Choosing the Right Business Telephone Systems For Your Company

The rise of social media and the continued popularity of electronic mail have added new tools for businesses to utilize in order to achieve swift and effective communication. Still, the telephone remains a force to be reckoned with in the realm of business communications.

Which business telephone systems provide the most bang-for-your-buck and act as the greatest revenue generators for your company? Let's take a look at the two main kinds of setups.

Landline Business Telephone Systems

A public switched telephone network (PSTN), or landline system, is an analog-based phone system that remains a mainstay for a number of small businesses. Instead of relying on an Internet connection, landline systems simply utilize existing, "old-school" copper wiring that was long ago set in place by telephone companies.

The benefit of landline (PSTN) systems? Time-tested reliability. These systems have been around forever, and there is plenty of infrastructure everywhere to support companies of all sizes. Familiarity is the landline system's best friend, even in the face of more advanced systems. Since companies are well-versed in the simple, albeit limited, functionality of landline systems, many opt to continue using this copper wire-based solution. Use of PSTN systems requires no new training, which is seen as an attractive short-term cost-saving and timesaving solution for some businesses.

However, there are a number of drawbacks to using a landline system. Over time, it can be expensive to maintain private branch exchange equipment that's required to swap between all the separate phone lines within a business. On-site appointments occasionally must be made in order to troubleshoot problems with the private branch exchange system.

Additionally, PSTN systems don't offer some of the advanced functionality of VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol).

Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Business Telephone Systems

An increasingly common alternative to landline (PSTN)-based business telephone systems are Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) systems, which provide advanced features that standard landline systems cannot, or at least not without the expensive inclusion of private branch exchange equipment.

VoIP systems level the playing field and create the opportunity for small businesses to easily attain advanced telephone functions that were previously reserved only for larger entities. This is achieved through VoIP's use of standard, high-speed Internet connections that nearly all businesses everywhere already utilize to browse the Internet.

There are a number of differences between the features of landline and VoIP phone systems that trend in VoIP's favor. Aside from the features offered by a landline, VoIP boasts the built-in ability to offer call queues, conference calling, instant messaging, video messaging, unified messaging, Interactive Voice Response (IVR), send-to-email-inbox voicemail solutions, and even the ability to turn computers into virtual phones. It's important to reiterate that all these features don't require any additional investment from businesses. They come standard.

There are a couple of notable drawbacks to a VoIP setup. VoIP requires that a company utilize a high-speed, broadband Internet connection. However, such a requirement realistically is no longer an unusual stipulation in today's business and consumer technology world. Additionally though, VoIP's are also prone to going down because of their reliance on the Internet. If your business's Internet goes down, so does your phone system, unless you pay extra for a Call Continuity feature that routes your call to another number automatically upon experiencing a service outage.

Regardless of the risk for service outage, the benefits of VoIP over a traditional system are admittedly varied and extensive.

When researching business telephone systems, NJ companies can go to

History of the Telephone Number: Early Years

On March 10, 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell made his famous first telephone call, uttering, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you," to his assistant, there was no need for telephone numbers or exchanges; only two telephones existed in the world that time.

But Bell's invention quickly took off. Initially, telephones were rented to users, who hired someone else to connect them. Then, Bell and WU Company instituted a subscription service with calls being placed through an operator at a central office or switchboard. At that time, subscribers' names were used when making a call.

The first phone numbers were instituted in Lowell, Massachusetts, in late 1879 and early 1880. During a measles epidemic, the local physician, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker, an early supporter of the telephone, became concerned that the disease would befall the town's four operators, shutting down the phone service. He determined that new operators could be trained faster if they learned numbers rather than names.

Initially, phone numbers might be only one, two, or three digits, but that quickly became untenable as phone usage spread among users. Because that time it was believed that phone numbers longer than four or five digits would be too difficult to remember, phone exchanges combined letters and digits. Beginning in the 1920s, major U.S. cities, such as New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago, initially used three letters and four numbers, which eventually shifted to the 2L-5N (two letters, five numbers) system. The letters were associated with a name, such as HEmlock 5-6789 or TUlip 9-3539.

In those pre-digital days, an exchange was wired at a physical location, so exchanges were associated with a specific location within a town or city. The letters were grouped on the telephone dial, with the exception of 1 and 0 (0 being reserved to call the operator); therefore, the first two digits could never contain a 1 or a 0. Certain combinations, such as 57 and 97, were problematic, as they contained no vowels to use to make a word. In 1955, AT&T released a list of suggested exchange names based on studies showing they were the most likely to be understood when spoken.

One of the most famous telephone exchanges, PEnnsylvania 6-5000, belongs to the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Now written as (212) 736-5000, it is the oldest continuously assigned phone number in New York City, and possibly the world.

About the series: "History of the Telephone" is for those businesses and individuals who are interested in a vanity number and the benefits one may provide. A vanity number, such as the ones found at, makes it easy for potential and current clients to remember you. You can find the perfect vanity number for you in nearly every U.S. area code at

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