Considering switching to VoIP and replacing your legacy PBX phone system and analog telephone lines? There are many benefits to consider when comparing VoIP with analog lines, including a reduction in recurring costs and call rates.
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What is The Difference Between VoIP and an Analogue Phone Line?
Let’s start by discussing the two main technologies used by businesses for telecommunication.
What is an analog phone line (landline)?
An analog phone line, or landline, is a physical phone line (typically copper) that transfers signals from a terminal to a telephone network in analog form.
When making a call, a switch is used to create a loop between your phone and the telephone of the person you are calling. The information about the dial-up connection, as well as the voice information, are transferred down telephone line in parallel and each line is limited to a single call at a time.
What is VoIP?
VoIP, stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and is a type of technology that enables you to make calls using a voice calls using an internet connection.
Analogue audio signals are converted into digital signals, the signals undergo compression and they are transferred over the internet.
These digital signals are then uncompressed at the other end, enabling a user to hear sound via a handset or device.
VoIP requires no physical wires to transfer signals, merely a good internet connection, and can support many simultaneous calls.
A Brief VoIP Background
The rapid development of telecommunications technologies in the past decade has enhanced the way South African businesses conduct their business. Improved network infrastructure and technology has allowed high speed Internet and VoIP to become available to almost every business owner or user. Business VoIP is becoming increasingly reliable due to faster Internet connections where voice can now be prioritised.
Business VoIP connections typically come in the following forms in Southern Africa:
- LTE VoIP
- ADSL VoIP
- Wireless/Microwave VoIP
- Fibre VoIP
In the past, the term “VoIP” quickly developed a bad name, it was unreliable and inefficient, and this was primarily due to inferior internet connectivity. In most cases it was the attempt by service providers to run a business’s VoIP and voice related services over unstable and undersized internet connections or running voice and data over the same internet connection. Today, VoIP utilises faster, more reliable internet connections and can be customised to match the exact requirements of small and medium-sized businesses or enterprises.
Questions to consider when setting up a Business VoIP Solution
- How many telephone lines/channels do you need?
- How many employees will be using the VoIP telephone system?
- Is broadband internet available in your location?
- How important is uninterrupted telephone uptime to you?
- What are your internet and data transmission requirements?
- Will you require handsets?
- Do you have any existing infrastructure that can be reused?
Once the above has been considered, your business will be in a better position to find a business VoIP system that is both cost-effective as well as the most reliable offering for you. United Telecoms offers business grade VoIP-only solutions as well as VoIP and data solutions that are resilient, competitive and of the highest quality. It is also possible to fully customise your VoIP solution based on your specific needs.
11 Benefits of VoIP Lines vs Analog Lines
How does VoIP compare to analog phone systems?
There’s a whole host of benefits associated with switching to VoIP and we have picked our favourite 11 benefits of VoIP vs analog lines to help you compare these two different communication solutions.
- Reduce costs
- Easy to set up
- Hassle-free management & maintenance
- Increased flexibility & scalability
- Always up – even during loadshedding
- Benefit from advanced features without additional hardware
- VoIP technology is green
- Higher quality sound
- Low-cost maintenance & better service
- Increased productivity with remote functionality and accessibility
- Future-proof communication solution
Read on to find out more!
1. Reduce costs: hardware installation, maintenance, line rental & call rates.
In some cases, businesses can save up to 60% of their phone bill by switching to VoIP. This is because the cost of hardware installation, line rental fees and call rates with VoIP is significantly lower than those associated with traditional landline based PBX systems.
While analog phone systems are still used for required for specific types of businesses today, particularly those in remote areas or with security concerns, they are more costly to set up and expand in the future.
Save on hardware installation costs
Traditional on-premise PBX systems rely on hardware – such as copper lines, cabling, an appropriate main unit, physical handsets and other peripherals – to enable businesses to make outbound calls and receive incoming calls.
With VoIP, setting up a new system or expanding your VoIP setup can often be handled remotely with minimal or no hardware additions required. You can also scale down costs by removing extensions/lines with a few clicks, whereas with traditional PBX systems if you choose to reduce the size of your analog phone system, you have already invested in a main unit, supporting hardware and peripherals.
