VoIP vs. POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) Lines
Thinking of making the switch to VoIP phone service for your business? You might be wondering how VoIP differs from your existing POTS phone lines. Before we delve into the differences, let’s first learn what each acronym actually means.
POTS stands for “Plain Old Telephone Service.” And that’s what it really means. It’s the traditional telephone line that uses a telephone network to reach another person. It’s also referred to as “PSTN” (Public Switched Telephone Network) and you may also call it a “landline.”
VoIP stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol.” With VoIP, communication is sent over the internet instead of a telephone network.
How VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Differs from POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service)
In order to understand how VoIP works, it’s helpful to understand how it relates to POTS. When you make a traditional phone call using the Public Switched Telephone Network, you’re using circuit-switched telephony. This system works by using a circuit between two points that must remain open for the duration of the phone call. Analog voice data is carried through copper or fiber-optic wires that criss-cross around the world. If you’re having a conversation that is long distance you may even hear a delay. And that’s because it takes time for your voice signals to reach their destination. Long-distance phone calls are generally most expensive because the circuit or dedicated channel must remain open for the entirety of the call.
VoIP, on the other hand, does not need a dedicated circuit for a call. It uses packet-switched telephony. Instead of your calls being transmitted through wiring, they rely on your business’ internet. When you make a phone call with VoIP, your voice converts into data packets that are sent through your router to another IP address This is similar to how your tweets, emails, and more are sent. These data packets include all of the information required to route your call as well as the data that will be transformed to sound exactly like your voice once it reaches its destination.
In order to understand how VoIP works, it’s helpful to understand how it relates to POTS. When you make a phone call using the Public Switched Telephone Network, you’re using circuit-switched telephony. This system works by using a circuit between two points that must remain open for the duration of the phone call.
Your analog voice data is carried through copper or fiber-optic wires that criss-cross the world. If you’re having a conversation that is long distance you may even hear a delay. That’s because it takes time for your voice signal to reach its destination. Long-distance phone calls are generally more expensive because the circuit or dedicated channel must remain open for the entirety of the call.
VoIP, on the other hand, does not need a dedicated circuit for a call. It uses packet-switched telephony, which means instead of transmitting your calls through wiring, they rely on your business’s internet. It’s not that different from sending an email. When you email someone, the text and files you’re sending get converted to data packets that are then delivered to the email server you specified. When you call someone through VoIP, your voice gets converted to data packets that are carried over the internet.
When they reach the phone line you’re calling, those data packets get converted back into sound – your voice. It all happens so fast over VoIP–sending, receiving, and unscrambling–that it feels instantaneous.
What are the Benefits of VoIP Phone Service?
A custom VoIP phone plan can do much more than you might realize.
Both VoIP and POTS send and receive calls. However, VoIP is quickly and clearly emerging as the better choice for small businesses. In fact, a recent study indicates that one-third of all businesses now use VoIP rather than POTS, and the vast majority of those are businesses that have fewer than 50 employees.
VoIP systems offer superior call quality to POTS. This wasn’t always the case, but VoIP systems have come a long way in the last few years. Nearly all of them have been upgraded with advanced high-definition codecs and the result is clearer voice quality and less background noise.
Another huge advantage VoIP has over POTS is its ability to integrate. For example, if a client calls you through VoIP, their identity and full account details will show immediately. Think of how modern car stereos display the name of the song and artist as it plays on the radio. That functionality didn’t exist with older car stereos. It’s an additional bit of helpful data that gets sent along with the signal.
With VoIP, you can also use your mobile phone as an extension of your business phone, so you can be at your client’s convenience anytime and anywhere.
Most VoIP providers offer additional services that either aren’t available or are very expensive with POTS including:
- Voicemail to text
- Voicemail to email
- Call recording
- Find-Me-Follow-Me functionality
- Unlimited lines
VoIP offers more functionality beyond what a traditional phone system can do, and as VoIP becomes more popular you can be sure additional features will become available. At this point, it’s fair to say that VoIP is no longer a way to stay ahead of the curve. Rather, if you don’t have VoIP you run the risk of falling behind.
VoIP Lets You Say Goodbye to the Fax Machine
Fax machines are a relic of the 20th century. And yet your business might still need to send and receive documents in a way that a fax machine can.
VoIP allows you to ditch the bulky, noisy fax machine and send and receive faxes in an organized way. No more running out of ink, or pages falling out of the paper tray. When someone sends you a fax over VoIP, it’s in a digital format, so ensuring that it gets routed to the correct person is as easy as sending an email.
Price of VoIP Versus Cost of POTS
VoIP phone lines are generally less expensive than POTS lines. You can find basic VoIP service that starts at around $20 a month per seat – a traditional phone service may run you significantly more.
If you’re interested in learning more about VoIP or would like a business phone solution for your company, get in touch with America’s Phone Guys. We proudly serve the greater Portland OR and Vancouver WA metro areas.
Make the Switch to VoIP for Small Business
We get it – switching your phone system seems like a huge hassle, especially if you’re not sure you’ll notice the difference. But this is one change that’s worth it.
You’ll immediately notice improved call quality, ease of use, and you’ll probably also pay less. If you set up VoIP through America’s Phone Guys, you’ll also get vastly superior customer service.
Let America’s Phone Guys put together a VoIP Phone System for you. We offer state-of-the-art fully integrated VoIP phone equipment and a wide range of VoIP phone plans that are designed to meet your business needs. We’ll also take care of installation, and in case anything ever goes wrong, we’re ready to handle any needed repairs.
Ready to take your business into the future with VoIP phone service? Then let’s chat!
VoIP vs. POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) Lines in Portland OR - Vancouver WA - Oregon Coast
SERVING CLIENTS IN NW OREGON AND SW WASHINGTON