Unsure of where your organization stands in the PSTN vs. VoIP debate? Use this feature-by-feature comparison to decide whether VoIP or PSTN services fit your organization’s needs.
The line is blurring between voice over IP, or VoIP, and the public switched telephone network, or PSTN, as the age of copper lines nears its end of life and telecommunications infrastructure becomes digital. But the PSTN vs. VoIP debate still lingers, as organizations evaluate a migration to IP-based telephony.
Making a decision on whether to move to VoIP or stay on the PSTN requires examining the technology behind the two telephony infrastructures and comparing features.
Traditional PSTN services use dedicated copper lines to deliver voice traffic and circuit switching to connect endpoints during phone calls. Today, PSTN services have become increasingly digital, as new last-mile infrastructure — such as fiber optic cables — replaces copper lines. PSTN providers, such as Verizon and AT&T, are also deploying technology, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking and primary rate interface (PRI), to deliver voice data, according to Irwin Lazar, an analyst at Nemertes Research, based in Mokena, Ill.
VoIP transmits voice traffic over an internet connection or private WAN service and eliminates the need for circuit-switched networks for phone calls. VoIP uses codecs to turn audio into data packets, transmits them across an IP network and turns the packets back into audio on the receiving end of the call. Many organizations get their VoIP services from cloud unified communications providers, such as RingCentral, 8×8 Inc. and Vonage, or from VoIP providers, such as Dialpad, Nextiva and NetFortris.