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Comparing the Reliability of VoIP with Modern Land Lines

Updated on December 6, 2012
Reliability of VoIP Phones
Reliability of VoIP Phones

Legacy Phone Systems

There is no doubt that some of the older phone systems in use today were built to withstand almost anything. The recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy proved that when most infrastructure goes down, copper wire land lines are still reliable. Measured up against this standard, VoIP phones can certainly seem insufficient. They depend crucially upon the power supply and if that goes down, the VoIP network fails as well. But there are two important points worth noting here.

To start off with, more and more regular land lines are being converted to fiber-optic technologies from copper wire. AT&T recently announced that it would spend approximately $14 billion to make the transition to IP-based technologies. The implications for customers is that they can no longer rely on the telephone lines being as resilient to power outages as the old ones were. It is unlikely that the telecom carriers will inform you of the change. The hardware they installed on your premises will have a backup battery for about eight hours. VoIP systems typically have the same reliability. As long as the backup systems last, you can continue to make and receive calls.

Seen from this point of view, there is little or no difference between a traditional landline system in use today compared to one using VoIP technology. Indeed, regular phones are becoming more and more like VoIP themselves as far as the supporting network goes.

911 Calls

Traditional landline systems are automatically folded into the emergency 911 calling system. You don't need to take any additional steps to get them to work. One reason for this is that regular phones and telephone numbers are tied down to a specific geographical location. So when you make a call, the operators already know where you are.

This is not true with VoIP. One of the great benefits is that it allows users to use the same telephone number and hardware from anywhere in the world. This means that making a 911 call doesn't automatically provide the operator with location details. But new standards have been implemented to deal with this problem. VoIP network operators now allow their users to input the details in case of a 911 emergency. And in any case if you're using a mobile, you have to provide your geographical location. The same is true with VoIP on smartphones.

Workarounds like this are important to smooth over the transition to newer VoIP systems. As long as customers can obtain the same experience and features at lower costs, more and more of them will be switching over to IP networks in the future. Contact a local New York VoIP PBX service provider to find out how you can get started.


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