PSTN or VoIP Phone System, Which One to Choose?

Public Switched Telephone Network

The public switched telephone network, also known as PSTN, is a pool of interrelated voice-based public telephone networks. It is a traditional circuit-switched telephone network that has been in use since the late 1800.  PSTN comprises worldwide switched telephone networks operated by local, national, or international carriers. These networks are designed to offer appropriate infrastructure and services for public telecommunication. The platform uses underground copper wires to provide businesses and households with an efficient means of communication anywhere around the world. The devices or phones used by these networks are known as PSTN, Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS), landlines, or fixed-line telephones. 

How PSTN works?

As mentioned above, a PSTN is a combination of telephone networks used worldwide. It includes telephone lines, cellular networks, fiber optic cables, switching centers, satellites, and cable systems. The network allows users to place landline telephone calls. When talking about the working process of PSTN, it is vital to note that a PSTN is made up of switches at central points on a network that acts as nodes to empower communication between two points on the network. After being routed via multiple switches, a call is placed, and then voice signals start traveling over the connected phone lines. 

The PSTN phone line is generally used with traditional dial-up network modems to link a computer to the internet. 

How is PSTN different from VoIP?

In recent times, wireless technology has gained a lot of attention. This has also increased the adoption of VoIP technology. VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, also known as IP telephony, broadband telephony, or internet telephony, is a technology in which voice communication is transmitted over the internet or private wide area network (WAN). With the advent of robust internet connections in various populated areas, the use of VoIP has increased, which has reduced the usage of costly, bulky, and time-consuming POTS. VoIP has eliminated the requirement for circuit-switched networks for phone calls. It is cost-efficient and provides better flexibility, scalability, advanced features, as well as remote-friendly installation. The VoIP technology uses codecs to convert audio into data packets and transmit them across an IP network. It then converts the packets back into audio on the receiving end of the call. 

The public switched telephone network is a purpose-built network that is designed specifically for telecommunications.  Since it is not developed to support other traffic, it can perfectly handle telephony very well. Several businesses are still using their existing PSTN phones due to their reliability. However, PSTN still holds a lot of importance and is used widely in various areas, especially in rural areas that don’t have a reliable internet connection. Even during emergencies when there is no power, PSTN works efficiently.

Some of the key benefits of using PSTN for businesses include: moreover, as it is a traditional phone system, employees are experts in using these phones and know how to make and receive calls. They are also aware of utilizing some of the advanced enterprise features available on business lines. Switching to any new technology like VoIP may involve disrupting workflows, considerable investment, purchasing licenses, hardware, and other equipment. Besides, when opting for any new technology, it becomes necessary to provide proper training to the employees regarding using the new system.

  • Superior quality calls
  • Nearly 100% uptime
  • Highly private and protected connections
  • Ability to scale and support large volumes of traffic

Since VoIP is designed to work on a data network and due to this nature, it cannot match the PSTN in these areas. 

Pros of VoIP over PSTN

Quality of calls: As compared to PSTN, VoIP delivers better call quality. Though PSTN offers several advantages in telecommunication, VoIP technology has also come a long way and has become good enough for businesses to rely on. Here are some of the key advantages of choosing VoIP technology over PSTN, have a glance:

  • UCaaS: In today’s time, every business prefers streamlined communication. With analog technology, it is quite difficult to achieve a flawless communication process. However, with the help of cloud VoIP, businesses can enjoy streamlined communication. 
  • Portability: When it comes to working remotely or adopting a working from home trend, it is impossible to take PSTN desk phones everywhere since they are wired into the network. However, with VoIP, users can take their phone system anywhere. They can answer incoming calls from a softphone on any device. 
  • Scalability: Another key advantage of VoIP over PSTN is scalability. It means that businesses only have to pay for the resources that they use. They don’t have to pay any other expenses. When a business grows, they require more lines or numbers. With VoIP, it is possible to get the required lines or numbers immediately through the web dashboard. On the other hand, businesses can easily remove resources from their calling plan without paying extra for lines and numbers that are not being used.
  • Advanced features: Some advanced features that traditional phone service providers usually charge for are available for free by VoIP service providers. Moreover, PSTN doesn’t support advanced features such as automatic and real-time audio transcription, unlimited data backup for voicemail, and others. 


By and large, the trend of upgrading to VoIP is increasingly revolving worldwide. Undoubtedly, the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has its advantages, and businesses still need to upgrade their system to stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace. They require various advanced features and functionality, which might not be possible with traditional phone systems. Therefore, VoIP up-gradation has become a necessity for most businesses today. 

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