Learning the Difference between Analog and Digital Phone Systems for Business


With so many options and features available, this is certainly a great time to get your new business telephone system. However, it can sometimes become quite confusing to make a decision, especially when you have to decide between an analog and digital phone system. It is important to have a basic understanding of the functional and technical differences between the two types of phones to find the right combo of capabilities and features to run your business. Here is what you need to know about the two types of phone systems.

Analog systems have been in business for decades and they are still doing just fine. They are quite reliable, offer good voice quality, and have the basic features you usually need to run your business. Some of these features include mute, hold, speed dial, and redial. Some of these phones are also able to transfer calls when you have extensions. They are inexpensive, but are quite simple too. Also, it is important to point out that since these phone use less-modular hardware, it can be quite expensive to configure, support, and upgrade such systems. A simple change of location would require a professional who would rewire a punchboard completely. This is when many people consider using digital phone systems for business.

Digital phones are quite modern; in fact, digital PBXs come with a special bus structure that allows for additional features and capabilities. You can use modular add-on boards to enjoy features like VoIP integration, music on hold, and alarm systems. Digital systems with proprietary hardware come with an IP interface on the controller. This interface allows unified message features, including fax delivery to email, voicemail delivery to email, click to dial, and even voicemail transcription to SMS. Since these systems use a combo of standard IP networking and proprietary digital hardware, they fall into a special category of phones called “hybrid PBXs”. These phones do not rely on copper wire circuits, you can easily have them changed or moved whenever you want. You can configure those changes through point-and-click software. Digital PBXs offer impressive voice quality along with a number of call forwarding options and advanced virtual auto attendants.

What it means is that though both telephone systems support proper communication, but the main difference is the shift from more hardware-oriented solutions to software-based solutions. Digital phones that offer software controlled solutions offer advanced features and come with a superior upgrade path.

It is true that both analog and digital phone systems for business have their own advantages, but you need to consider your own unique needs to make a right choice. You need to consider the type of your business first. If you are a volume-driven, transaction-based business, you will need a difference phone system as compared to what you need when you rely solely on relationships for business growth.  So, take your time and conduct your research before you select a phone system for your business.