, redial, call waiting, and even sometimes call routing.

However, expanding the functionality of your Landline solution will generally come at an extra cost. For example, while Voicemail has become much more common, the feature still requires the physical hardware to run the solution.

The same goes for other features, as well. Landlines can be expanded, but generally require an extra cost or even extra piece of hardware to run that feature. On the flip side, as we mentioned, Business VoIP solutions are absolutely filled to the brim with features, which generally greatly surpass the functionality of a Landline solution, while still remaining cost effective.

Cost Comparison

Without even glancing at the features yet, one of the largest distinctions businesses will notice when comparing landline and Business VoIP solutions is the overall cost. Landline solutions generally bring with them the proven reliability of the PSTN and copper lines, but this generally comes with a greater cost. Not only do Landline solutions cost more for less functionality, the plans are generally limited and can even charge on a per-minute calling basis. If your team needs to expand functionality, or even calling availability, then an upgrade will be required.

A Brief Glimpse at Landline Pricing

Now, Landline availability is quickly going down. During our search, we were unable to find many providers that still offer the service, and provide transparent pricing.

However, AT&T does still advertise their Small Business Landline solutions, with estimated pricing based on your region. For transparency sake, all of this pricing information was sourced from AT&T themselves, based on New York region pricing.

AT&T Landline Offerings:

  • AT&T All In One Local for Minimal Calling – Starting at $31.20/mo
    • Up to 500 minutes of local calling per line for a monthly service fee, and low flat rate for additional minutes
    • Unlimited long distance – Choose regional or state-to-state for the same low, flat rate
    • No peak or off-peak pricing – Same competitive rates no matter what time of the day you call
  • AT&T All In One Local For Moderate Calling – Starting at $62.95/mo
    • Up to 1400 minutes of local calling per line for a monthly service fee, and a low flat rate for additional minutes
    • Unlimited long distance – Choose regional or state-to-state for the same low, flate rate
    • No Peak or off-peak pricing- Same competitive rates no matter what time of the day you call
  • AT&T All In One Long Distance – Starting at $15.00/mo
    • Unlimited Long Distance – Choose regional or state-to-state for the same low, flat rate
    • Flexible international calling – Add international calling at low flat rates to each country
    • Crystal Clear Connections

Each plan includes:

  • Caller ID with name and number
  • Call Forwarding
  • Three-way Calling

Additional Costs:

  • Setup Fees – Generally included in the fine print or discussed during the sales process, a setup fee might be required to physically establish connections and hardware onsite. These fees can vary widely, and can also typically be negotiated.
  • Physical Phones – One of the benefits of a Landline service is the ability to utilize a large inventory of different phones. As long as the phone has a simple analog phone jack connection, it can be utilized with the service. However, if your organization does not already have phones these are another included cost, and could typically range anywhere from $75 to $500 per device, depending on how advanced the system is.
  • Additional Functionality – If your organization requires more advanced features, like call waiting, call transfer, call routing, and more, then your team now must purchase the physical hardware necessary, typically a Private Branch Exchange, or PBX.

One of the first factors that stand out within these AT&T offerings is the limitations placed on plans. Starting at $31.20, the lowest potential price for the lowest plan, organizations only gain up to 500 minutes of local calling per individual line, and an additional flat rate for even more minutes. Organizations can add long distance (regional or state-to-state) calling for another additional flat rate.

Upgrading to AT&T’s Moderate calling plan, probably where the majority of organizations will fall, the price roughly doubles to $62.95, and still only includes 1400 minutes of local calling. Unfortunately, it does not seem as if AT&T offers an unlimited calling plan, and does not directly advertise the features included with each offering.

So for a basic, limited to 500 minutes phone solution, your organization has to pay a starting cost of $31.20, and an additional flat rate fee for extra minutes to place calls beyond the 500 limit. It is also important to note that within these plans, AT&T only includes caller ID, call forwarding and three-way calling as basic features. Your organization than may have to pay a setup fee, as well as a the price of individual phones.

A Brief Glimpse at Business VoIP Pricing

On the other hand, a quick search for Business VoIP solutions nets a large choice of options from multiple providers around the country. Since VoIP can be delivered through the internet, and does not rely on physical wires or connections, Business VoIP providers can offer their service at the same rate regardless of the region or location. Not to mention, Business VoIP solution providers proudly display their pricing, and included features and functionalities.

