VoIP vs. Landlines

Your business phone system options include VoIP and landlines. Determine which communication solution is right for your business.


Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology helps devices like desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets make and receive telephone calls. Instead of using an analog signal like traditional phone landlines, VoIP converts audio to a digital signal that can be transferred to any computer or mobile device.


As working from home becomes more common, people are turning to VoIP as a phone service that can be used over a business broadband internet connection. Better yet, a VoIP phone number is virtually identical to a traditional phone number, so you can still call friends, family or colleagues who are using traditional phone services.


Here's an overview of business VoIP and traditional landline telephones, including the pros and cons.


What's the difference between VoIP and a landline?


The most significant difference between VoIP and a landline is VoIP's flexibility. Traditional, land-based phone lines require a physical connection to a telephone network, which needs switches to transmit analog audio to other phones worldwide. VoIP, on the other hand, relies on a broadband internet connection.


Here are some other differences between VoIP and landlines.

  • Cost: There are some substantial cost differences between the two business phone systems. VoIP relies on your existing internet connection, so you don't need to buy additional hardware.

  • Scalability: With a VoIP service, you can add a new number to your corporate plan with a few mouse clicks. But because a landline is tethered to a physical location and device, adding new lines as your business grows can quickly become a costly hassle. If you need a new line, a technician must travel to the physical location to install it. Physical lines also need regular maintenance to ensure nothing is eroding and everything is running exactly as it should.

  • Capabilities: A VoIP phone line offers expanded capabilities that give the technology an edge in functionality, including Short Message Service (SMS), video conferencing, recording and archiving. But if there's ever a power or internet outage, you'll lose your ability to communicate with the outside world.

VoIP pros

  1. Lower cost: VoIP phone lines tend to have a lower total cost of ownership than landlines because they're compatible with multiple devices. An employee is usually assigned a corporate computer so that they can easily access a dedicated VoIP phone line without needing extra hardware. VoIP phone lines makes it easy to add lines as a business expands and its workforce grows.

  2. Rich functionality: Because a VoIP phone line works with computers and smart devices, callers can send texts, image and video files, and faxes. VoIP lines also include typical business phone system features like caller ID, conference calling and video conferencing. A VoIP number can easily forward calls to remote teams or employees working from home, enabling you to provide constant support for your customers.

  3. Portability: VoIP phone lines are completely independent of specific devices or locations. To access your VoIP number, you can tether it to a mobile device or laptop to receive calls from clients and colleagues wherever you go.

  4. Scalability: Because VoIP is cloud-based technology, VoIP phone lines are easily scalable for teams and growing businesses. An IT administrator can quickly create new VoIP lines as needed in seconds without contacting a service provider. Once a new VoIP line is created, a new team member can make and receive calls without purchasing any extra equipment. Because VoIP phone lines rely on equipment a business already has, like PCs, most businesses already have all the equipment they need and can quickly scale as the business grows.

  5. Ideal solution for distributed teams: Thanks to its flexibility and scalability, VoIP is an ideal solution for teams spread out all over the country or even internationally. You can create VoIP phone lines for specific regions or countries to provide local support without long-distance charges. Alternatively, your business could use a VoIP line to forward calls to the proper team members, ensuring consistent customer support.

Landline cons

  1. Higher cost: A traditional option for phone service tends to cost more right from the start. The service usually costs more than low-end options, and for every line you add, that cost increases. Imagine running a business with 100 people with dedicated landlines for which you're paying $25 per month for each number, and you'll see how quickly expenses can get out of control.

  2. Regular spam calls: No anti-spam regulations exist for land-based telephone lines, so spam calls are a regular occurrence.

  3. Limited functionality: A landline is best used for audio calls. Because they were created before text messaging, video conferencing, or image sharing, traditional phone lines don't offer the versatility of the broadband communication devices we use today.

  4. Stationary devices: When working with a traditional landline, you're confined to the specific location where your designated telephone is installed. If you ever walk away from your desk, even for a few moments, you could potentially miss a critical call from a colleague. Nobody enjoys playing phone tag.