Many enterprises are still clinging to legacy phone systems. What has been holding back IP telephony adoption? Does it come down to industry knowledge and acceptance, or is it more of a technological hurdle?
IP telephony adoption will remain slow and steady for a variety of reasons, but the main factor is the reliability of legacy phone systems. Most businesses move to IP to reduce telecommunications costs, and they usually do this when something happens to trigger the change, such as an end-of-life for the phone system. With a weak economy, the IT community is happy to get as much mileage as possible out of their existing infrastructure, and if the legacy phones are working fine, they’ll need a really strong reason to change.
Of course, the richer communications value that comes from Voice over IP and Unified Communications is the best reason to adopt IP telephony, but the benefits are hard to quantify. Also, most IT decision makers still have a hardware-based mindset in regards to measuring the value of telephony. Over time, this will change, but it’s a key reason why legacy phone systems continue to endure.
VoIP vs PSTN: What’s best for your business?
An increasing number of businesses are opting to replace their Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTNs) for cheaper VoIP alternatives, but the PSTN vs. VoIP debate is still going strong. Internet telephony was associated with performance issues when VoIP first appeared on the scene and was notorious for dropped calls and poor call quality. Significant strides have been made in the world of VoIP, however, and there are plenty of reasons why making the change could be helpful. Areas where VoIP currently has a leg-up on PSTN include advantages in scalability, cost and special feature availability.
On the other hand, many enterprises want to stick with their plain old telephone service (POTS), (service that runs over the PSTN). The well-known technology has built-in reliability, security and emergency location services. Just because something is plain and old doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to rip and replace.
Are you still on the fence about whether or not to make the switch? This tech-comparison helps you weigh the pros and cons. It’s not easy to give up your trusty legacy phone system, but this tech-comparison can help you decide one way or the other.
PSTN vs. VoIP: Feature-by-feature comparison
|Connectivity type||Internet connectivity||Dedicated telephone lines|
|Required bandwidth||Requires about 10 Kbps in each direction||Typically requires 64 Kbps in each direction|
|Pricing||Free VoIP-to-VoIP calling (local and international), but calls to mobile and landline phones have nominal subscription fees of around 1.2 cents to 2.6 cents a minute.||No free calls can be made. Costly international calling. Monthly phone plans usually cost around $25 to $30 per month depending on service provider.|
|Scalability||Upgrades usually require more bandwidth and simple software updates.||Upgrades require purchasing more hardware and dedicated lines, which can be very complex and costly.|
|Remote extensions||This feature is typically standard.||This feature typically requires dedicated lines for each extension and is very pricey.|
|Business continuity/disaster recovery||Service terminates when Internet connectivity (power) is lost. Organizations must have a VoIP disaster recovery plan.||Service usually remains active during power outages because phone jacks do not require electricity. But cordless phones do and would be unusable.|
|Call waiting||Most VoIP options offer free call waiting, such as Google Voice and Skype.||Available at extra cost|
|Call forwarding||Some VoIP options provide free call forwarding (Google Voice), while others offer it for an extra fee or through a subscription (Skype).||Available at extra cost|
|Call transferring||Some VoIP options provide free call transferring (Google Voice), while others do not support call transferring at all (Skype).||Available at extra cost|
|Emergency calling||Depends on the service, but emergency calling is usually not provided by VoIP or is very limited (Skype). Emergency calls (911, 112) are also typically untraceable.||Emergency calling is enabled, and services are traceable to location.|