But, because there are a wide number of options when it comes to Business IP Telephony, we are going to offer a more generalized estimation of pricing and included functionality. Depending on your exact organization’s needs, the pricing and features necessary will change.

Typical VoIP Service Cost:

  • Basic plans can start as low as $15.99 per month, per user. Pricing will fluctuate based on the number of users, or even subscription time. Some providers may offer a discount on annual pricing versus month-to-month billing.
  • No Setup Fees – It is uncommon for Business VoIP providers to require or charge a setup fee, as no physical hardware setup is required in the process. The provider will generate account information and phone numbers (or port existing numbers) and your organization will gain access to the platform.

What is important to recognize, however, is how different Business VoIP providers will segment and tier their solution offerings. There is no universal agreed upon pricing structure, and finding the right fit will require a bit of research. Generally, VoIP providers will differentiate their offerings based on:

  • User Count – Some solutions will charge a single rate for X amount of users. For example, 1-5 users for $20 per month. Some providers will charge based on user counts specifically, meaning $15 per user, per month.
  • Feature Limitations – While Business VoIP solutions are capable of providing additional features for no extra cost, many providers will segment their features and limit advanced functionality to the higher tiered plans. However, it is worth noting that even the most basic Business VoIP plans will include more functionality than a Landline — just look above at the listed AT&T offerings to see how limited they are.

So while VoIP pricing will vary based on what your team needs, this enables organizations to pay a much lower rate for a much more feature packed service.

Looking at Nextiva’s service for example, the provider splits their offerings into three tiers:

  • Office Pro – As low as $19.95/mo
    • No Setup Fees
    • Cloud PBX
    • Free Number Porting
    • Unlimited Calling
    • Unlimited Virtual Faxing
    • Advanced Call Management
    • Free Local and Toll Free Number
    • Voicemail to Email
    • Shared Call Appearance
    • Barge In
    • HD Music on Hold
  • Office Pro Plus – As low as $20.95/mo
    • All Office Pro features, plus
    • One professionally recorded greeting
    • Call me Now
    • Conference Bridge
    • Nextiva Mobile App
    • Team Presence
  • Office Enterprise – As low as $27.95/mo
    • All Office Pro Features, plus
    • Call Recordings
    • Three professionally recorded greetings
    • Nextiva Anywhere

As another example, we can also look at RingCentral’s pricing structure:

  • Essentials – from $19.99 monthly, per user
    • Up to 10 users
    • Unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing – 4 users per meeting
    • Unlimited phone calls
    • 100 Toll-free Minutes
    • Unlimited Business SMS
    • Call Management and phone system administration
    • Phone rental options: desk and conference phones
    • Mobile apps
    • HD Voice
    • Visual voicemail and voicemail to email
    • Team collaboration
    • Integrations with Microsoft, Google, Box and Okta
  • Standard – from $24.99 monthly, per user
    • All Essentials features, plus
    • Unlimited users
    • 1,000 toll-free minutes
    • Multi-level auto attendant
    • Internet fax
    • Call log reports
  • Premium – from $34.99 monthly, per user
    • Unlimited users
    • Unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing – 100 users per meeting
    • All Standard features, plus
    • 2,500 toll-free minutes
    • Automatic Call Recording
    • Multi-site Support
    • Custom app development/deployment
    • Integration with Salesforce, Zendesk and Desk.com
    • Single Sign-on
    • Voicemail transcription to text

As you can see, the availability of Business VoIP encompasses a large area of accessibility. Pricing starts low enough for even the smallest teams to afford a solution, while providing even more features than most businesses require.

At the end of the day, Business VoIP solutions manage to remain cost effective, flexible to the needs of your business, and feature packed. Landlines are struggling to compete, and it is becoming more and more obvious as time goes on.

Why Use a Landline?

Even in the digital age, Landlines have their place.  Of course, one big reason for utilizing a Landline for your business is the familiarity. But looking beyond the comfort of a familiar solution, the number one reason a business would utilize a Landline is for absolute reliability and consistency.

Since Landline telephony connects through physical cables, dedicated specifically and only to transmitting this calling data, connections are congestion free, stable, reliable and even work when electricity power has gone out. These systems also require minimal maintenance or management to stay afloat and running without any issues.

Landline connections are also highly private and difficult to intercept, with nearly 100% up time. For this reason alone, Landlines stand as a strong option for any organization that absolutely cannot be without any downtime, or places a large priority on security. However, as we’ll see when we discuss VoIP, there are a number of downsides to utilizing an older style Landline connection.

