There are plenty of reasons to use VoIP telephony instead of the classic public switched telephone network (PSTN). Compared to PSTN, VoIP infrastructure supports many more device types, along with simpler network infrastructure and cost-effective calling plans, among other benefits. Let's start by looking at the device differences in more detail.
Hold the softphone: Why VoIP/UC have the upper hand on PSTN
PSTN has been in use for decades. Its advancing age is most apparent in major limitations such as the complexity of adding new lines and the difficulty of accommodating individuals who aren't always near a deskphone.
In contrast, unified communications (UC) systems with VoIP provide several advantageous options:
- Softphones can be configured on PCs/Macs and tablets. With the right software installed, these devices become de facto phones capable of dialing and receiving calls via IP networks, while retaining all their normal functionality for easy multitasking.
- Many smartphones and other wireless handsets can also handle VoIP calls. In fact, if you've ever used consumer-grade services such as FaceTime, Viber or WhatsApp, you have first-hand experience with mobile VoIP.
- IP phones such as the Teo 9102 provide the most comprehensive calling experience. They may come with features like dual SIP lines, HD voice, call logging, Power over Ethernet (PoE) and local three-way conferencing.
The market for desktop IP phones continues to expand, in large part because of their increasingly sophisticated feature sets, according to a 2018 Prudour forecast. In addition to the capabilities listed above, phones can now support color touch screens, built-in front-facing cameras and numerous familiar PC port types, such as USB and Gigabit Ethernet.
"IP phones may heave features like dual SIP lines, HD voice, call logging, Power over Ethernet and local three-way conferencing."
A UC solution gives your team the flexibility to take calls on whichever device is most convenient or appropriate in a given situation, whether that's a laptop someone's simultaneously using to check email or a military-grade IP deskphone using SRTP and TLS encryption for maximum protection.
Behind the scenes: How VoIP and UC allow for simpler IT infrastructure
For end users, VoIP phones enable a wider range of options than they enjoyed with PSTN-based systems. For IT, it has an opposite, but still beneficial, effect – namely, streamlining the underlying network infrastructure.
With a traditional private branch exchange (PBX) in place, discrete networks must be maintained for voice and data. Multiple cable types are needed for supplying power, IP connectivity and voice capabilities to individual devices. This setup creates considerable complexity and can drive up infrastructure-related costs, both on equipment procurement and maintenance.
The combination of VoIP service with IP phones offers a much simpler alternative. All data can be sent over IP networks. Plus, standards such as PoE provide a convenient way to channel both power and connectivity to compatible deskphones.
As an added benefit, VoIP telephony is the ticket to much more economical distance calling. A typical PBX doesn't include long distance in its accompanying base plan, requiring an extra expenditure just to ensure reliable communications with branch offices as well as remote customers. VoIP providers usually cover long-distance calling out of the box and are easy to use across your entire wide area network (WAN).
I can hear you now: The VoIP difference in everyday communications
Speaking of WANs, the emerging need to support modern VoIP solutions has prompted major changes in WAN designs, many of which now use software-defined architectures to dynamically find the best paths for VoIP traffic. VoIP/UC platforms have adapted in kind, with HD voice codecs that determine real-time network availability between endpoints and select the optimal one each time.
There's no doubt that VoIP can deliver substantial savings and flexibility when upgrading from PSTN, but it also makes a difference in the most fundamental domain for a phone system: call quality. Sending calls over an IP network enables greater clarity than analog telephony. Fewer remarks will be need to be repeated, plus subtle voice intonations can be more readily picked up.
Is it time to upgrade your phone system and take a decisive step toward better, more cost-effective communications? Contact Teo Technologies today to learn more about your VoIP and UC options.