According to Statista.com, as of 2020, 41.7% of US households have a working landline phone. On the flip side, 54.9% of homes use a cell phone only. As landlines are phasing out, VoIP phone systems are becoming the norm. VoIP is cheap, but that's not the only reason why VoIP is popular in home and offices. It offers a plethora of features that make communication easier. In addition to this, advanced VoIP offers software integrations, which makes it easier for an organization to manage teams and improve their customer relations.
The technology involving Voice over Internet Protocol has been around for a while. VoIP transmits voice signals in the form of data packets. The adapter converts analog voice signals to digital. The digital signals convert to data packets before transmission. On the receiving end, the router decodes the signals.
VoIP uses packet switching, which makes communication efficient. Packet switching saves the bandwidth for communication. Data packets are transmitted when someone is talking. In the case there is silence on the line, no data transfer takes place. Hence, packet switching uses bandwidth efficiently.
You need an adapter to connect a regular desk phone to the internet. The phone connects to the adapter, and the adapter connects to the internet router. The ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) performs two functions. It converts the voice signals to digital signals. It is also responsible for initiating and terminating a call. IP phones connect to the internet without the aid of an adapter.
VoIP service providers also have a softphone, a mobile app for making and receiving calls. AxVoice offers a softphone app support, too, so that users enjoy the benefits while on the go.
Landlines involve circuit switching; switches connect calls from the caller to the receiver. A landline uses Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN). PSTN has been in use since the conception of landline phones. In the initial stages of landline, a human operator switched calls.
Now, this is done automatically with the help of circuits. Although copper wires connect into our phones, fiber optic cables are used in landlines today. The voice signals are converted to digital before transmission via fiber optic cables.
A detailed comparison between VoIP and landline is necessary to understand why and how VoIP is replacing landlines in homes and offices.
Cost is an essential factor in determining which communication system is better. There is no doubt that VoIP is cheaper than a landline.
Here is the cost breakdown for a VoIP service.
Installation and Hardware Cost: The installation cost includes the cost of setting up a PBX, labor, and hardware. A medium-sized business requires a hosted PBX or an on-premises PBX. Hosted PBX is cheaper, and businesses prefer it because of less maintenance and many VoIP service providers, including Axvoice offers this hosted VoIP solution.
The hardware for VoIP includes phones, adapters, and a router. AxVoice provides the adapter free of charge. If the office decides to use desk phones, the cost of the adapter and the phone adds to the setup cost. Also, if you have a regular phone, you don't have to buy a phone. However, if you plan on purchasing an IP phone, these cost you $30 and above. The cost of a regular router is $60.
Calling rates (Local and International): The business VoIP subscription plans offered by Axvoice include 200 to 1500 minutes to anywhere in the US or Canada. Moreover, AxVoice charges cheap international calling rates. AxVoice charges international calling on a per-minute basis. The international calling rates offered by AxVoice varies according to country. However, these rates are negligible compared with landlines. The international calling rate offered by AxVoice is around $0.20 per minute. But, there are international unlimited calling plans available too that you can get on top of your business plan.
Maintenance Cost: The maintenance cost is almost negligible. However, you may require the maintenance of IP phones.
Monthly subscription Cost: AxVoice offers plans for small business, starting from $29.99 to $39.99 per month. The Small Office Home Office plans are for $14.99 per month. There are no added costs for incoming and outgoing calling features. However, for the E911 feature, there is usually an additional cost.
The cost breakdown for installing landline is as follows:
Installation and Hardware Cost: Installing a landline includes the cost of hiring labor for setting up phone lines. According to fixr.com, the average cost of hiring an electrician is $65 to $85. The hardware required for installing a landline includes phones, copper wiring, etc. A simple desk phone cost around $40. Copper wiring costs about $0.10 to $0.20 per foot, depending on the quality. Let's assume that for one phone line, the copper wiring required is 20 feet. So the total cost of the copper wiring is $4. Hence, the more phones in an office, the more the hardware cost. In addition to this, a PBX is essential to connect the phones in an office. A ring-u PBX with 20 lines and 50 extensions cost about $200. As an organization adds more phone lines, an office requires a PBX that accommodates all phone lines, which drives up the cost.
Calling rates (Local and International): The calling rates for a landline are expensive than that for a VoIP. Typical local calling rates are $25. The international calling rates vary from country to country. However, many phone companies charge international calling at $5 to $6.
Maintenance Cost: It includes hardware replacement and a dedicated department that maintains the landlines. In addition to this, you also need maintenance for the on-premises PBX.
Monthly subscription cost: The monthly subscription cost ranges from $10 to $100 per month. Verizon offers landline services for $79.99 per month, which includes internet services. In most cases, a single business phone line costs about $50, which includes long-distance calling. However, to avail more features, you need to pay additional fees. It increases the subscription price. For example, to avail the caller ID feature, the cost is $4.99 per month, which has a one-time activation fee as well. The more features you add, the higher the monthly subscription cost is.
To install a hardware-based VoIP, you need the following:
Internet connection: A stable internet connection is a must for VoIP. For this, you require an Ethernet router. If you are planning to install a VoIP phone system in the office, you should consider the internet speed as well. Apart from VoIP calls, the internet in an office is necessary for sending emails, conference calls, sharing documents, etc. Considering the internet requirements for an office, one VoIP call requires 500 Kbps upload speed. As the number of simultaneous calls increases, the VoIP system requires more bandwidth for crystal clear communication to take place.
