Hybrid workforces and their hyper-productivity have fueled a trend toward Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in business communications.
Many businesses have their chess pieces for communications locked away with landlines. While this traditional telephony has been a steadfast technology, VoIP has emerged as a strong versatile and scalable alternative.
In this post, we look at the advantages and disadvantages of VoIP to help you evaluate if VoIP is the best option for your business communications.
What is VoIP?
VoIP technology lets you send and receive voice calls over the internet instead of landlines. When you use VoIP, your calls travel over the public internet rather than traditional circuit-switched telephony via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
VoIP converts your voice into digital signals, compresses it into data packets, and sends it via a VoIP provider. Moreover, VoIP is mainly managed over the cloud so scaling VoIP is led by software rather than an exercise in physical installation and maintenance.
Many major markets including the UK are considering a complete PSTN switch-off (2025). Other countries, including Germany and Sweden, are planning to follow suit either led by their regulators or providers. In its wake, VoIP offers not just an advanced but also a necessary alternative.
The benefits of VoIP
1. Greater cost-efficiency
One of the most significant advantages of VoIP is its cost-effectiveness.
VoIP utilizes the internet, often allowing users to make calls at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone lines. It can couple with softphone apps that access VoIP directly with smartphones, requiring no additional equipment at all.
On the other hand, traditional phone systems come with high operational costs, including expensive hardware and maintenance. With internet connectivity being widely available and workforces being increasingly remote, VoIP makes a more cost-effective choice.
2. Consistent reliability
The increasing demand for Voice over Internet Protocol has helped establish highly reliable VoIP services with global redundancies and over 99.9% network uptimes. At Bandwidth, we maintain a core network uptime of 99.999% with:
- Multiple geo-redundant data centers in North America and globally
- Our owned and operated network with global reach
With VoIP, you have options like intelligent call routing to win at both quality and cost, saving you as much as 50% using local routes over long distances. You can add carriers, manage rate decks, and disable or enable routes for phone calls in real time.
3. Flexibility and user mobility
Switching from landline to VoIP is as good as literally cutting the cord.
VoIP enables users to make and receive calls from anywhere with an internet connection. This means mobility for your workers within and outside your office with seamless communication, regardless of location.
4. Improved sound quality
You say hello and hello and static gets in the way? With landlines, the scope to improve such call quality is limited to equipment upgrades. However, VoIP is constantly evolving with innovations in noise cancellation and audio codecs for crystal-clear calls.
5. Feature-rich services
VoIP systems offer more than just 1-1 communication. They pack in the punch with an array of advanced features such as:
- Call forwarding: Routing the call to another number when the called party is engaged or unavailable
- Voicemail to email transcription: A speech-to-text service that transcribes voicemails to text and sends to the recipients via email or text.
- Call recording: Saving your conversations to the cloud to access later.
- Video conferencing: Allowing employees and customers to have virtual video conversations, from wherever they are located.
Businesses have plugged these and more VoIP features easily into their communication applications via Voice APIs. As long as you have a good internet connection, your employees and customers can connect in more flexible and productive ways with VoIP.
6. Easy scalability
VoIP systems are highly scalable, making it easy for businesses to add capacity and features as needed, often without adding any hardware. This is how Aircall expanded its reach to 80+ countries in just 8 years riding on VoIP services.
Landlines, on the other hand, offer limited options and need costly infrastructure for expansion.
Enterprise Communications Landscape 2024
Hear how 1,000 IT leaders are using VoIP for their employee and customer communications.
7. Ease of integration with other applications
VoIP has the advantage of integrating seamlessly with other business applications, allowing a more cohesive and streamlined workflow. You can build communications, your way into your employee (UCaaS) and customer (CCaaS) platforms, and add AI integrations, with VoIP.
8. Quick set-up
New VoIP connections can be set up in as few as 10 minutes, as long as the phone numbers of your choice are available. VoIP has the speed advantage, especially when scaling to new markets.
The disadvantages of VoIP
1. Dependence on internet connection
VoIP relies on a stable internet connection, and disruptions or outages can affect the quality of calls. You may require a minimum 100kbps line for a small office, which is a potential drawback for businesses in areas with unreliable internet infrastructure.
That said if bandwidth isn’t a problem and outages are far and few in between, VoIP is a great option as you can easily route calls to people’s cellphones during outages.
2. Security concerns
As VoIP transmits data over the public internet, keep security at the top of your mind. Without proper encryption and security measures, VoIP systems may be vulnerable to fraud, hacking, eavesdropping, and other cyber threats. Direct Link Services (DLS) and TLS/SRTP encryption can help mitigate this.
3. Emergency services location limitations
With traditional landlines, it’s easier to locate the user accurately. The mobility offered by VoIP makes this more difficult. This limitation can be critical in situations where swift emergency response is crucial.
To ensure the safety of your people, regardless of whether they’re fixed or non-fixed VoIP users, Bandwidth offers Dynamic Location Routing in the U.S. that provides dispatchable locations of your users, ensuring accuracy via real-time address validation and error correction capabilities that instantly verify changes.
So, VoIP or landline?
Enabling seamless communication for your employees and customers is a driver of business success. Most businesses also need to accommodate hybrid employees and customers.
VoIP offers clear benefits in terms of reliability, flexibility, and scalability for growing businesses. If you’re looking to transform and future-proof your business, ditching landline and switching to VoIP is the natural choice, subject to bandwidth availability.
Before you make the leap, here are a few hacks to pick the right VoIP provider for your specific context. Businesses of all sizes trust Bandwidth’s global VoIP to land and expand their business in key markets within and outside of North America.
With Bandwidth, they enjoy the advantages of VoIP without the usual disadvantages getting in the way. Companies like Weave help businesses switch from traditional landlines to VoIP on the back of our wholesale VoIP services with 99.999% uptime.