view raw
Select Page

Phones are a part of our daily lives, but they do so much more than just provide entertainment and communication—in emergency situations they are critical. Effective rescue deployment hinges upon the dependability of phone lines and their connection, ensuring the distressed party can remain in contact with the responders the entire time.

With plain old phone lines, also known as POTS, phasing out, companies are looking for phone systems for businesses that are both secure and utilize alternate means of communication. Two POTS replacement solutions have appeared: cellular and a cloud phone system called VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). But which phone system is best for your business? Which solution is best for two-way communication in elevator panels or blue light emergency systems? Read on to learn all you need to know about transitioning between POTS and finding the right phone solution for you.

Transiting Away From POTS

Copper wires and analog technology have been the standard method of telephone communication from 1876 to 1988, for well over a hundred years. Since 1988, new technology developed starting with the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN), followed soon after by cellular telephones and VoIP.

Despite these new advances, we have continued to use POTS because they are incredibly reliable with 99.999% connectivity. However, these infrastructures are getting increasingly old and hard to maintain. Not only are they requiring more maintenance, but they also cannot be remotely fixed, which means every repair needs a crew to be sent out which can be both time-consuming and expensive.

With more cost-effective solutions available that are easier to adapt and maintain, the Federal Communications Commission has ordered all POTS lines to be replaced in the US by August 2, 2022. While we are past the date, many companies are still in the process of transitioning and are in need of new phone systems for business.

Services that operate on POTS are:

  • Telephones
  • Fax machines
  • Police and fire call boxes
  • Fire alarms
  • Blue light boxes (seen on college campuses, subways, and bridges)
  • Elevators

POTS Replacement Solutions

So how do you approach POTS replacements? One method is to replace all technology that relies on POTS-based lines completely, however, most IT solution companies would suggest that you gradually make the transition—getting rid of all POTS technology at once, can quickly become very overwhelming and expensive. However you decide to make the transition, it’s important that you know about your options for phone systems for businesses so that you can make the best decision for your business.

What is VoIP?

VoIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is a cloud phone system that relies on internet connectivity, rather than using traditional or analog telephone lines. Compared to traditional lines, they have substantially lower costs making them a popular choice. Cloud VoIP phone system are also included in bundle package deals with many internet service providers.

What are Cellular Lines?

Similar to POTS, cellular lines utilize a circuit switch network, where dedicated lines are always open but keep out heavy traffic and prevent interferences. They rely on cellular towers and radio waves to transmit electrical signals to the receiving end.

The Difference Between VoIP and Cellular Lines

Both phone systems convert sound into signals that are transmitted to the recipient and then converted back into sound. However, the way they manage to transmit the data signals is vastly different. VoIP uses a packet-switched network, whereas cellular lines rely on a circuit-switched network.

In the circuit-switched network that cellular uses, the line remains open but is protected from extraneous traffic. VoIP, however, utilizes both public and private networks to transmit data in smaller fragmented packets just like the Internet. These surrounding traffic and diverging traffic routes can cause possible distortions and inconsistencies, not to mention potential security risks.

If the VoIP line uses non-encrypted data packages, they could be hijacked by malicious internet users. This includes being subjected to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS), which occurs when the line is deliberately overloaded with disruptive requests that jam its connection. A VoIP system can also be impacted by call tempering, which occurs when someone intentionally adds noise packets to a call or delays data packets from reaching the other person. During these attacks, VoIP may become uninterpretable, which makes them unreliable for alarm systems. Some monitoring centers may even stop receiving signals from your alarm line, leaving distressed parties vulnerable with a potentially compromised location.

Cellular phone lines, on the other hand, connect callers through a dedicated line managed by telecommunications companies who ensure that data is consistent and secure. Another advantage of cellular lines is that they do not require running electricity to work, which ensures that even during power outages, the lines will be open in case of an emergency, making cellular lines the best POTS replacement for elevator call boxes and alarms. Cellular lines even transmit alarm signals instantaneously, a vast difference from the old POTS system that took up to 30 seconds.

Finding the Right POTS Replacement Solution for You

Having reliable, instant connectivity is the most valuable and instrumental part of any telephone service and should always be your first priority when deciding on phone systems for businesses. It’s also important to consider what your company’s needs are and how you will be using your phone system. VoIP is a great system for daily communication and can replace things such as telephones and fax machines. Cellular lines are better for emergency response and safety services, so you’ll likely want to use cellular for fire alarms, elevators, intrusive alarms, and police call boxes.

If you are unsure which POTS replacement solution is right for you, contact Tie National, one of the best IT solution companies in the United States. As a nationwide IT company, we have the resources to help you will all of your IT needs from phone systems for businesses to enterprise IT solutions.

Michael R. Durante

Michael Durante spent his teenage years into his early 20s climbing the ladder in a branch of a successful banking firm, starting as a teller and ending as a Sr. Branch Manager within 6 years. In 2003, he left the banking world to join his father and create TIE National, a telecom company 60 years in the making. Together, they grew the company from a two-man operation solely working on telephones to a multi-million dollar international business with employees in over a dozen states, covering everything from phone systems to cloud products and computer systems. You can find Michael on LinkedIn.