The traditional landline phones are also called the Plain Old Telephone Service or the POTS lines. These are one of the most common services available in almost every household today. It is a great service that has been used for local as well as long distance services. However a VOIP review will show why many operators are now moving towards this newer technology.
Let us first start with the POTS line. This is a standard two wire connection from the central office to the customer house offering a dedicated network resource for the voice calls. The network resource is not just the cable but also time slots in various links from the caller to the called party. This was a good example of dedicated resource allocation for traffic.
Since the entire path from the calling party to the called party is reserved, the calls are very good with very few chances of call drops. This has generally made people accustomed to being able to chat for long hours without any problem. In most cases the only time one would see a problem with the telephone line would be when there is a problem in the physical cable.
The POTS lines are great for high quality calls, but all the protection and dedicated network resources come at a very high price. It is no surprise that at the turn of the century, the long distance rates were exorbitantly high. The reason for this was that over long distances several network resources had to be reserved for exclusive access to the caller which cost a lot of money.
The VOIP technology is quite revolutionary in this sense. It treats the voice packets like any other IP packets that traverse through the internet. As a result, there is no real dedicated resource being blocked for the VOIP call.
The flip side of the VOIP approach is that some packets may have to be dropped too. With no dedicated link, if there is congestion in the network, the packets would get dropped. This could affect the quality of calls as compared to POTS solution. However, with advancements in technology and increased bandwidth in the network, the probability of this has gone down drastically.
While poor reception is being tackled, the biggest advantage of VOIP is in cost savings. With shared resources, the costs also get shared. As a result, every user pays a part of the dedicated resource fee which makes these calls very economical. So in effect VoIP can give the users POTS like call quality at a fraction of the cost.
In summary, the POTS lines have been and continue to be a favorite for local calls in many places. However, with VOIP gaining ground and becoming popular, soon it could become the norm for all long distance calls too. In fact many operators are already moving towards VOIP solutions to bring down costs.