Why Use Business VoIP?

Many will argue that the advent of VoIP has introduced a new paradigm of business communications. While the solution might have been a bit rough around the edges in the early days, modern advancements to VoIP and internet services overall have helped pushed the platform into the mainstream, for many good reasons. First and foremost, VoIP is an absolute cost saver. A typical landline service is capable of some advanced functionality, but generally requires an extra cost to go along with it.

On the other hand, VoIP introduces some of these very advanced features, like call recording, auto attendants, advanced routing, and conference calling just to name a few. The main selling point of a VoIP solution is that any size business, even down to a small one-man entrepreneur, can gain access to a highly advanced and sophisticated phone system, enabling your business to establish the same image of professionalism as a massive Enterprise organization.

VoIP solutions are also inherently mobile, and flexible, two massive benefits that coincide a bit. Modern workers are generally on the go very often, and we all have devices in our pockets capable of connecting with the outside world. A VoIP solution utilizes the internet, and therefore is not tied down to desk phones hooked up to the physical network, enabling everyone to work on the go. Solutions are flexible not only in their usage, but in their scalability as well. If you need new users, simply contact your provider and sign up for a new plan, easy as that.

A Closing Gap in Call Quality

Without a doubt, two of the biggest advantages of utilizing a standard Landline service would be the guarantee of great call quality, with the reliability of the PSTN. When Business VoIP first arrived on the scene, complaints of poor call quality were all too common.

Since VoIP is directly reliant on an internet connection, many early adopters would experience a degradation of quality and service when their internet connection experienced a heavy load.

However, as both VoIP and internet technology has continued to evolve over time, we have seen call quality issues of VoIP become a thing of the past. Still, there are some technical terms and concepts to be aware of to ensure the best experience possible. Let’s take a closer look at the quality difference between a Hosted Business telephony solution, and a typical Landline system.

Landlines Set the Bar High

Right off the bat, Landline solutions have become the standard expectation for the vast majority. Landline phone services have been utilized for decades, and never really experienced much issue in the way of quality. Turns out, the copper lines and connections that the PSTN utilizes are incredibly reliable, and systems that even expand internationally do not experience frequent interruptions or connection failures. After all, the PSTN has been around since 1878.

Since Landlines are solely running through this dedicated platform, there isn’t any extra overhead to worry about. The network doesn’t have to attempt to transfer call data, while simultaneously loading websites, supporting other business apps, and also buffering that video that Karen in accounting is trying to watch without anyone noticing.

Landline connections also have nearly perfect 100% uptime, and the network does not have a need for a secondary power source, or internet connection for that matter. As long as the physical phone cables and copper lines are in working condition, a Landline service should not experience any issues or interruptions.

In fact, it is still widely recommended that many businesses and even personal homes utilize a Landline connection in the case of an emergency. Even if power is lost, the phone lines will still connect and place calls with crystal clear quality.

But since Landlines have set the bar so high for quality, it can be quite difficult for IP telephony to compete — or at least it did at one point.

VoIP Isn’t Far Behind

Now of course we couldn’t discuss VoIP without clearly discussing the limitations of the service. VoIP offers a lot of features and functionality for the cost, and still manages to keep the overall capital investment required much lower than a typical Landline service. However, one of the reasons for that is because hosted solutions are delivered over the internet.

Without the need to establish, run and maintain a physical network of physical copper lines either under or above ground, Business VoIP providers can offer a much more feature packed solution at a fraction of the cost. There simply isn’t as much overhead.

Now, that isn’t to say IP telephony is a magical service that runs through air — one of business VoIP’s biggest advantages can also lead to its largest drawback. Since voice over IP for business solutions are relying on your organization’s internet connection, interruptions and quality issues can be much more common.

As already mentioned, early Business VoIP solutions were notorious for dropped calls, lost or jumbled words, or simply poor quality leading to robotic sound voices. This is because the service is relying on your organization’s internet connection, and is directly impacted by that connection.

If your team’s internet is poised with handling routine traffic, along with IP phone calls, then over-use can quickly create a bottleneck. However, over time available internet speeds have only increased, and the introduction of fiber optic connections as well as the future inclusion of 5G networking will usher in a new era of business VoIP — one that we are already beginning to see.

As long as your organization ensures that your internet is up to the task, VoIP can easily rival the known quality of a standard Landline.

