When you are considering a home phone system, you’ll want to consider sound quality, reliability, features, data capacity and pricing characteristics. Here are the primary options included in modern home phone services:
- Voice Over Internet Protocol
- Traditional Wired Analog
- Digital Subscriber Line
Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Voice Over Internet Protocol
In 1995, the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was established to allow consumers to use the same online networks for voice transmission also. With public libraries and coffee shops offering free Internet, the migration to free VoIP only made sense.
VoIP is an emerging technology using high-speed broadband networks for communications. It uses data packets to transmit voice and data over long distances. Large files will take longer to download, thus the minimization of data packet sizes has allowed for faster transfer speeds.
The ability to customize your features is an appealing characteristic of VoIP technology. Home-based businesses can tailor their telephone numbers, call waiting and 24-hour customer support to fit their customer profile.
VoIP is also a more affordable home phone service option (after the initial purchase of the technology). The already-established World Wide Web network is free of local, state and national charges, in addition to fees and taxes that make traditional phone lines so expensive. Some plans are as low as $5.99 per month.
VoIP fits nicely into an Internet-centered telecommunications system, and can be beneficial for people who naturally spend most of their time on the Internet.
Because it is a newer technology, the homeowner would need to make a one-time investment in new software and hardware to make VoIP work properly and efficiently.
Traditional Home Phone Service
The analog system, also known as a traditional home phone service or landline service, has evolved over the course of a century. The latest advancement has been an upgrade from copper wires to fiber optic cables. Typically, the home land line system uses a voice receiver plugged into the phone jack in the wall, which is then wired to the PSTN (Public Switched Telecommunications Network), allowing for communications with the world.
Most consumers already have the analog infrastructure set up in their neighborhoods. Analog is a familiar, simplistic and convenient option. Due to its fixed location, it is easy to add an answering machine. The land line sound quality is usually the best when compared alongside other options.
A landline is one of the more reliable systems. Most PSTNs use their own backup power systems that still function during power outages. Additionally, landlines can be used for home security systems.
Most landline features are very basic, including call waiting, caller ID, and redial, to name a few. Unfortunately, landlines lack mobility and digital data options. Most users cannot operate their phones and Internet computers at the same time if they use the same line.
The wired infrastructure tends to be a more expensive option due to numerous government service fees and taxes. The average landline cost is about $49.99 per month, given that most communities are served by a telecommunications monopoly.
Digital Subscriber Line
In the 1990s, the Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), otherwise known as the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), was developed to add Internet accessibility to traditional analog phone systems. DSL customers must buy a modem to establish an Internet connection.
Unlike most landlines, DSL allows for transmission of voice and data on the same line by optimizing frequency band usage. The most common bit rates are 256 kbit/s to 100 Mbits/s.
High-speed online connectivity is the primary reason why people choose the digital subscriber line. Users can choose their desired speed and data capacity. DSL is perfect for those who want a good Internet connection.
Many local phone companies will offer bundled residential telephone service packages that include a digital subscriber line. This scalability allows users to increase their options as their needs change. The low price of about $19.99 per month is quite affordable.
The primary drawback to DSL is the "nearness" factor. The physics of digital data transmission favor those who are closest to the digital hub. Not to mention that lightning or other electrical charges might disrupt DSL service.
Wireless Home Phone Service
Cell phones (mobile devices) are very popular with all walks of life, allowing individuals to connect to anyone, anywhere. Add texting, social media, voice mail and cameras (for selfies), and this simple mobile phone just became its own robust telecommunications juggernaut.
More websites are offering a "mobile" option to allow consumers to connect to their favorite sites via their smart phones.
Because call rates are determined by location, some companies offer a service where a consumer can call a specific company to complete a call. The company then completes the connection using its own network. Thus the consumer qualifies for the company's cheaper calling rate.
Mobility is the key attraction of cell phones. With them, you can always communicate and connect to your friends and family. Plus 4G and WiFi give cell phones (and particularly smart phones) a whole new appeal.
Cell phone users can choose from prepaid or post-paid pricing options. The prepaid phone cards are ideal for teenagers or college students who are learning how to budget.
One advantage of owning a smartphone is that they are very effective in transferring data quickly. Due to the popularity of smart phones, there are many free and paid applications (apps) available online. These apps add functionality and fun to your mobile device.
The sound quality of wireless connections might be a bit suspect, given that plenty of users experience dropped calls. To boot, roaming charges might add up over time, leading to a higher monthly bill.
Furthermore, most cell phones have very limited battery power (normally less than 24 hours). This means that you could be recharging your phone more often than not, depending on how much you use it.
Despite their convenience, mobile phones are not the most reliable devices.