Note:  This is the first of a two part article that examines a switch back to traditional phone service from VoIP and other user’s experiences.  Click here for Part II.

While VoIP Supply will undoubtedly sing the praises of switching to a Voice over IP telephony system we do realize that there can be hurdles when you’re trying to get the best call quality and the most reliable service.

In fact, a recurring theme that you’ll notice in our “how to” articles under our article categories like VoIP Education, VoIP Gateways, or VoIP systems is:  Be Realistic.

There’s considerably more upside to VoIP than just cost savings but at the same time we understand that the technology can be a little temperamental and as noted previously, VoIP technology will be the fastest growing U.S. industry in the next five years meaning we’ve yet to see what it can accomplish and how well it can perform.

Making the Switch From VoIP

Understanding that VoIP is great but not perfect, economical yet derserving of the time spent doing your homework first; it was interesting then to read the article “Why I’m ditching VoIP for the PSTN” which got me thinking:

“For all the good that VoIP has done for society, could there possibly be others out there switching back to traditional phone service?”

I set out to answer that question.

But first, what ungodly reasons were given to ditch the almighty VoIP?

Bucking the Trend

Reading that account on Delimter of Renai LeMay’s VoIP experience reminded me of a different sort of trend that a few coworkers and I happen to be a part of – The Reverse Commute.  The practice of city living with a daily commute to the suburbs for work.

While I didn’t understand resisting a cost-saving technology that can increase operational efficiency and flexibility I had to admit, I have good reasons for going against the grain too.

But housing/lifestyle choices can be explained in any number of ways.  Can LeMay’s anti-VoIP decision defend itself just as easily?

The Honeymoon Didn’t Last 

For LeMay, his personal leap into VoIP started off in just the manner that we would expect.  He felt “free” and unburdened by high monthly charges, analog signals, and “finicky” copper wire.  And when he set up his own business he confidently looked to VoIP again.  However, in his experience, as time went on unacceptable problems arose:

  • Long STD phone calls were prone to disconnection, complaints of an echo on the line, and strings of emailed voicemail messages would pile up when the service wouldn’t work at all.
  • Skype was barely usable when calling mobile phones and voicemail messages not delivered for days or would appear at strange times in the Skype call list.
  • No discernible technical problems found with updated hardware, computers, or internet connection led to a cancellation of the VoIP service.

Simply Put: Simplicity Desired

As LeMay put it he’s “moving forward back to the past” to a simple and functional traditional phone service that accomplishes the singular feat of connecting two distinct voices.  And while that may be all that it can do, he feels that VoIP is a myriad network adversely affected by latency, QoS, hardware and software issues and he advises that:

In the years to come, it will pay for us to remember that obscuring technical complexity in our technology systems and ensuring quality of end user experience will be key. Some times — and in fact, usually — the simplest solution is obviously the best.

Part II – VoIP Horror Stories?

Simplicity is best sometimes.  I was intrigued by LeMay’s comments and so for the next and final segment I’ll relay the real life stories of actual VoIP users I sought out to determine if switching back to an analog system was more trend than anomaly. 

Are they horrific stories to make the VoIP industry shriek and cover it’s eyes or delightful walks in the park?  Check back later this week for the conclusion.

Click here for Part II.

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