The telecommunications landscape is becoming increasingly digital. Copper lines are becoming less prevalent as companies embrace alternatives that can provide better service, additional features, and improved call clarity. However, many organizations have yet to make the leap to VoIP telephony, allowing the PSTN vs. VoIP debate to linger on.
Deciding whether it’s best to shift to VoIP or maintain PSTN isn’t always easy, especially since a move represents a significant change in how you manage your infrastructure. Additionally, questions about security and reliability may also impact the decision-making process, as well as the cost-effectiveness of each approach.
If you are trying to decide whether PSTN or VoIP is right for your business, here are some points to consider.
Business Continuity and Mobility
Initially, VoIP wasn’t the most reliable option. Dropped calls and latency impacted call quality while network and power outages interrupted service.
In comparison, PSTN is considered more reliable from a business continuity standpoint. During a power outage, calling capabilities on PSTN are maintained. Additionally, a network outage doesn’t automatically impact the phone lines as well, allowing one service to continue even if the other fails.
However, the lack of mobility doesn’t make it the most efficient approach if you have a highly mobile workforce. Plus, the ability to connect to VoIP lines through alternative means, including mobile devices, can alleviate many of the business continuity concerns.
VoIP call quality and reliability have also significantly improved over the years, making issues like latency and call dropping less of a concern.
In the vast majority of cases, VoIP is a more cost-effective approach over the long-term. Often, the network infrastructure costs are significantly lower, especially for companies that already maintain a robust network.
Additionally, device-related expenses can also be limited. VoIP can be routed through an employee’s computer or mobile device, eliminating the need for traditional desk phones. Further, when coupled with a unified communications (UC) solution, all communications can be largely centralized, a move that can increase efficiency and productivity, both of which can positively impact your bottom line.
Implementing a VoIP solution does come with an upfront cost. However, if you explore cloud-based services with third-party providers, even those expenses can be minimized. Additionally, these services can be scaled with ease, allowing you to adjust your number of lines to optimize cost-efficiency whenever the need arises.
Typically, VoIP solutions are significantly more feature-rich than their PSTN counterparts. Options like remote extensions, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, and call transferring are usually included with the base service.
Additionally, adding custom hold music or marketing messages can typically be done with ease through VoIP, allowing you to derive further value from the service.
User management is also simplified through VoIP. Relocating numbers to different offices, updating employee names, and similar activities can be done with just a few clicks, improving the efficiency of adds, moves, and changes.
However, one point can be more complicated to manage with a VoIP solution: 911. PSTN lines are automatically traceable to a location, ensuring emergency responders arrive at the right destination. On VoIP, there can be additional steps to ensure the proper information is provided to emergency responders when a 911 call is placed. This can create an additional burden when it comes to system management, but providers that meet E911 standards make the process as simple as possible.
Ultimately, many companies can benefit from VoIP, but it is important to be aware of the potential drawbacks of these systems before you decide to make a switch. That way, you are fully prepared for what is to come, allowing you to plan for the differences in advance.