How does a VoIP phone system work differently than POTS?

June 11, 2021  |  by ThinkSecure Network

The world of telephones used to be much simpler. Businesses today have so many more options when it comes to their phone systems. Within those options are VoIP and POTS.

Both of these phone systems can be beneficial to your organization.

But it’s important to understand the differences so you can choose what will work best for your employees.

Let’s explore how VoIP and POTS work and what the benefits of using one over the other may be.

What is VoIP?

First, VoIP stands for voice over internet protocol.

All voice communications occur over the internet rather than traditional telephone networks. The system uses an internet connection for flexible operations in any space. Data voice traffic can be optimized to ensure HD call quality.

VoIP has become increasingly popular with worldwide subscribers expected to hit 204.8 billion by 2020. Hosted VoIP services are relatively easy to deploy with everything configured for you when you engage with a technology partner.

Advantages of VoIP

There are several advantages to VoIP, including:

  • Integration with apps like Outlook and Salesforce
  • Advanced call analytics
  • Data recording features
  • Choose from different features depending on the department
  • Reduced costs (businesses can reduce costs of international calling by almost 90%)
  • Automation of manual processes
  • Optimize for mobile devices
  • Strategic call flow design capabilities
  • Fully redundant

What is POTS?

POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service), or PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), is just another name for traditional telephony. Telephones are connected to dedicated networks and encompass all switched telephone networks across the globe.

How POTS works

With POTS, calls pass through switches and exchanges as it moves from circuit to circuit.

Telephone numbers are the unique identifiers to connect the call. POTS must have open circuits to work properly, and those circuits must remain open so the analog signal can be sent directly to the device.

For businesses, a PBX (private branch exchange) is necessary for the phone system. A PBX is simply a switch, which removes the need for a direct line for every phone in the office. The PBX routes call internally and often offers features like voicemail.


You can think of POTS as analog, and VoIP as the digital equivalent. VoIP eliminates the need for a PBX, routing calls across the data network via a router instead. VoIP uses standard internet packet switching technology.

Because of this more simplistic architecture, along with additional benefits, many companies have chosen to switch from POTS to VoIP. One of the biggest advantages of VoIP is that you are using a digital service that allows voice communication to be integrated with other media.

As noted, this integration with apps such as your email or CRM platform can help your employees be more productive. If you have an incoming call from a client, you can digitally bundle their profile so that whoever answers the phone has the account details in front of them ready to serve the customer.

Calls made over landlines don’t have this capability. They are separated from any other type of communication. It has its own infrastructure, whereas VoIP doesn’t need its own infrastructure. It shares the same networks as other digital services. These clear advantages make VoIP an ideal phone system platform for businesses.

Further, businesses can often save when switching to VoIP versus traditional POTS. This depends on several factors, but overall most companies can expect to save.


Are you interested in learning more about VoIP? The experts at ThinkSecureNet are here to help. Contact us today with questions or if you’d like a demo of what our VoIP solutions can do for you.

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