PBX (for offices): Public Branch Exchange (PBX) is essential for an office. It connects all the phone in an office so that you can make calls by entering the extension number only. A PBX also allows communication externally. Most VoIP service providers provide a hosted PBX. AxVoice offers subscription plans that include a hosted PBX for offices. With a hosted PBX, you avail more features such as call forwarding, queuing, voicemail, and others.
IP phones: IP phones are exclusively for communication via the internet. These phones are different from traditional phones because they offer more features such as. If you don't plan on using an IP phone, you can use your existing phone and connect it to an ATA adapter instead.
VoIP service provider: A VoIP provider offers services to make local and international calls. Through the service provider, you avail features such as call forwarding, auto-attendant, E911 services, call waiting, and others.
Desk phone: In a landline, communication occurs via a desk phone that connects to other phones via switches. All landline phones connect to PSTN. The PSTN is responsible for establishing connections between the caller and the receiver.
On-premise PBX: PBX creates multiple extension and is necessary for connecting landline phones in an office. Landlines require a hardware-based PBX, which connects the landlines phones internally. Hardware-based PBX connect only a limited number of phone lines.
Service Provider: The service provider allows international and local calls. In addition to this, a service provider offers different features for incoming and outgoing calls.
Computer-based VoIP phone systems offer a range of features that incorporate cloud and Artificial Intelligence. These features are not essential for a home phone or small- and medium-sized businesses. However, for a large enterprise that is composed of various departments, including a dedicated Customer Relations department, cloud-based features offer an added advantage.
VoIP offers extensive features for incoming and outgoing calls. Unlike landlines, you don't pay for additional features. The features are inclusive of the monthly subscription plans. The features that AxVoice offers are as follows:
Various service providers offer different features. Some features are in the monthly subscription plans; however, advanced features are available at additional charges.
The most common features available in a landline are as follows:
The following features require additional charges:
The following table gives a comparison of the features available in VoIP and landlines. The features given below are the ones that are the subscription plan covers.
The best feature of a VoIP phone is that the user can make calls from anywhere in the world. To make calls, you need to keep the adapter with you. Plug the phone into the adapter and connect the adapter to the router to make calls. However, if you use a softphone, this process is simplified. You only need an internet connection to make calls.
Hence, VoIP offers flexibility when it comes to making calls. It makes VoIP practical for organizations. For a business, VoIP ensures that you are always connected to your clients, even when you are on the go. In a changing work environment, VoIP makes remote work feasible. Employees can connect with the management and maintain a channel of communication even when not physically present in the office.
On the other hand, landlines are restrictive and do not offer flexibility. You can only make calls from the desk phone. A landline connects to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which forms a connection between the phones.
Internet speed and available bandwidth are significant factors in determining the call quality of VoIP. The first wave of VoIP services lacked in call quality because of low internet speeds. Because of this, call drops, packet loss, and latency were recurring problems. Users in VoIP have to share the same bandwidth. Hence, this results in poor call quality. However, with better internet speeds due to 4G and 5G, these problems have reduced significantly; call quality has improved, which makes VoIP reliable than before. VoIP service providers such as AxVoice offer low-bandwidth codecs, which allow you to make calls even when the internet speeds are not optimum. Hence, VoIP calls quality is almost as good as a landline.
Landlines have always had good call quality. Although landlines lack in the features they offer, calls made through landline rarely experience call drops or poor call quality. Even during a power outage, landlines are functional, which makes it a reliable option. Each caller connects to a separate landline. Hence, the call quality remains consistent.
VoIP uses less space because the PBX that connects all the phones in an office is on the cloud. Moreover, you don't have to buy hardware for VoIP. Instead, you can use a softphone. So as your business grows, scaling up with the VoIP phone system in the office is cheaper. You can add as many phones as you want; there is no upper limit. The hosted PBX accommodates additional phone lines in a network. Because of the call handling features that VoIP offers, handling incoming and outgoing calls is efficient. With features such as auto-attendant and interactive voice response (IVR), VoIP calls easy to manage. Hence, as your phone systems scale up, you can handle calls better.
Scaling with landlines is not cheap or convenient. In an office, landlines have an on-premises PBX, which connects a limited number of phone lines. To add more phone lines, you may have to change the PBX. In addition to this, as the requirement for phone lines grow, you need more hardware and wiring. It increases the cost of operations in the office.
VoIP service providers are consumer-oriented. The subscription plans for VoIP are economical and offer services to manage communication easily. The cloud hosts VoIP services, so it requires less support and maintenance. However, navigating the various features available because of VoIP is a little difficult for the less tech-savvy.
Since landlines do not incorporate a lot of features in the services that they provide, using a landline is easy. However, the maintenance and support for landline require a team of IT professionals.
The internet is not exclusively for VoIP. Hence, calls made using VoIP have to share the bandwidth. The technology involving VoIP uses packet switching, which efficiently uses the bandwidth. Since voice communication happens via the internet, there are security issues that an organization may face due to VoIP. A lack of security protocols makes VoIP communication vulnerable to listening. So an organization must invest in security measures. AxVoice offers features such as access to call logs, which allows a company to ensure its safety.
Landline use circuit switching for communication. The technology for landlines has been in use for a long time. Since landlines make use of PSTN, the phone lines connect physically. It makes the lines secure.
VoIP phones have an advantage over landlines. The price breakdown given above shows that VoIP is cheaper and affordable than a landline. In addition to this, VoIP phone systems offer many features. You can avail a few of these features in landlines, but you have to bear costs. However, you need to pay an additional cost. It makes landlines expensive. Though, when it comes to the call quality, landlines are slightly better. With 5G technology, the call quality will improve due to lower latency and no dropped calls.
VoIP is the future of wireless communication.