Thanks to advances in technology, choosing a phone system for your business is more complicated than it used to be.
Today, businesses need to consider multiple alternatives when deciding what sort of system they want to use: VOIP, “virtual phones,” PBX / landline, or software applications such as Skype or Skype for Business. How can you choose between VoIP or Landline? Learn more from Tolar Systems.
Thanks to advances in technology, choosing a phone system for your business is more complicated than it used to be. Once upon a time, there were no choices – you simply called the phone company to install a phone system.
Today, businesses need to consider multiple alternatives when deciding what sort of system they want to use: VOIP, “virtual phones,” PBX / landline, along with multiple applications such as Skype or Skype for Business.
With so many options to consider, how can you decide? At Tolar Systems, we help clients make these decisions every day. Here are a few of the factors you need to consider when making the decision of Voice over IP (VoIP) or landline for your business.
Voice over IP (VoIP) or Landline- what’s the difference?
In a previous series of posts (Phone Systems: The Backbone of Your Business – Part 1 and Part 2) we discussed some of the various options that small and medium businesses (SMBs) have to consider when it comes to selecting a phone system, what a system should be able to do, and more.
But, what is the real difference between these kinds of systems? It’s all about how the phone service is delivered:
- Landline delivers phone service to your home or business across telephone lines (thus the name) provided by a phone company. Think telephone wires or fiber-optic cables. Each phone represents a separate line, all of which are connected centrally through the phone service provider. Think about the old operators who used to connect one landline caller with another. Today, this is automated, but the basic technology is the same.
- PBX (or Private Branch Exchange) is a variation on a landline. Landline phone service is delivered to your business, then networked to various locations (called extensions) within your organization. This is what allows you to transfer calls from one person to another; otherwise, you’d be forced to place an outside call to reach each person within your business.
- Voice over IP, on the other hand, is internet-based. In fact, the “IP” in the name stands for “Internet Protocol.” With VoIP, phone service is provided over the internet by an internet-based provider and delivered using an application that allows you to place and receive calls. The most popular of these applications are Skype and Skype for Business, but there are others as well.
- Virtual phones are another variation on phone systems. Virtual phones are phone systems that allow your business to use mobile phones instead of a traditional landline or VOIP handset.
Choosing Between Voice over IP and Landline
To choose between Voice over IP and landline, it’s important to look at both your business needs and the advantages/disadvantages inherent in both types of systems. Business needs to consider include:
- Flexibility and connectivity: Do your employees do business on the road or are you more frequently tied to your desks? If you travel frequently, a landline or PBX phone system may be more limiting than a VoIP or virtual phone system that allows you to easily transfer and forward calls.
- Technical concerns: Does your organization have the technical experience to manage a landline-based phone system in-house? VoIP systems are delivered and managed in the cloud, meaning that they are managed and administered centrally by the provider using a software application delivered to your business via the Internet. As a result, they require very little in-house expertise.
- Cost concerns: Is money tight in your organization? Landline and PBX systems tend to be fairly expensive, while VoIP and virtual phone systems are less costly.
Advantages / Disadvantages of Voice over IP vs. Landline
The advantages of Voice over IP as compared to landline phones include:
- Cost – Voice over IP is typically less expensive to implement and maintain over time than landline or PBX.
- Scalability – Voice over IP systems grow easily with your organization. You typically pay for these systems per user, but there aren’t additional hardware costs incurred as you grow (other than the costs of desktops, laptops or mobile devices, which is a cost you’d likely incur anyway). With landline service, growth past a certain size could require you to replace your entire phone system.
- Ease of use – Configuring a Voice over IP system is typically quite simple using the software provided for your computer or mobile device.
There are also some disadvantages to Voice over IP. VoIP requires a high-speed internet connection and power in order to work. Landline phone service itself isn’t affected by power outages, although handsets or PBX systems that require power may be affected. In areas where power and internet service isn’t reliable, VoIP may not be a good choice. Call clarity can also be an issue with Voice over IP sometimes. However, as Voice over IP technology and internet connection speeds improve, this problem is becoming less of a concern.
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to deciding whether Voice over IP or landline phone service is right for your business. At Tolar Systems, we provide assessments and consulting that can help organizations select and implement the right communication systems to support their business. Contact us today to learn how we can help.