Reduce maintenance costs
Analog phone systems usually require ongoing maintenance, and on-premise troubleshooting when your phone system experiences issues or downtime.
You can expect to pay a minimum call out fee of R1000 (when a technician is available to come to site) a cost which is compounded by telecommunication downtime.
VoIP phone systems can be maintained remotely and any immediate fixes can be handled virtually and usually within a short period of time (sometimes a matter of minutes).
Remote maintenance and support for VoIP saves businesses money on callout fees and significantly reduces downtime and productivity losses.
Cheaper line rental & call rates
With traditional, on-premise PABX systems, you can expect to spend more on line rental fees (R165 per month, per line with Telkom), and rental fees or upfront costs associated with purchasing any necessary hardware.
With VoIP, voice is converted into a compressed signal and sent over the internet. Meaning that a business’ existing data connection is utilised to enable VoIP service. Monthly fees associated with extensions are significantly lower (R65 per extension with United Telecoms) and calls are charged on a per second billing basis, as opposed to using per minute billing. There is no specific need for cabling and VoIP handsets can plug into existing network cables making VoIP much cheaper on a monthly basis as well as to set up.
2. Easy to set up
VoIP is easy to set up, and usually only requires your existing internet connection and minimal hardware. Businesses can choose to use desktop VoIP phones, wireless IP phones, bluetooth or wired headsets, softphones, and more.
Devices utilised by a business, such as mobile phones, desktops and laptops can be preconfigured and once connected to a network or data connection all VoIP services are activated immediately.
VoIP doesn’t involve complicated and costly physical phone line installations like traditional landlines, and landline numbers can be ported to VoIP easily.
Businesses with existing PBX setups can also be converted to utilise VoIP functionality, by utilising current infrastructure such cabling and networks.
3. Hassle-free management & maintenance
Managing your VoIP account is often easier than managing your landline accounts, as customers are typically given access to a management portal to keep tabs on usage and expected monthly costs.
Maintaining your VoIP service is also inexpensive, and any troubleshooting or changes can be handled remotely and within minutes. When managing a business’ phone system, service matters and missing calls or having excessive downtime is detrimental.
Choosing the right VoIP provider in South Africa will usually result in better service than large corporate entities with a backlog of clients can offer.
4. Increased flexibility & scalability
Some of the most notable benefits of VoIP for businesses are related to the increased flexibility and scalability.
VoIP is always up, flexible and remotely accessible. A VoIP solution also scales at the same pace as your business.
With traditional analog phone systems, physical lines need to be installed based on the size of your team, plus main units with enough supporting extensions, physical handsets and any other peripherals. These necessary components incurred significant cost to businesses.
With VoIP, virtual lines can be added or removed within a few clicks, which helps you scale the cost of your phone system to match the needs of your business. The cost associated with adding VoIP lines is also simple – the number of extensions required multiplied by the subscription cost for each extension.
VoIP providers can also provide their customers with a range of benefits by implementing a cloud hosted PBX with features such as softphone extensions, IP phone integration, call monitoring, hot desks, autoattendant and more.
5. Always up – even during loadshedding
In emergency situations, VoIP is also more flexible and accommodating. For example, traditional landlines would simply be inoperational during power outages, unless attached to an accompanying custom UPS system – which influences the cost of installation.
With VoIP, when the power goes out, one can handle incoming and outbound calls using a range of mobile devices that only require access to a data connection. Calls can be rerouted almost instantly to other company locations if required.
6. Benefit from advanced features without additional hardware
With traditional PABX systems, lots of additional hardware and software was required to enable necessary features such as call recording for businesses.
VoIP offers many advanced features by default, and other required features can often be activated remotely, with no additional hardware required – reducing installation, hardware and maintenance costs.
Today PABX/PBX systems can also be turned into hybrid cloud PBX systems, using minimal hardware and by utilising a company’s existing connections (such as CAT5/6 cables). This can enable businesses with large PBX systems and hardware components to reduce costs when expanding their systems.
