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VoIP vs. Landline for Business: Which Is Best for You?

This article was updated on December 29, 2023

For small businesses, even as technology continues to evolve, two of the most important features for success are a phone number and reliable phone system. In today’s saturated marketplace, it’s crucial to leverage the right technology — from classic landline technology, to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) business phone solutions, all the way to unified communications — to help separate yourself from the competition.

photo of a woman sitting at a desk, working on her laptop. On the desk is a traditional landline office phone, which she is holding up to her ear, and a cellphone.

Weighing Your Phone System Options

For starters, you are probably wondering: what are VoIP and landlines? Then you might wonder, does VoIP offer better quality than a landline? Great questions! Even though it can be overwhelming to try and figure everything out on your own, there’s no need to stress out. We’re going to break down some of the VoIP vs. landline pros and cons, as well as their differences and similarities, to help you decide whether a (VoIP) business phone system is right for your business. Additionally, we’ll touch on Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) to help cover all of your bases.

What Is VoIP?

As we mentioned earlier, VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Essentially, VoIP phone technology allows you to make and receive calls using an internet connection instead of an analog phone line. Depending on the VoIP provider you use, you might only be able to call other VoIP users. However, with a provider like Vonage, VoIP allows you to communicate with anyone who has a telephone, whether it’s VoIP or analog. This includes:

  • Local

  • Long Distance

  • Mobile

  • International

Is VoIP Considered a Landline?

It’s important to note that VoIP and landlines are not the same thing; therefore, VoIP is not considered a landline. The term landline refers to traditional phone systems that use analog technology like copper wires and cables to transmit signals between two points.

Is VoIP as Good as a Landline?

VoIP for business and landlines have their own sets of features and qualities, making it hard to give a blanket answer to which is better. Instead, it’s useful to think about which is better for your needs. To help you decide, let’s do a little comparing and contrasting. To begin, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of internet telephony.

What Are the Main Benefits of VoIP for Business?

There are several benefits of VoIP technology. There are a few features of VoIP that, when compared to landlines, can be big difference makers for a small business. VoIP combined with Unified Communications systems offers features like:

(Check out the 50+ features offered by Vonage's VoIP and UCaaS solution.)

What Is the Main Disadvantage of Voice Calling With VoIP?

Like everything in life, VoIP alone is not perfect. For instance, one of the disadvantages of using VoIP is that it requires a strong internet connection and a constant power supply. So, in an instance where your business loses power or internet for any reason, it will directly impact your ability to answer calls. That being said, if your VoIP provider offers the ability to accept calls on a mobile device, you will still be able to work through an outage. Landlines on the other hand do not require either internet or power, meaning in the midst of a blackout, your phones might still be ringing off the hook.

Why Should a Business Use VoIP?

Aside from the feature-rich offerings of a VoIP phone system, there are several other reasons why a business might want to use VoIP instead of (or in conjunction with) a landline.

VoIP vs. Landline Installation

VoIP phone systems are relatively easy to install. They only require an internet connection and internet-enabled devices (like VoIP-enabled phones, tablets, computers, or smartphones). If you have an existing phone system in place, instead of starting from scratch, you can use VoIP adapters to enable existing equipment.

However, landlines require physical connections and therefore need cable installations. That can mean digging up dirt, running cables through office buildings, and, in general, a more physically demanding installation process. This not only requires more installation time, but can also limit the number of active phone lines in your office depending on the number of cables and junctions involved.

VoIP vs. Landline Costs

In addition to extra installation costs and hassles, typically, landlines tend to cost more than VoIP phone options. This is especially true for companies that need a phone system in more than one location, e.g., at multiple storefronts or office locations. As we briefly mentioned earlier, landlines require a physical connection to operate. This means that your company would need a physical connection at each location, leading to more installation costs as well as higher ongoing costs associated with maintenance and equipment.

For VoIP and UCaaS services like Vonage offers, maintenance is often the provider’s responsibility. Since the software that VoIP phone systems use lives in the cloud, there’s no need for your business to pay costs for on-site hardware. Additional cost savings are also possible when it comes to long-distance or international calls. This can vary on a case-by-case basis, so for specifics, it’s best to check with online phone service providers to get all the pertinent details sorted out.

VoIP vs. Landline Security

These days, VoIP phone systems offer high-level security features. For starters, VoIP calls are transmitted over the internet as opposed to being routed through a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This means a VoIP call is generally less likely to be eavesdropped on or intercepted. But beyond that, VoIP and UCaaS providers can also offer security features that landlines simply can’t match, such as:

  • Spam blocking

  • Two-factor authentication

  • Call blocking

  • Automated data backups

  • Fraud prevention

  • Constant network monitoring

  • Compliance with standards like HIPAA, GDPR, PCI, SOC 3, and more

  • End-to-end encryption

  • Live monitoring and alerts

Of course, no online network is impenetrable. But, with VoIP and additional security features, your business can feel confident in warding off unwanted listeners, hackers, or surveillance.

Is VoIP as Reliable as a Landline?

It depends, but VoIP certainly can be as reliable as a landline. Reliability includes a handful of metrics, but perhaps the most important one is “does it work when I need it to?” This notion can also be expressed as uptime — the percentage of time during which a provider is online and functioning. The gold standard for uptime is 99.999% of the time. Several factors can impact uptime and its dreaded opposite, downtime.

For VoIP systems, uptime depends on the provider, their carriers, and the reliability of their devices. It will also depend on having access to a good internet connection. Landlines, on the other hand, can experience downtime due to outages from bad weather, wire cuts, and other incidents. At Vonage, we have a history of industry-standard uptime. Additionally, you can check our status page to see if there is ever any downtime and, if so, why.

Another factor that contributes to reliability is call quality. In other words, how well and efficiently can you hear what is being said. VoIP technology enables fuller ranges of sound in every call while also helping to eliminate background noise. For many customers that switch to VoIP from a landline, the difference can be heard quite clearly.

When it comes to reliability, with a quality VoIP or UCaaS provider, VoIP can be just as reliable (if not more so) than a landline.

Is VoIP Still a Thing?

VoIP is still a thing — it’s just no longer the newest thing. Instead, that’s where UCaaS comes into play. Unified communications providers tend to offer VoIP phone service as just one of the many features in a UCaaS package, and for good reason. These days, businesses and customers communicate in more ways than ever before. Instead of just calling a phone, they send texts, host videoconferences, use emails, and more. To that end, VoIP providers like Vonage looked to create the most seamless, all-in-one, easy-to-use communication platform.

How Many Businesses Use VoIP?

Research suggests that roughly a third of small and medium-sized businesses currently use VoIP to power their communications. Plus, as more companies switch to VoIP and UCaaS platforms, they report experiencing a 20% increase in productivity, among other benefits. 

Is VoIP Worth It for a Small Business?

With a quality provider, VoIP and UCaaS offerings can be more than worth it for any business. Simply put, the best phone system is the one that best suits your needs. At Vonage, we pride ourselves on offering outstanding products and outstanding service. As a small business, your communication with customers is the lifeblood of your success. That’s why we created an easy-to-use, easy-to-implement, all-in-one unified business communications platform.

Stock photo of woman, a small business owner who is on her cell phone and typing notes into her laptop.
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