Ultimate guide to understanding the difference between VoIP Phone systems and Traditional landlines

VoIP phone systems

You might have heard about it, but you don’t know what it is or how it would benefit your business. We created the ultimate guide to help you understand the differences between a traditional phone system and a voice over internet protocol phone system, and why your business needs it.

Let’s go straight in and take a look at why the two systems are different…

Difference between traditional landline and VoIP phone system

Traditional phone system

You may or may not realise that a traditional phone uses an analogue line (also known as PSTN) and needs to be connected to a PBX box in order for it to receive calls. A PBX box is an expensive piece of hardware that is usually hidden away in your server room – so don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before. It needs ongoing maintenance to keep it functioning effectively and can be costly to fix if it breaks.

An issue with a traditional landline being connected to a PBX box means it cannot leave its location – so, not very useful for hybrid workers.

VoIP phone system

Moving onto VoIP phone systems, let’s take a look at what VoIP stands for:





An easier way to understand why it’s different to a traditional landline is that it makes calls using the internet rather than PSTN lines.

The main difference between traditional landlines and VoIP is that traditional landlines use copper wires while VoIP uses the internet.

What makes VoIP more effective?

VoIP has a lot more to offer your business than the traditional landline and here is why:

Ethernet cable

It connects directly with an ethernet cable which can save a huge amount of cost on purchasing additional hardware, such as a PBX system.


You may have guessed it already, but a VoIP phone system only needs a connection to the internet to work, so it doesn’t have to stay in one place. If you have an internet connection, you can work from home or in the office, and make and receive calls. We know of a number of businesses that take their work phone abroad with them to allow them to work

VoIP Applications

There are two different types of phone systems, let’s take a look:


A hard phone system is when you have a literal phone on your desk, you may carry it from the office to home, but this can be a hassle to do, this is where the second phone system comes in…


A softphone is a software/app that can be added to your laptop, desktop or mobile, enabling you to use the VoIP phone system to make and receive calls.

Softphones also decrease the amount of hardware costs because you don’t need to have a physical phone and can work solely on your laptop/desktop.

You may be thinking how is it possible to make calls from my laptop? This is a great question, 10 – 15 years ago we would never have thought this would’ve been effective or maybe even possible.

VoIP enabled devices need to be connected to a VoIP service provider, this provider will then use servers to make the connection between one VoIP phone and another – these phones are connected using the cloud.

They are also compatible with making phone calls via a landline to traditional phone systems.


Why should a business use a VoIP phone system over a traditional landline?

PSTN switch off

The urgent issue for traditional landlines is the 2025 switch-off. The PSTN is a phone line network that contains copper wires connecting homes and businesses to the telephone exchange. These lines have been used for over 100 years and are how most traditional phone calls are made. You can read more about this in a previous blog we wrote – How the 2025 PSTN switch off will affect businesses


VoIP is commonly a more cost-effective solution because of what we mentioned earlier, lets recap; no additional on premises hardware is needed, you can use devices you already own eg. your laptop or mobile.


VoIP phone systems are more reliable than traditional landlines because they are in the cloud, rather than a single piece of hardware in your office.

Hybrid working

As hybrid working and working from home has become more popular the way we work has adapted, with VoIP phone systems you can stay connected no matter where you and your employees are working. The only requirement is having internet access and not using a specific phone in a single location.


Now you should have more of an understanding of what a VoIP phone system is and how it is different from a traditional landline. If you would like to discuss how VoIP phone uk will fit into your business, then contact our technical experts today on 01273 806211 or email [email protected].