VOIP phones have been out for a while now. Many businesses haven’t made the jump to VOIP technology and have stuck with the older, but more reliable phone systems. Some owners are concerned about the reliability and cost of switching to a VOIP phone system. Others may not need the features that VOIP provides. Bother systems have pros and cons. Which one you should use for your business depends on your companies needs. Here are the pros and cons of each technology.
What is VOIP?
Land line phone technology has been around for a long time (over 100 years). The technology hasn’t changed much since it was first developed. You pick up the phone and dial a number. The call is transmitted over a copper wire. Calls are normally routed by the local phone company. With VOIP, your voice is converted into a digital signal which is sent over the internet. The call is transmitted to your VOIP provider who sends it along to the phone on the other end.
Land Line Pros
Low Price: Land lines can be very inexpensive if you don’t need any features. This may be okay for a small shop, but once you need features like an auto attendant or transferring calls, this price goes up significantly.
Reliability: Land lines are very reliable. They work even if the power goes out or the internet goes down.
Land Line Cons
Lack of Features: The technology hasn’t changed much in 100 years. Other than call waiting and caller id, not many features have been added to land lines.
Land Lines Don’t Scale: Let’s say your business is growing and you need to add five new phones. You need to call the phone company to add them. You may need to wait for them to come out to your location to set it up. This can take weeks to complete.
Business Class Phone systems are expensive: If you do want business class features like transfer and auto attendant, the cost of land lines go up. These features require a system called a PBX, which can be very expensive to purchase and install. They are expensive to maintain. If an issue occurs, you need to call a specialist. It is getting harder to find support for these systems, because they are not used as much.
Limited portability: Land line systems haven’t adapted to how mobile business is today. Forwarding calls and getting voice mail can be tedious when outside the office.
Low Setup Cost: VOIP systems don’t require onsite system to work. These systems are hosted in the cloud. Support for the system is part of the monthly bill. No extra support costs.
More features: Since the system is digital, VOIP can offer many more features that land lines can’t. Call forwarding, auto-attendant, voice to email, and integration with CRMs are just a few features that are built into VOIP systems. VOIP providers add regularly new features. The new features don’t require a new system to implement.
Scalability: Adding a new phone line can be completed by filling out a form online. Plug a new phone in and you are up and running.
Reliability: In the early days of VOIP, VOIP systems were not very reliable. The calls were choppy. Calls would drop frequently. The technology has matured and is much more reliable now. With most business internet speed over 100 Mbps now, there are few call issues anymore.
VOIP is portable: Many VOIP systems don’t care where the phone is physically located. You can take you work phone home and it will work on your home network. Everyone can call you direct number and still reach you. This is great for companies who have employees that work from. VOIP systems can easily forward calls to a cell number, so you don’t miss that important call from a client.
Outages: VOIP phones don’t work if there is a power or internet outage. If you are in a location where internet or power is not stable, VOIP phones are not a good choice.
Bandwidth: If you don’t have a fast internet connection, call quality can be bad. This goes for old networking equipment also. If you are using an old ethernet hub to connect computers and voice phones, VOIP calls might not work well. Equipment and internet speeds can be upgraded though.
Need an Ethernet cable: VOIP phones use the same wired connection that your desktop computer uses. This is great if your building with wired with Ethernet cable already. If you are in a spot where you can only connect wirelessly, you will need to run an Ethernet cable. This can be costly if a professional cabling company needs to be hired.
Does work with Wi-Fi: Most VOIP phone don’t work with Wi-Fi yet. And those that do and limited if the Wi-Fi network is poor. This makes setting up a phone is remote locations difficult.
VOIP through cable provider
Some people get VOIP through their cable company. This is a mix between land lines and VOIP. Normally, you can use your old land line system. The cable company converts the land line signal into a digital signal at your cable modem. Technically this is VOIP, but you don’t get all the features that a true VOIP systems does when the phones are digital also.
Who is the winner?
It depends really. If you only have a few phones and don’t need any features, land lines work great. Other VOIP is the way to go. VOIP costs less and the has more features than a land line system.
Umbrella Infotech provides IT services for companies in Litchfield and Fairfield County, Connecticut. Reach out to use to discuss how we can help you to replace your land line system with feature rich VOIP system.