VoIP vs. POTS – A Geeky BLOG Post
Sorry to get technical with this post but we must to do this subject justice. We get asked all the time “Isn’t the sound quality of a VoIP line worse than an analog line?” The short answer is no, it’s actually better. Additionally, an analog phone line is usually referred to as a POTS line. POTS stands for Plain OLD Telephone Service (emphasis on the Old part). We’ve talked about the features that are unavailable to you when you use a POTS line. Here are a few more reasons to make the switch to VoIP.
VoIP and Sound Quality
So why does VoIP provide better sound quality than POTS? Here are several reasons.
- The best possible kHz frequency that POTS can achieve is about 10kHz at 8-bit resolution which is roughly equivalent to what you get from an AM radio station. VoIP calls, on the other hand, are usually at 22kHZ at 16-bit resolution which is like the broadcast from a FM radio station. In fact, VoIP is capable of going much higher – up to 44.1hHz at 16-bit resolution which is the quality you can get with a CD (even though voice calls are mono and not stereo).
- All of the R&D dollars that giant networking companies have invested in the voice technology over the last 20 years has been poured into VoIP phone systems. There’s been no reason for them to invest in POTS since the days of Alexander Graham Bell. So, as broadband internet has become practically universal in the USA, voice transport has all gone digital. A lot of investment has gone into creating new codecs (compression methods) to make voice quality clearer all while taking up less of your Internet bandwidth.
- Finally, you should know that all calls are at some point VoIP even if you’re using a POTS line. This is because the telephone networks are all using fiber optic cable which is all digital. Your voice (if you have a POTS line) is converted at the phone company’s switch to VoIP and then transported as a digital VoIP call on their network until it reaches its destination. So, even if you thought you had an analog line, you really don’t anymore. We know this doesn’t explain a quality difference, but we like lists in threes and we thought you should know the true nature of your phone calls.
VoIP and Internet Connections
One other related question we get all the time is “Doesn’t my Internet connection impact my VoIP call quality?” The short answer is absolutely but with the widespread adoption of broadband Internet connections, these issues are becoming less and less common. There are ways to mitigate the potential problems though.
First, you should prioritize your voice traffic over all other data uses on your network. Second, your VoIP provider should be able to test your connection and give you an explanation and solution for any call quality problems. Lastly, many call quality problems are driven by Firewall settings at the edge of your network and setting your Firewall to handle VoIP traffic appropriately will likely clear up any audio issue.
If you are ready to make the switch to VoIP, give us a call and we will show you why Gabbit is the best VoIP provider for small businesses everywhere.