VoIP vs Landline: Which Phone System is Best for Your Business?
Money is tight these days, and many of us are looking for ways to cut bills. We want to save money, but don’t necessarily want to lose services we love. That means we all need to do a little research before ditching our current services for new ones. A service that often finds itself on the chopping block is that expensive phone line. If you’re familiar with your options, you likely know that your main options today are VoIP or landlines. But which is better? In the battle of VoIP vs landline, knowing the difference is key.
VoIP vs Landline: What sets them apart?
Most of us should be familiar with the conventional landline. It’s the service we’ve been using forever. It’s evolved from rotary dials and long, spiral cords to digital cordless handsets, but other than that, little has changed. Phone signals travel through phone wires on poles or underground and into our homes and handsets. VoIP works a little differently. Is VoIP better than landlines? Let’s take a look.
VoIP, or Voice over internet protocol, is an internet telephone service that utilizes the world wide web for service. Your high speed internet delivers your phone service rather than standard phone lines. Kind of like internet phone lines. VoIP does require specialized handsets, but aside from that, the service looks largely the same as a landline.
But, there are differences that set VoIP apart from landlines. From pricing to flexibility, there are a number of benefits associated with choosing VoIP. Let’s look at some VoIP landline pros and cons.
- Relatively inexpensive installation – Unlike landlines, VoIP networks are relatively inexpensive to install and operate. Much is done via software, saving you money on hardware.
- Feature Rich – No matter what kind of telephone features you’re after, you can likely add or remove them from your VoIP plan. Since VoIP requires no physical installation, changes can be made at the drop of a hat.
- Flexibility – Since VoIP operates over internet signals, you can use a variety of devices.
- Requires Strong Internet and a Reliable Power Grid – Since VoIP utilizes the internet to connect your calls, both your internet and power grid need to be up to par. Poor internet could lead to latency and trouble communicating. A poor power grid could leave you in the dark, with no way to make or receive calls.
- You may need new equipment – Since traditional phone system handsets aren’t set up to handle VoIP calling, you’ll likely need some new equipment. While you’ll need one for every extension, this cost will pale in comparison to setting up the hardware associated with a landline network.
- Dropped calls – If your internet connection isn’t up to speed, you may experience dropped calls with VoIP.
Now that we’ve looked at some pros and cons associated with VoIP, let’s get familiar with landlines. So, what are landlines and how do they work?
Landlines were the standard form of communication for generations. You plug them into the wall, pay for your service, and you can connect to nearly anyone in the world. Landlines operate on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), as they have since shortly after the invention of the telephone.
Landlines work by converting your speech into electronic signals that are passed along copper wires. Those signals are sent to a central hub and relayed to the person on the other end. Their phone translates the signals into sounds for the other party to hear. They speak back, and the cycle continues.
The landline may be an older technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s obsolete. The core infrastructure of the PSTN has received a digital facelift over the years, and can compete with VoIP in many markets. There are a handful of reasons you may choose a landline over VoIP. Do the pros outweigh the cons for your business? Let’s take a look.
- Superb Call Quality – Phone lines carry phone calls, and nothing else, meaning landlines can deliver exceptional call quality. If crystal clear calling is important to you, landlines deliver.
- Does not require internet – Another benefit of the landline is that it does not require an internet connection. If your business doesn’t require an internet connection, this can add up to big savings every month.
- Reliable in emergencies – Since landlines don’t require electricity to operate, they are great to have around in emergencies. Having the ability to call for help will instantly pay for itself if it ever comes to that.
- Networks can be expensive to install – Even though you’ve already got phone lines running through the walls, installing the network is another beast. You’ll have to hire someone to install and maintain the system.
- Landlines can be expensive month to month – Aside from the setup costs, you’ll have a higher operating cost on a month to month basis. That’s because you’ll not only have to pay for each extension, you’ll have to pay for line rental. These costs add up fast.
- Outdated Technology – If business is booming, there’s a good chance your operation will outlive landline technology. Since we’ll all have to make the switch eventually, doing so now could save you headaches down the line.
VoIP vs Landline: Which is Better for Your Business?
Now that we understand what VoIP internet landlines and traditional landlines are and how each operate, let’s look at how the pros and cons will influence your decision. Since each is built on different technology, they deliver slightly different benefits. Here are some comparisons to consider in the VoIP vs traditional phone system debate.
Ease of Use
Most employees appreciate technology that’s easy to use. This is a huge consideration. If employees don’t like it, it won’t succeed very quickly. Most of your older employees are familiar with landlines, making this the more comfortable option for them. On the other hand, there’s a decent chance your younger employees have never used a landline. Both groups should be able to adapt to whichever tech you choose, but there will be a learning curve. A traditional landline may be easier in the beginning, but that advantage will fade quickly.
