How to Choose: VoIP vs Traditional Phone System
Innovation is what begins the cycle of technological evolution. Consider the telephone. Supposedly, Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call on March 10, 1876 and cited it in his laboratory notebook. This thought usually instills an image of a bearded man using a rotary dialed phone with a separate earpiece for listening and mouthpiece for speaking. This invention went on to many different incarnations over the next century and a half roughly including a unified headset for listening and talking, push buttons, and even cordless technology.
The most recent evolution of the modern telephone system, however, is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The evolution of an invention such as the telephone usually results in improvements to address certain inefficiencies that the original product lacked. Therefore, the question becomes: Is VoIP a successful evolution of traditional phone service. In other words, How do you choose between VoIP and a traditional phone system?
- Cost: We all want the latest and greatest when it comes to new innovations and technology, but we don’t want to have to pay too much for it. Every major innovation has a price point where people are willing to pay for the improvement. VoIP usually does provide fairly significant financial value. In fact, one of the most attractive features of VoIP is that it typically costs much less than traditional phone service. There is also some good flexibility involved with the payment options. Most providers will allow you to pay as you go or sign up for unlimited calling within a certain geographical area for a small monthly fee.
- Security: This is perhaps the single biggest drawback involved with VoIP. Because it uses Internet Protocol, your phone system could be subject to many of the same vulnerabilities your computer experiences.
- Portability: A common term for a VoIP phone number is virtual number. Many people refer to the technology this way because you can really take it with you anywhere you go. Also, it doesn’t really matter if you’re calling across the globe or across the street, calls are connected and cost the same. Other than cost savings, portability is one of the biggest strong points in favor of VoIP.
- E911: Traditional phone services have the ability to trace your location through E911 and divert your call to the closest center for appropriate emergency services to be sent to your location immediately. Unfortunately, no such automatic routing takes place for VoIP calls because the connectivity is strictly between two IP addresses, not physical locations.
- Features: Many traditional phone service providers charge extra for added features. However, VoIP usually comes with a wide variety of convenient extra features like Voicemail, Call forwarding, Call waiting, Three-way calling, and Caller ID with no extra fees. VoIP also does a nice job of seamlessly integrating with some other convenient Internet services like audio and video conferencing.
- Reliability: Although many people still claim that VoIP is more susceptible to call failures and degraded quality, the technology is getting consistently more reliable all the time. Some things like using your computer while talking on the phone may cause call quality to diminish, but really the service is dependent on how good your Internet connection is. If you have trouble with web browsing due to weak Internet service, you may have more problems with VoIP.
VoIP is still an improving technology that has helped many businesses and individuals increase their financial flexibility and add convenience and portability to their phone systems. Whether or not it’s the right technology for your needs is up to you.
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