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American businesses today face a major debate when deciding on technology. Should I get VoIP vs. a traditional landline phone system for my business, and why? Even though landlines have been helping businesses for over a century, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is introducing new technology that helps businesses stay connected. In fact, experts are now saying that landlines will start to go extinct starting in 2020!

So what’s the difference between a VoIP and landline phone system anyway?

Traditional landline phones use analog copper wires to transmit calls, while VoIP utilizes your Internet connection to transmit voice data. With that being said, the two are almost identical in terms of making and receiving phone calls! But because VoIP uses the Internet to operate, it is more compatible with digital tools and mobile devices. This is convenient, since workplaces are becoming increasingly digital and are starting to require more flexible, multimedia-friendly communication tools.

We are going to break down the major differences between landline and VoIP phones. That way, you can find the best business phone system for your workplace

1. Cost

When thinking about the cost of a business phone system, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • start up costs
  • monthly costs per user
  • ongoing maintenance costs

Across the board, VoIP phone systems are less expensive than landline phones for business. Most VoIP systems start at just $20 per month per user, which usually covers set up costs, equipment, and ongoing maintenance – depending on your provider. The great thing about using VoIP is that both types – hosted systems and cloud-based systems – are virtual (Internet-based). That means setting them up doesn’t require a provider to come in and install the analog PBX infrastructure, like a landline PBX system does. You can start using it almost immediately after signing up, as long as you already have business Internet. If you do not, make sure you factor your Internet costs into your monthly budget, as well. 

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2. Reliability and Sound Quality

Since they use different sources to transmit audio data, many businesses want to know what is the main difference in sound quality between VoIP and landlines before deciding.

It makes sense that landlines are reliable in terms of voice quality, since they’ve been in use for over a century! You get what you pay for. You pay to have a separate phone line for each employee, and you don’t have to worry about experiencing inconsistent Internet connection. As a result, landlines consistently deliver good, reliable audio results.

VoIP has now caught up to landlines in terms of voice quality. With new high-performing technology like higher broadband and 5G networks, most VoIP systems have superior quality compared to landlines! Additionally, telecom companies are continuously updating and improving VoIP technology, and research shows the business world is moving in the direction of fully adapting to VoIP. It’s highly possible landlines will be considered outdated in less than 10 years time, and telecom companies may no longer invest in the tools to fix them.

3. Scalability

VoIP and landlines are very different in terms of the ease of scaling them to fit your business as it grows. Because it’s mobile-friendly and uses the Internet to run, VoIP systems can be scaled up or down very easily. All you need to do is contact your provider and add another extension to your plan. Then, the new user can connect his or her device of choice to the new line. Again, as mentioned above, the additional fee will be around $20+ per month for each new user, depending on which features you want to add. If you want to purchase additional hardware for the new line, you can do so as well – but it’s optional.

Landline systems do not allow scaling up or down quite as easily. To start a new line, a provider has to come in and install it since it runs on a physical server. Therefore, you often have to pay the start-up fee again, purchase new hardware, and have it installed. Introducing a new line can also disrupt your communications temporarily, while installation is underway.

4. Features

Since VoIP systems are digital and landlines are analog, they offer different kinds of perks. It’s up to you and your company to decide which types of features are more important to you than others!

One perk that landline customers enjoy is that it is a simple, tried-and-true, and trustworthy way of making phone calls. You simply plug the desktop phone into the phone jack and use your phone without worrying about connectivity problems, complicated mobile apps, etc. if you were to, say, experience a power outage, you wouldn’t have to worry about losing access to your phone line. In fact, it’s estimated that landline phones are up and working just about 100% of the time!

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