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What is PSTN and what is its relationship to VoIP?

PSTN or public switched telephone network is the traditional way of communicating over the telephone line. VoIP is the new technology used to communicate over the Internet, similarly to the PSTN or traditional telephone service.

PSTN is a circuit switched communication technology where VoIP is a packet switched technology. PSTN calls use their own dedicated lane on the communication highway, and the VoIP calls share a lane of sorts with other traffic.

For a clear understanding of the differences in the traditional PSTN analog phone service and the VoIP or digital phone service it is a good idea to understand where each of these services have come from and what they have evolved to.

The basics of the PSTN are that when a person picks up their phone to make a phone call, they dial in a number. This number then through a series of circuit switches connects to the receiving end of the call.

In the 1870s, two inventors designed devices that would transmit voice through electronics. The telephone was a direct result of the attempt to improve the telegraph machine.

From that beginning, the telephone or PSTN system has grown from the basic circuit switching and direct lines with limited use, to worldwide communication, clarity and additional features. These features are long distance, international calls, call forwarding, caller ID, three way calling and much more.

In 1955, there was an idea to use computers to computers to communicate. This idea has grown and in the 1990s, a full growth in the process of using the Internet to communicate occurred.

The simple process of what started out as a person using one computer to talk to another person on another computer grew dramatically through out the world. The first steps had its limitations that of both parties needing a computer, Internet connection and the same software. In addition, both parties had to have the software running at the same time.

This use of the Internet to communicate also had many cons. The call quality was less, the calls were lost, and there were limitations to what a caller could do.

Now, however with the current technology, these calls can be made through a regular phone, using a broadband Internet connection and you do not need a computer what so ever. These calls are clear, convenient and reliable. Some say more reliable than the traditional PSTN phone systems.

In comparison with the two-telephone communication, systems the most noticeable difference it the cost. Traditional PSTN phone companies typically charge for long distance, international calls, and additional services, like call waiting, call forwarding, three way calling, caller ID, voice mail and more.

With the VoIP or voice over Internet protocol services, these services are often free or cost significantly less. This is due to using an existing line you already have open for the Internet.

Roughly, the cost for VoIP over the traditional telephone is around 40% of the original cost. Here are some comparisons to keep in mind.

Traditional telephone pricing range around $55.00 per month plus an additional charge of around $18.00 for additional services. This is a total of about $73.00 per month. The cost of the VoIP service is roughly $25.00 per month and that includes the additional service.

Traditional phone systems charge for long distance, and international calls. With VoIP communication systems, there is often no charge for long distance and a minimal charge for international calls.

Both of these communication services are great. They have their benefits and qualities. However, many find the cost effectiveness of the VoIP communication service is much better for those that make many long distance phone calls. The overall savings appears to be a great benefit. This is more appealing, especially now that the VoIP services are more reliable and more available in the growing areas around the world.

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