Once you’ve made your decision, you’ll have to set up the system. When you’ve got a lot of users, phone service setup can be much more involved than a single home line. Setting up a network that seamlessly connects clients with the correct point of contact requires a professional. The more users you have, the more complicated the setup can be. Luckily, when comparing VoIP vs landline costs, there is a fairly simple solution.
The networking on a VoIP phone system doesn’t need to be hard wired into your office the way landlines do. All that routing can be done virtually, saving you money and headaches down the road. Here are a few things you can expect as far as upfront costs are concerned.
Your main expense when setting up a VoIP network is going to be the phone handset hardware. Since the networking will be done on the software side, you won’t have to invest in expensive equipment to make your connections. You will, however, need compatible phones for everyone with an extension.
If you’ve got existing landline phones, you probably won’t be able to hook them up to your phone lines. You’ll need specialized VoIP phones. These digital phones for homes and offices can run anywhere from $100-400, depending on options. The more basic phones will be cheaper, and the feature rich phones will set you back a bit more. Once you’ve got your phones set up, all you’ve got left is your monthly service charge. That typically runs around $20-30 per extension.
A landline network costs more to set up. That’s because you will do all the routing in-house. You’ll need to purchase all the equipment that goes into it. You’ll also need to hire someone to maintain the network for you. If you want someone full time, expect to pay them a competitive annual salary. If you want someone who can troubleshoot problems as they arise, expect some down time as you wait for your IT professional to service your network.
Setting up a landline network will likely run thousands of dollars. In addition, that IT professional’s salary will put another dent in your bottom line. However, if you require complete control of the system and want it maintained in-house, this option may better suit your needs.
One of the most important aspects of any phone service is that it’s reliable. If customers are unable to reach you, you could miss out on contracts worth a lot of money. Likewise, if your employees are unable to contact your clients in an efficient manner, that can cost you business too.
If you live in an area prone to power outages, you’ll need to take that into consideration. The internet requires power to operate, and if starved of power, you may run into some issues. Landlines are more reliable than VoIP in these areas, as they do not require a power source to operate.
You likely won’t want to implement new phone services on a regular basis, so longevity is important. In this regard, VoIP wins hands down. Landlines are built on an antiquated technology that will be on its way out at some point in the future. If you go with a landline now, you’ll probably have to switch again before you know it.
The internet is a much newer technology, and commands the lion’s share of the industry’s investment dollars. As such, it will be a viable option for much longer than landlines will. Get everyone used to it now, and you won’t face a learning curve down the road.
If you’ve got lightning-fast internet VoIP will deliver better speeds. That means you can get the clearest audio and video in town at an affordable rate. Having the ability to use both audio and video calling on the same service will save you a bundle. Using high speed internet as the basis for your business phones allows you to video call with your business account—no more need to use personal phones or tablets.
VoIP vs Landline: How Do You Call?
The biggest factor that will affect which speeds you need is the type of calling you do. Do you mostly deal with local clients or are they located around the world? Also, does your team rely on video conferencing to get your work done? These seem like simple considerations, but they may have a big impact on your specific needs.
Local vs Long Distance Calling
The first calling behavior that will affect your pricing will be whether you do most of your business locally or not. Local calls are typically included with landlines, but long distance calls could lead to extra charges. Depending on the frequency of your long distance calls, this can add up quickly.
Long distance calls are less of an issue with VoIP landlines than with traditional landlines. Since these calls are made over the internet, there is little to no difference between local and long distance calls. If you make a lot of long distance calls in your job, VoIP is going to be the better option. If not, you can get by with either technology.
Video calling has become an incredibly important part of the way we do business today. It has been on the rise for decades. When the pandemic shifted much of our workforces out of the office and into their homes, it grew even more. If your business utilizes video calling on a regular business, there is a clear winner in this arena.
When comparing VoIP vs landline services, VoIP delivers on a different level. Since VoIP operates over internet infrastructure, video conferencing is built in.
VoIP vs Landline: Which is Right for You?
We could spend all day and night discussing the differences, but you’ll eventually have to make a decision. You have the knowledge to make an informed one, so go with your gut. Is VoIP worth it? Weigh the pros and cons and decide which is right for you. There is one last consideration, however, and that is your provider.
VoIP requires a solid internet connection, so make sure your provider delivers the necessary speeds. If they don’t, it may be time for a change. We offer some of the highest speeds in western Wisconsin, and our expanding infrastructure will carry you well into the future. Whether you’re debating VoIP vs landline for the office or VoIP vs landline for home, reach out for a consultation. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.