VoIP vs Landline Phone Service

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With so many changes in the telecommunications industry, it’s easy to get confused about phone service options. Today’s consumers have the option of not only choosing their service provider but also the type of service they want— and for most of us, that means choosing between Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) or a traditional landline. Whether you’re looking for a new phone at home or in the office these are your two core options.

The option you choose will depend on a number of key factors, particularly the short and long-term costs associated with each. If you’re trying to decide which is best for you, here are some of the key differences between VoIP vs landline phone services.

Landline Phone Services

In order to truly compare these two options, it’s important to first discuss what they are in regards to their capabilities. With a landline phone service, your home is connected, via a copper wire, to a local phone network. When you make a call, the local network’s circuit switches connect you to a public telephone network. Using copper wires that carry analog voice data, this network connects your call to the right number.

VoIP Services

While a landline utilizes copper wires that carry analog voice data, a VoIP system uses packet-switched technology. This converts the analog voice data into a digital format and enables the call to travel along network packets via the internet. In comparison to a conventional landline, Voice Over Internet Protocol or (VoIP) is known as Internet calling. This means that in order to make calls, you’ll require an Internet connection. The best VoIP providers are cost-effective, reliable, and easy to use.

The Differences Between Voice Over IP vs Landline

These are some of the important differences between landline vs VoIP:

  • Internet connection: With VoIP, you’ll need a broadband internet connection and an adapter to connect the phone line to a modem. With a landline, no internet connection is necessary.
  • 911 services: On a landline, 911 calls are automatically traced. With VoIP, however, calls to 911 can’t always be traced.
  • Power outages: With VoIP, you’ll lose service during a power outage, but landline services will usually stay intact.
  • Internet disruptions: If there’s a disruption in your internet service, your VoIP will be affected, but your landline won’t.
  • Upgrades: Landlines can be constantly upgraded with new equipment. Likewise, VoIP can also be upgraded by new software and bandwidth expansion.
  • Long-distance: On a landline, long-distance is charged per minute or through a bundled subscription package. On VoIP, long-distance is much cheaper and is included in an affordable monthly phone charge.
  • Extra features: On a landline, features such as caller ID and call waiting are available for a monthly fee. With VoIP, these features are usually free.

Costs to consider

While focusing specifically on costs, there are several key differences.

  • For the initial setup, a landline is fairly costly, whereas VoIP is not — the same is true in regards to the running cost, as most homes and businesses already have Internet capabilities.
  • Because VoIP uses the internet instead of an extensive phone network, it’s cheaper to operate, and these savings are passed on to the consumer. VoIP is significantly less expensive than landline services, and this is a deciding factor for many consumers.
  • While landlines do not support any multimedia (i.e. video), VoIP does. There are also a number of additional features associated with VoIP which are offered at no additional cost. In comparison, if you’d like call waiting or forwarding, you’ll need to pay an additional fee when using a landline.
  • In that sense, VoIP tends to win in regards to the available features — but what about the final cost? Well, when comparing side-by-side, VoIP trumps a landline by a mile. In fact, data shows that when companies switch from a landline to VoIP, they save up to 60 percent each month.

If you’re trying to decide between VoIP vs landline services, consider the costs versus the features you may gain or lose. By doing your homework and researching your options, you can make an educated decision about which plan will be right for you.

To learn more, be sure to check out the following telecommunications company reviews to compare key features, pricing, and terms.

Looking for more tips on how to save on calling? You could switch your mobile carrier, too —  find out the best mobile options and compare.

About the Author

Jeff Hindenach

Jeff Hindenach is the co-founder of Versus Reviews. He graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. He has a long history of journalism, with a background writing for newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Examiner, as well as writing for The Huffington Post, New York Times, Business Insider, CNBC, Newsday and The Street. He believes in giving readers the tools they need to get out of debt.

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