If you have a small business, deciphering which sort of phone line will suit your operation can be a headache. Here’s a guide to business telephone lines that will take away the pain.
The analogue network is called the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) – and it is still in use. You call out using your neighbourhood telephone exchange through a network of wires made out of copper, using a telephone plugged into the wall.
Analogue lines are limited in functionality. Only one telephone number is permitted (although extensions are possible) and only basic calling features are available.
With the growth in mobile phone use, analogue telephone systems are in decline. Broadband services with no need for landlines are now popular, including with small businesses.
Digital business telephone lines
The late 1980s saw the introduction of digital telephone lines. Businesses signed up to them, attracted by the better functionality compared with analogue. Multiple channels became possible, as did Direct Dialling In (DDI), where direct numbers can be allocated to different individuals.
ISDN2 and ISDN30 telephone lines are the main two digital lines in the UK. ISDN stands for Integrated Services Digital Network, and while similar, the two provide different numbers of channels. ISDN2 offers two channels as a minimum, while ISDN30 lines supply from eight to thirty channels per connection. Multiple lines can be used, enabling over 100 channels.
However, this technology is now dated. For more background, this blog examines business telephone lines.
Internet telephone lines
Internet-based telephony choices for your business comprise SIP and VOIP.
Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is not a telephone system as such, but a protocol used to ensure that data packets are transmitted via the Internet between devices. SIP usually involves Internet telephone lines attached to a traditional onsite Private Branch Exchange (PBX).
Often, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems use SIP trunking to transfer data, but you can also call out using a remote system operated by the service provider, who may also be an international voip wholesale provider.
There are many advantages if you use telephony solutions based on the Internet. They are easier to install, more cost-effective and they have greater flexibility than digital or analogue solutions.