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Guides & Tutorials5 min read

How to switch from the PSTN to VoIP

Future-proof your business communications by switching to VoIP in 6 easy steps.

Emily Wynne
It’s no secret that legacy telephony systems like the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) will soon be obsolete. If you haven't already made the shift to digital voice communications, now is the time. Future-proof your business communications by retiring your legacy telephony system and switching to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), the digital telephony system that’s here to stay.
Have no fear—going digital isn’t nearly as scary or complicated as you might think. Plus, 82% of companies report cost savings after switching to VoIP. In this post, we’ll walk you through making the switch in 6 simple steps and share tips on how to make the transition easier for you, your teams, and your business.

What is VoIP and why does it matter?

VoIP is the modern method of telephony communications—instead of the copper wires and circuit-switching networks associated with the PSTN, voice communications are transmitted digitally via the Internet. VoIP originated in 1995, and has steadily gained popularity over the past 25 years. It uses packet switching technology to transmit voice signals from one IP address to another over the public internet or private internet networks.
From an end-user perspective, making a call on VoIP is exactly the same as making a call on the PSTN—the caller dials a phone number and waits for their call to be answered on the other end. The difference lies in how phone numbers are used, and how the calls are connected. For a more comprehensive overview of how VoIP numbers and networks function, check out our PSTN vs. VoIP blog post.

The PSTN vs. VoIP

There are four main differentiators between VoIP and the PSTN: connectivity, affordability, features and customization, and scalability.
Connectivity The PSTN uses a dedicated network of physical infrastructure (think telephone poles, copper wires, and phones that are physically connected) and circuit switching technology. The infrastructure and hardware must be maintained by specialized technicians. VoIP, in contrast, connects to existing internet networks and uses packet-switching technology. VoIP requires little physical hardware and is simple enough that your team can set up and maintain it.
Affordability The average PSTN landline setup costs approximately $20,000—the hardware and technician costs add up quickly. VoIP setup costs can be zero, and users can save up to 50% of their communication costs over time.
Features and customization The PSTN was not designed to support features businesses need today. Caller ID, call waiting, and call forwarding may be available, but that’s the extent of your options. Plus, you often have to pay more for these features. Conversely, those same features are standard on most VoIP setups at no extra cost. VoIP providers also offer additional options like Do Not Disturb, Smart IVR (intelligent call routing), call recording, softphones (the ability to turn your computer into a telephone so you don’t need to purchase additional hardware), conference calling, voicemail-to-text or-email, and much more.
Scalability Scaling your business communications on the PSTN is cumbersome and expensive. Adding lines or extensions requires paying for separate lines and hiring a technician to install additional physical hardware. With VoIP, you can easily add extensions anywhere, on-demand.

How to switch to VoIP—6 easy steps

VoIP has clear advantages over the PSTN. With VoIP, you get cost-effective, fully featured calling and the ability to scale on demand. As an added bonus, you can use one provider for all your global communications—no more juggling multiple providers and contracts.
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of switching to VoIP, it’s time to get started.

1. Evaluate VoIP providers

First, you’ll want to research the market by engaging with potential providers. The quality of your VoIP communications depend on the quality of the provider’s network, so it’s important to choose wisely. If you’re a global company (or hoping to scale in the future), choose a provider with global reach.
Look for a provider that offers a private, multi-cloud IP network. Private networks transmit your data over the path of least latency, which reduces lag and jitter to provide you with clear, real-time voice communication. A multi-cloud network means a provider’s built-in redundancies will deliver high-quality, reliable service even if your local network goes down. These providers will also work with local regulators to navigate regulatory requirements on your behalf to ensure your business is compliant and your communications are secure.

2. Trial a few providers

After you’ve become familiar with a few potential providers, you need to find the right fit. If you’re new to VoIP technology, you’ll want a supportive provider to help with the transition. A few things to look for:
Most providers give you the option to create a free account so you can get started right away. Sign up and see for yourself which provider offers the support and tools you need to successfully switch to VoIP.

3. Port or purchase numbers

Once you’ve chosen a provider, you’ll need to arrange number porting. You can easily purchase global phone numbers through your new provider or port existing numbers with just a few clicks. These numbers will have all the functionality of traditional PSTN numbers, plus more. Providers like Telnyx offer hassle-free porting through a self-service portal, which means you stay in control, don’t have to deal with previous providers, and your U.S. numbers are ported in less than 24 hours.

4. Set up SIP connections

Next, you’ll need to set up Elastic SIP trunking. This process is simple, and you can begin making outbound calls in under 10 minutes.
  • From the left hand navigation pane of your Telnyx Mission Control account portal, click the “SIP Connections” tab, then select “add SIP connection”
  • Follow the prompts to configure your softphone, then set up an outbound voice profile
  • Select the number you previously ported or purchased, assign that number to Caller ID, and choose an AnchorSite to control your call routing
Voila—you’re ready to place a call.

5. Scale when you’re confident

VoIP is simple to set up and intuitive to use. Once your teams are comfortable with the new system, you can begin scaling with APIs and expanding your calling capabilities. For example, you might integrate Voice API features to intelligently manage call flows. Perhaps you want to add agent coaching, speech-to-text, or call recording—no problem. VoIP allows you to customize a telephony solution that meets the needs of your business.

6. Track usage

Once your VoIP system is up and running, you can track your spending and usage in real time. Some companies send monthly bills that are generated with no transparency; you’re never sure how much you owe until that bill arrives.
With Telnyx, you can track your spending and SIP usage in real time by using the reporting tools in our Mission Control portal. Our Mission Control portal includes a robust reporting center and useful tagging capabilities so you can monitor and analyze usage in real-time to improve customer experience and streamline workflows.
VoIP gives you more control over your experience, and Telnyx offers additional layers of transparency. You’ll see for yourself that switching to VoIP is an affordable, customizable, and reliable voice communications solution for your business.

Convert your PSTN telephony to VoIP today

By choosing the right communications provider, your switch from the PSTN to VoIP can be straightforward and painless. VoIP is easy to integrate and provides the high-quality, cost-effective voice communications your business needs to be competitive in today’s market.
In fact, you’ll likely benefit from faster scaling and greater international reach, plus an increased ROI. VoIP can even save your business up to 40% in monthly communication costs. So what are you waiting for?
Get started in Mission Control today by buying numbers, or reach out to a member of our sales team to learn more about our global offering.
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