The line is increasingly blurring between VoIP and the public switched telephone network (PSTN) as we reach the end of the age of copper lines and the telecommunications infrastructure becomes fibre. Despite the future being digital, the debate over VoIP vs PSTN remains as many companies are still evaluating a potential migration to IP-based telephony. The decision whether to stay on the PSTN or migrate to VoIP relies companies to take a close look at the technology that powers both telephony infrastructures and comparing their features.
Traditional PSTN services use dedicated copper networks to deliver voice traffic and depend on circuit switching technology to connect users during phone calls. These days though PSTN is increasingly digital as the last mile is being replaced with fibre optic cables. PSTN service providers are also implementing technology such as Session Internet Protocol (SIP) and primary rate interface (PRI) in order to delver voice data.
VoIP in contrasts uses the internet to transmit voice data and this gets rid of the need for circuit switched networks. VoIP converts audio in data packets and then transmits the data across an IP network, converting the packets back into audio on the receiving end of the call. Many companies use VoIP services offered by cloud unified communications providers such as Vonage.
PSTN has some advantages
When it comes to evaluating both technologies, PSTN is considered more secure than VoIP and also offers greater stability because of its ability to continue uninterrupted during a power outage. When VoIP technology first appeared on the scene it was notorious for being unreliable with dropped calls routine and the call quality poor because of jitter and latency. Those problems are largely no longer an issue as quality and reliability has improved. Another challenge for VoIP is emergency location services.
VoIP has its own set
However VoIP does have its advantages including the lower cost of network infrastructure, the ability to scale and a more advanced feature set including app integration and unified communications. Some companies may have specific use casts that require them to maintain a plain old telephone service (POTS) which means a PSTN connection. Plainly put POTS is the most basic form of telephone services and is analogue. It has remained virtually unchanged despite the introduction of digital services. The main reason behind its continued persistence is that there are some services that are not reliable over an IP PBX such as fax systems.