Since the invention of the telephone, landlines have been the only option for home based telephone service, until VoIP (voice over internet protocol) appeared on the scene in recent decades. Now more and more, American households are canceling their landline services in favor of VoIP or simply switching to cell phone use only. VoIP connects callers via the internet instead of using physical landlines. It has its fair share of disadvantages but it does have enough positives to make many people switch.
The first and probably most appealing factor to consider is the cost. A typical landline phone bill can cost around $30 per month which takes a $360 bite out of your annual budget. While VoIP services tend to vary from service to service, they are normally significantly less expensive. VoIP service plans often come with unlimited free calling in the US and free international calls up to a certain amount of minutes. Unless you don't already have high speed internet, switching is cost effective.
VoIP typically has all of the features that a typical landline would have like caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, three way calling and many others. VoIP services also can allow users to send and receive calls directly from a computer, tablet or other compatible devices. Some services even have portable devices that come with service. There is also plenty of flexibility when it comes to your phone number. Some services allow you to keep your existing number, keep your number if you move and choose your own area code. These all come with basic service but advanced plans may come with even more features.
A landline connected by physical wires is hard to beat when it comes to sound quality. Since VoIP transfers data over the internet, sound quality is more vulnerable to interference, echoes or interruptions. However, top VoIP providers have good sound quality but can't be considered 100% reliable when compared to a landline
Again, VoIP is not as reliable as a landline when it comes to dependability. Because landlines aren't on the same electrical grids as the rest of the electronics in your house that rely on wall outlets, they can operate even when the power is out. Your internet connection, and VoIP service, is contingent on your power being on. Also, if you experience disruptions in internet connectivity for any other reasons, VoIP will be affected.
You might be thinking that the calls and information in your VoIP service are less secure because you are transferring data over the internet. While it is true that anything you broadcast over the internet is exposed to a certain level of risk, any phone call is in danger of being tampered with. Wiretapping is a threat to landlines just as VoIP is threatened by digital dangers. Wiretapping may be a bit more difficult than hacking because eavesdroppers need to tamper with physical wires. However, VoIP services have strong encryptions to prevent hacking. Although not foolproof, these encryptions severely limit your online risks.
Though both landlines and VoIP have their pros and cons, you may find that you would like to make the switch. If VoIP appeals to you, the next step is to decide which provider to choose. The right service can make the difference between a bad purchase and a worthwhile value.