VoIP overcomes a lot of the limitations of legacy phone systems.
To understand the difference between the two it is important to understand the methods used in the past to carry voice.
In a legacy telephone system when a call is made between phones connected to that system a connection is established through a hardware module called a switch matrix; and when the call is finished this connection is removed. This method is quick and efficient and has been used for many years; however, every phone needs to be physically connected to the switch matrix, so the phone system needs to be big enough to handle all of these phones.
The other drawback is that the switch matrix has low bandwidth, which limits the type of media that can be exchanged between devices. As a result, standard legacy systems only carry voice and low quality video between the phones.
VoIP business phones have all of the features of digital desk phones used in traditional circuit switched telephone systems, but they use an IP network instead of a dedicated circuit.
As they use IP networks with high speeds and direct connections to other IP capable devices, they can incorporate many more features as well.
Traditional circuit based phone systems have provided very reliable service for many years, but the main issue with traditional telephone systems is that every phone and carrier connection requires a dedicated hardware port.
This means that all of the endpoints, from desk phones to telephone exchanges, require physical interfaces and cabling. In addition, circuit based phone systems contain dedicated custom built hardware increasing the cost to purchase, install and maintain them.
Using IP for phones gives more than just Voice over IP; it also allows other types of media to be transported between them such as Video over IP.
Video is difficult to provide through traditional voice type circuits and has low image quality, but the high bandwidth of data networks easily supports the demands of good quality video.
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