It’s worth exploring the features of VoIP and additional functionality, including:
- Call back
- Hosted call recording
- Virtual fax
- Geographic number porting
- Online Telephone
- Management System
- Conference calling
7. VoIP technology is green: reduces energy consumption & waste
VoIP can also be considered a forward-thinking green communication solution.
Installations for traditional PBX systems involve hardware that often cannot be reused or sold as it may be hard to adapt it to another system.
Running PBX hardware also involves increasing a company’s carbon footprint through higher energy consumption and the requirement for more hardware. In addition, transport associated with site visits have their toll on the environment.
VoIP involves the installation of minimal or no hardware, and can often utilise a business’ existing network connections and infrastructure. There’s no added energy costs associated with running PBX hardware on site, as VoIP can be hosted and managed off-site and it is more energy and hardware efficient to host multiple customer’s services off the same servers than a single client per server. Maintenance is also almost always remote and can be handled virtually within a matter of minutes.
8. Higher quality sound
VoIP used to get a bad name in the early days due to call quality, as the call quality of calls made using VoIP is only as good as your data connection – which needs to be fast and reliable.
For most businesses these days, a reliable and fast internet connection is relatively affordable and no longer presents the hurdle it once did.
We work with our clients to ensure their usual internet connection can handle their expected call volume and quality expectations. We personalise our approach to account for the existing infrastructure and demands of each telecommunications solution.
There are instances where on premise PABX systems may need to be installed, either for security reasons – to ensure sensitive data isn’t stored in the cloud, or due to unreliable data network conditions often present for headquarters in remote areas. Contact us to discuss your specific requirements around custom on-premise PBX systems or hybrid solutions.
9. Low-cost maintenance & better service
VoIP lines are less hardware reliant and hence, tend to require less maintenance, furthermore, any management or configurations can be handled remotely the majority of the time. With remote maintenance, businesses save time and money on on-site maintenance and issues are rectified faster and within a shorter period of time.
VoIP providers are also likely to provide better customer support than larger corporates that manage landlines, a key factor to look out for when picking the right VoIP provider.
For example, with Telkom landlines and traditional PBX systems, the majority of maintenance is completed on-site and getting a technician to arrive timeously can be very tricky. In the mean time, your phone lines might be unoperational and you are missing important calls which isn’t an option for businesses.
10. Increased productivity with remote functionality and accessibility.
VoIP provides wide ranging flexibility, scalability and remote functionality – enabling business to get more value out of their communications system and strategy.
Unlike landline numbers which typically can’t be taken with you when you move to a new location in South Africa, VoIP is mobile and it’s easy to manage your communications from around the country.
VoIP calling can be enabled on a wide variety of devices, from cellular devices with preconfigured SIM cards, to softphones and applications accessible via a wide range of mobile devices and desktop computers. This enables users to access company communications infrastructure from anywhere around the country, or even from overseas.
For businesses with multiple branches, a single virtual switchboard can be used to transfer calls to any geographically located extension. This enables companies to curate their communication strategy, and provide a united front when working remotely from different locations.
When expanding your team, analog phone systems required the physical installation of additional lines and hardware to handle increased call volume and concurrent calls. If you choose to reduce the scale of your phone system in the future, you’re usually stuck with the hardware you’ve purchased.
With VoIP, lines/extensions can be added or removed almost instantly with no additional hardware required.
11. Future-proof communication solution
Traditional copper landlines are being removed and even traditional landline providers are moving to cable-free solution – don’t get left behind and stuck with a sub-optimal service. VoIP is the best option for most businesses in the present day, and for the future, providing a wide range of cost and time-saving benefits, as well as features that enhance your company’s ability to manage internal and external communications more effectively.
Switch on your terms, and enhance your company’s communication strategy with a VoIP solution that meets your needs.
Final Thoughts: VoIP vs Analog Landlines
VoIP is a great option for businesses of all sizes. With so many benefits, VoIP is the best option for most businesses today. If you’re looking to learn more about VoIP, explore the features of VoIP, how to port landline numbers to VoIP or how VoIP and cloud PBX benefits business.
We assist businesses across South Africa with fully customisable and personalised VoIP solutions that match their needs. If you’re considering switching to a VoIP solution, contact us to find out more and get answers to any queries you may have.