The End of the PSTN

However, it is important to note that the Publicly Switched Telephone Network is on its way out. In 2013, then FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler claimed we are in what he called the “Fourth Network Revolution,” or the IP transition.

In his blog post, Wheeler wrote that this is “a series of transitions; a multi-faceted revolution that advances as the packets of Internet Protocol (IP)-based communication replace the digital stream of bits and analog frequency waves.”

Wheeler went on to explain that “fiber networks are expanding,” and “bonding technology is showing interesting possibilities with regard to the nation’s traditional copper infrastructure. Communications protocols are moving from circuit-switch Time-divisions Multiplexing to IP.”

To put this into English, Wheeler is simply explaining that the increase in IP solutions, and internet connectivity, is driving down demand and need for the PSTN. IP business telephony accessibility is increasing, helping to smooth out any quality or access issues brought on by the original introduction of VoIP solutions.

In 2014, AT&T even began working with the FCC to move ahead with shutting down the PSTN, and the FCC even voted unanimously in support of investigating the overall impact of transitioning to IP based services. Overall, the days for the PSTN are numbered, while VoIP is really just beginning to take hold.

Switching to Business VoIP

So, let’s say your organization is currently using a Landline solution, and has decided or is looking into switching over to a hosted IP platform. This in itself is a massive topic that will be covered on its own, but it is worth taking a brief look at. When it comes to establishing a VoIP solution, your organization does not require much overhead — especially if that is a cloud delivered VoIP solution.

Before your organization can jump straight into a VoIP solution, there are a few steps and precautions to take. Depending on your needs and installation method, these general guidelines will vary. For example, while VoIP does not necessarily require the use of a physical desk phone, many will recommend the use of at least one IP Desk phone.

Before You Start

The most important aspect to ensure before transiting to VoIP is an ample internet connection. VoIP relies solely on your organization’s internet connection to make calls, as your voice is converted into data packets and then sent through the internet. Without a stable and capable internet connection, users will experience lag, jitters and even dropped packets. You can check your speed here for VoIP capabilities.

VoIP calls use about 100kbps for one individual device. So, this means if your organization is going to utilize 10 VoIP lines, your internet must be capable of supporting 1,000kbps, or 1 Megabit per second (Mbps) data transfer simultaneously. The best way to do so would be to utilize a Network Test to measure Download Speeds, Upload Speeds to determine the Bandwidth of your connection. You can test your network and learn more here.

Purchase Necessary Devices

Now, VoIP does not require the direct use of IP Desk phones. However, it is generally recommended to employ at least one phone as a base for your solution. Some organizations might also simply like the idea of utilizing desk phones, and providing each employee with their own station.

Specific IP Desk Phones made for VoIP exist, and can even be had for under $150. Some phones have even expanded beyond basic calling functionality, like Mitel’s Smartphone integrated devices. However, your organization can still utilize existing analogue phones if that is what you have on hand. ATA adapters can be used to convert standard analog phones into VoIP compatible devices, enabling your organization to reuse existing hardware and further cut costs.

Shopping for a Solution

Now when it comes to transition to VoIP, the most difficult aspect of the entire process will be choosing the right provider for your organization. Fortunately, a large number of options exist, and depending on the specific requirements of your organization you will find some providers a better fit than others.

Thankfully, we have an extensive list and comparison of different VoIP providers throughout our website. You can check our simple Business VoIP break down, and when you want to narrow down even further specifics, you could check out our head to head series in which we dig deep compare two providers closely. Be careful of settling on the first provider you come across, and be prepared to do your homework. Individual user reviews are one of the best ways to understand the capability and reliability of a solution, and we have a collected database on each individual provider throughout our website.

The Bottom Line

Modern day VoIP solutions are a bit of a far cry from the original platforms that have arrived on the scene early. More and more VoIP providers keep popping up every day, creating a healthy market full of competition, encouraging even further platform advancement. In fact, VoIP is far more accessible than it was just a few short years ago. Modern internet connections are far more capable of providing the necessary bandwidth to ensure VoIP calls are crystal clear with minimal interruptions.

Now, this is not to say that Landlines are completely obsolete just yet. Landlines can still provide some of the best reliability and crystal-clear quality we have come to expect in our phone calls. The systems are reliable and so far, have stood the test of time. However, when we compare these two platforms side by side, many can begin to understand why Business VoIP has heavily launched into the mainstream.

Depending on the specific needs of your organization, there are a load of options to choose from when it comes to Business VoIP, and very little reason to spend the extra cash on a Landline