The debate regarding digital versus VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone systems and services is often misunderstood and complicated. Though they all do the same thing in the end, the means to get there are how they differ from one another. Historically, the progression of phone systems and services has gone from analog to digital to VoIP. Those embracing the latest and greatest technology will espouse that VoIP is the way of the future. All three methods of transporting a call from point A to point B are viable options depending on the circumstances you face.
The digital and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone systems are the main types of systems manufactured today. Although VoIP is receiving all the “hype” and is the newest technology platform, VoIP itself is only a new way to transport a call and does not change the way the calls are processed. Though calls can now be made over the internet, it does not eliminate the need for a phone service provider (carrier) to connect your voice calls to the outside world. Here are a few points for your consideration:
Cost: Digital phone systems were the previous standard used, therefore most offices are wired and ready to support the system. VoIP phone systems can require new or additional cabling as well as a power source, usually in the form of an AC brick or POE switch. Additionally, you may need to increase your internet service to support the needed bandwidth and/or add additional network equipment to support this voice network.
Wiring: Digital phones require only a phone cable, whereas with VoIP systems, you plug the phone into an Ethernet wall plate, and then plug a computer into the back of the phone, allowing your network to be connected through your phone to your computer, though this may affect bandwidth significantly.
Carrier: Both Digital and VoIP systems can support plain old telephone service (POTS) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunks. Though, because every situation is unique, we recommend an evaluation before making your selection.
Bandwidth: With a VoIP system, bandwidth is shared amongst computers and phones in the office. If bandwidth is inadequate, phones or computers may perform more slowly. VoIP phone systems can be fitted with a dedicated internet connection, so that if your office's internet goes out, the phone system won't go out with it. Digital phones use a different network altogether, and therefore are unaffected by bandwidth. With a digital phone system, you won't have to worry about the possible need to upgrade your broadband connection.
Power: Digital phones use very little power, and it is drawn from the phone line itself. In contrast, VoIP phones must be connected to a separate power source, or they must have a converter called a Power Over Ethernet (POE) injector, which allows the phones to draw power and data through the same network cable, potentially adding cost to this solution.
Mobility: VoIP phones are more portable than digital phones. This means that, with a VoIP phone system, moving a phone is simply a matter of physically moving a phone to another active connection, and the phone number follows automatically. This makes office moves much simpler. With digital phones, transferring phones requires a technician to transfer the numbers to the new location. Additionally, there are many solutions available when using a VoIP system to support remote phone, mobile phones, and soft phones.
The process of picking a new phone system is no small task. Hopefully, this information will arm you with the basic knowledge to get your business moving in the correct direction. But before you think it’s all too much to handle and stick with your rotary-dial, our phone technicians at Granite are experts and will help assess your needs. We ask the right questions and find you the best solution. Happy hunting!