Phones have gone through several changes since they were first invented. Through the years, we have seen phones change from rotary to touch tone, digital, analog, and voice over IP (VoIP). Now, hybrid phones are available that combine analog and VoIP telephony solutions. The need for this type of phone may not last because VoIP continues to replace old analog phones, but they offer a solution that supports one VoIP line and a plain old telephone service (POTS) that produces what appears to be a POTS line. Let’s look at how this technology is useful in communicating in a world that still uses POTS.
How Do Hybrid Phone Systems Work?
A hybrid phone contains a component at the end points of a phone line on the public switched telephone network (PSTN) that converts two- and four-wire forms of a bidirectional audio path. The need for a hybrid comes from the nature of PSTN lines, where two directions need to be combined on a single two-wire pair. Switching and call transmission are mostly performed on four-wire circuits in a telephone network, where the two signals are separated. Hybrid phones perform the conversion on these circuits. On older PSTN systems, converting four-wire communication was necessary, so repeater amplifiers could be placed in links for long-distance calls. On modern digital phone systems, each voice direction has to be processed and transmitted independently.
Some hybrid phone products allow you to place and receive calls on an analog line or a VoIP line and switch between the two while placing the call in a call waiting queue. These products can route calls or use a find me/follow me feature to connect or route inbound VoIP calls to an analog number and inbound analog calls to a VoIP number. You can also place an analog call and route the call to a VoIP number.
Some hybrid products start out as a VoIP device that supports analog lines as an afterthought. Hybrid devices can function on private branch exchanges (PBXs) and come with support for a number of analog lines, many local analog or IP extensions, and some remote extensions. Some hybrids can connect over a LAN to yield 16 analog lines and 16 VoIP trunks, with 32 local and 40 remote extensions and a capability to max out at 64 IP extensions. This type of hybrid PBX offers the perfect solution for any small to medium-sized business using VoIP and analog phone service.
Why is a Hybrid Phone System a Smart Choice?
A hybrid phone system offers the best of both worlds. They are somewhat less expensive than traditional analog systems because the cost of IP telephony is lower than analog service. These systems also offer relief to businesses that want to continue using their existing phones. Instead of replacing every analog phone on the system, a hybrid PBX can relieve the financial burden of direct replacements with VoIP phones. These systems allow businesses to slowly replace legacy equipment over time. As phone service continues to evolve, moving away from legacy equipment is a smart move but does not have to happen over night.