What is POTS in Networking?

What is POTS in Networking?

Imagine an invention that not only changed the world but was so transformational that it took almost 100 years for a new technology to come into existence that threatened its existence.

This is what it was like in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell presented his invention, the telephone, to the world.  It wasn’t until the invention of the Internet in 1983 that there was a platform capable of competing with the powerhouse technology: VoIP.  Even then, the technology took over 20 years to become a strong contender.

POTS in Networking


How do POTS Factor into the Network?

In the networking context, POTS stands for “Plain Old Telephone Service.” It refers to the traditional analog telephone system that has been widely used for voice communication over the years.

POTS is a basic, circuit-switched telephone service that utilizes copper wires to transmit voice signals between users. It has been the standard telephone service for many decades before the advent of digital technologies and Voice over IP (VoIP).

POTS provides a dedicated, point-to-point connection between two telephone devices, allowing users to make voice calls. It operates on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), which is a global network of interconnected telephone lines and switches.

While POTS primarily handles voice calls, it can also support simple data transmission at low speeds using methods like modems. However, its data capabilities are limited compared to modern digital networks.

5 Ways POTS are Used in Businesses Today

POTS lines have been widely used in a variety of ways by businesses for many years as a reliable means of communication.   Some of the common uses include:

  1. Voice Communication: POTS lines are primarily used for voice calls within businesses. They provide a dedicated connection for making and receiving phone calls, allowing employees to communicate with clients, customers, and colleagues.
  2. Fax Machines: Many businesses still rely on fax machines for sending and receiving documents. POTS lines can be connected to fax machines to facilitate fax communication.
  3. Point of Sale (POS) Systems: POTS lines are sometimes used in businesses for credit card processing through point of sale systems. Some older POS systems may require a POTS connection for authorization and transaction processing.
  4. Alarm Systems: POTS lines are commonly used to connect alarm systems, including security and fire alarms, in businesses. These systems rely on POTS lines to communicate with monitoring centers or emergency services.
  5. Backup Communication: When other forms of communication, such as the internet or mobile networks, may be unavailable or unreliable, businesses often maintain POTS lines as a backup communication option. This ensures they have reliable communication during emergencies or network outages.

POTS in Networking

Changes are coming for POTS in Networking

With the emergence of digital communication technologies and the widespread adoption of the internet, POTS has gradually been replaced by digital systems like VoIP, which offer more advanced features, better data transmission capabilities, and cost-effective solutions for voice communication.

But with more services being pushed to VoIP, the prevalence and reliability of POTS in networking is waning.  If you rely heavily on fax machines, POS systems or alarm systems and even some voice and backup communications over POTS, it’s time to start considering your options moving forward.


POTS in Networking


Keep Reading:

What to Consider When Transitioning from POTS to VOIP


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