jeudi 27 février 2014

Analog vs. Digital Phone Systems

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VoIP_News 6 days ago
Several businesses have migrated to a digital phone system over the past six years. Voice over IP (VoIP) technology has greatly advanced with higher Internet speeds becoming commonplace. Dial-up Internet connection has become an obsolete technology as many Internet service providers offer speeds that are more than adequate for installing a digital phone system on. This article explores the pros and cons of analog and digital systems and the options available for businesses to decide which solution may best benefit them.

Comparing Systems
 The analog Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is a wired network used to place landline phone calls over copper wire lines. The first phones were wired into a local exchange that was wired together with trunks. As phone networks grew, so did the demand for clear voice calls. Equipment and network configurations had to determine the growing capacity to deliver high quality of service. Network operators took on the assignment of building phone networks and services to consumers. The Bell Telephone Company was the first company to be incorporated into the PSTN.

In the 1960s, phone calls began to migrate toward digitization, and automated electronic switching replaced manual switching performed by telephone operators for every call. Digital phone systems are mainly used in business applications as home and private users most often elect to switch to mobile phones rather than using VoIP. A typical digital phone system comes with a certain number of lines, with the option of adding more as a business grows. Direct lines, extensions, key entry recognition for inbound calls, and internal paging are some of the typical features associated with a digital phone system.

Pros and Cons
Each system has its pros and cons. Digital phone systems have many advantages over analog systems, but they contain their flaws, as well. Analog systems, although outdated, can still provide critical connections in need without fail. The advantages of digital systems seem to outweigh those of analog systems, which is why many businesses are switching to digital phone systems. Below are some of the high-level advantages and disadvantages of each.

Analog advantages include:

  • Low and easy maintenance
  • Simple to use
  • Minimal setup required

    Analog disadvantages include:

    • Limited scalability without the need for a private branch exchange (PBX)
    • Bandwidth is not fully used
    • Long-distance charges are higher than digital call charges

      Digital advantages include:

      • Increased effectiveness of call transmission and routing
      • Lower monthly cost
      • Largely scalable
      • Data and video transmission capability
      • Softphones can be used instead of adding a physical phone

        Digital disadvantages include:

        • E911 services still make it difficult for emergency responders to find the physical location of a caller
        • Inherited security threats associated with the Internet
        • Power outages and Internet connections will bring down communications

          Digital phone systems have changed the world of business communications by leaps and bounds over analog systems through functionality, scalability, and cost. Digital telephony has proven itself a long-term technology, with greater enhancements constantly being released.

          The greatest disadvantage to digital phone systems is the lack of a pinpoint location with E911 calls. It can literally mean life and death in the event of a critical emergency if 911 operators are not able to pinpoint the location of the call. For this reason, businesses that choose to run a digital phone system as their main means of communication should have at least one landline connection for emergencies.

          Cost Breakdown 
           Businesses can expect to pay around $30 per month for analog phone lines and around $10 for a digital VoIP line. Typical calls are 5–10 cents more on analog lines than VoIP lines, because digital calls placed over a VoIP network use existing Internet connections. Therefore, there is no need to have a separate line to connect a digital call.

          The lower cost of digital phone systems allows small businesses to enjoy the features that once only large businesses could afford. Pricing between the two has become competitive over the past decade, and with the growing number of hosted VoIP service providers, the price of digital phone systems becomes even more affordable.

          About the Author
          AnthonyAnthony Ortega has extensive IT support and systems engineering experience in government environments. A solutions-focused professional, he has led staff; worked in network operations support, information assurance, and change management; managed project software and licenses; and provided quality assurance. He has also developed coursework for VoIP, unified communications, and cloud computing for online colleges. Anthony is working on his Ph.D. dissertation in Organizations and Management, with a specialty in IT Management. He is an analyst withStudio B.

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