If you’re looking for a new small business phone system, the two most common technologies that you’re likely to choose between are voice-over-IP (VoIP) or traditional landlines. Both technologies have their own advantages and disadvantages, which may make one or the other more suitable for your business’ needs.
In this article, we will explore both technologies in greater detail, explain these advantages and disadvantages, and help you to decide on a solution for your business.
Instead of your local phone company’s copper wires, VoIP phone services use your business’ existing internet connection to convert and transmit voice as data. If you’ve used Skype to make a phone call, then you’ve used VoIP technology before.
Over many years there has been a game changing evolution in telephone services that provide much more solutions giving businesses like yours the tools to grow. Businesses around the UK are not waiting for BT to switch off the traditional ISDN network in 2025, they are embracing this technological communications advancement with an excitement that is well-deserved. OrbitalNet IPVoice Services are fast becoming a staple among the basic business inventory,
Traditional landline phone services, also known as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), will be immediately familiar to any small business owner. They are the analogue systems that run via BT traditional copper wiring.
To run a landline service, your business will need on-site private branch exchange (PBX) hardware. This is the hardware that allows you to create multiple phone extensions and enables system features, such as call transferring and extension directories.
VoIP systems provide a feature-rich and technically advanced phone solution. They are easily setup, configured, and managed, and are usually a more economical option than traditional landline systems.
Small businesses that want the advanced functionality of a sophisticated phone system at a reasonable price, as well as businesses that want their remote employees to have access to the same phone system to present a single face to their clients, will be best served by a VoIP telephone service.
Cloud-based VoIP services have the added benefit of no maintenance or hardware to worry about. OrbitalNet IPVoice Service houses, maintains, and upgrades all of the technology for you, which means that your up-front costs are minimised and you’ll automatically have access to new features as they become available. But perhaps the most significant technical advantage of VoIP services is their scalability. Landline systems are limited to the number of lines that you have connected and adding more means installing them and upgrading your hardware. However, because VoIP systems only rely on your internet connection, they allow for an unlimited number of lines. This drastically reduces your setup and maintenance costs.
Because your voice is transmitted as data over the internet your ongoing costs will likely be less with a VoIP service. The cost to operate the service is less than over the copper lines of traditional landlines and these savings are passed on to you. While it’s normal for both landlines and VoIP to include unlimited domestic calling in their plans, international call rates are significantly cheaper with VoIP.
The technology behind OrbitalNet IPVoice services also means that we can offer features that traditional landlines can’t.
VoIP services allow you to use your mobile phone as an extension of your office phone, which extends your phone system to literally anywhere you’re located. You can have calls forwarded to you to receive them anywhere you are, as well as make calls and have them appear to come from your office phone number. This is a huge benefit for people who visit clients, such as sales or account managers as well as remote employees.
VoIP technology allows you to use any phone or even computer as your personal extension, which means that you’re not limited to making or receiving calls at your desk.
Services enable you to login to your account from your computer and manage your phone system on the fly, including how calls are routed and handled. For example, you can use the advanced routing features to setup a recurring schedule in which calls are forwarded to your mobile phone on evenings and weekends.
Services offer advanced accessibility features, such as having voicemails converted to text and sent to you by text message or email. This can be a particular benefit to the hearing impaired.
The same voice-to-text feature also means that your VoIP system can be integrated with third-party applications, such as CRM software. For example, when you receive an incoming call your CRM could automatically scan for the number and display any relevant data you have associated with it.
Traditional small business phone systems have historically had a large advantage over VoIP phones from a call quality standpoint. However, due to increases in internet speeds and technology innovation among VoIP service providers this is no longer the case.
The quality of VoIP calls is dependent upon the speed and stability of your internet connection. Because of this, one factor to consider is the amount of data you regularly transfer for other purposes, such as file transfers, audio or video streaming, etc. Most small businesses with a modern broadband internet connection will have ample bandwidth for multiple uses. For businesses in more remote areas or without a high-speed connection you may want to speak to our solutions team to get information about the perfect broadband solution for your business.
The VoIP phone system is also reliant on your electrical connection, whereas a traditional landline phone system can often continue to operate during an internet or power outage. This is not the case with VoIP. However, OrbitalNet IPVoice Services can automatically route calls to a mobile phone or another backup number in the case of an internet or power outage.
Landline telephone services are a reliable and time-tested solution that every business will be comfortable with. They are stable, easy to maintain, and can function independently of power outages or internet connectivity issues that may affect VoIP services (while many phones require power to operate, the technology behind the phone line itself does not).
Landlines operate on a purpose-built network, which was designed for one purpose; telephony. And because it wasn’t built for any other purpose, it manages telephony extremely well. This means excellent call quality, nearly 100% uptime, highly private and secure connections, and the ability to scale and support large volumes of traffic.
VoIP technology was designed to operate on a data network, which means it can’t match traditional landlines in these areas — at least; not yet. So while VoIP technology continues to improve and narrow the gap between it and landline technology, there may still be some inherent compromises for you to consider alongside its cost savings.
The biggest disadvantage of landline technology is that the technology itself is obsolete. No further development or enhancements are planned for it, and there are plans to phase it out entirely in many areas of the world (BT Plan to switch off the traditional ISDN network in 2025). This will also pose a challenge for repairs. Parts are relatively easy to come by now, but they will become scarce as the technology is replaced.
Compare this to OrbitalNet IPVoice cloud-based services, where your business benefits from our continuous technical enhancements and improvements. Also OrbitalNet bears full responsibility for any maintenance and repairs. Features like call transfer, intercom, call queuing, group ringing, and phone directories also come standard with some of the OrbitalNet IPVoice services. These costs add up quickly, especially when you factor in the cost of having a technician install and maintain it, making OrbitalNet IPVoice service a more economical solution.
The increasing prevalence of reliable high-speed internet connectivity is narrowing the last remaining gap that gave landline technology its remaining advantage.
On the future of landlines, our UK Operations Director said that they “are effectively dead.” This is because “using newer technologies means that [voice and fax communications] are more secure, cost-effective and flexible. For instance, with OrbitalNet IPVoice, you can easily move from office to office or from your desk phone to your smartphone and still use the same phone number. OrbitalNet make this seamless, you can’t do that with a landline.”
VoIP technology has advanced to the point where it’s no longer just an alternative to traditional landlines, but a complete replacement. OrbitalNet IPVoice can provide your business with additional features that weren’t previously available to you with a landline. OrbitalNet IPVoice cloud-based service will relieve your business of the responsibility of managing and maintaining your system, and all at a reduced cost.
A forward thinking ISP
Here at Orbital, we have spent the last 18 years developing systems that evolve with new technology to keep our customers in the forefront when running communications for their Business. We pride ourselves on always being one step ahead and invest a lot of time on research and development to ensure we can always meet our customers needs and expectations.