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Voice and Data On the Same Circuit or Separate? Which is Best?

Voice and Data On the Same Circuit or Separate? Which is Best?

When it comes to building your company's communications infrastructure, there are no cookie cutter answers. Your business will depend on this infrastructure to connect with its partners, suppliers, and customers, so you'll want to do everything in your power to make sure you build the right system for your business.

One key area of concern for business leaders, as they build out their communications infrastructure, is whether voice and data transmission should take place over a single integrated circuit or on two separate circuits.

Voice and Data: Shared vs. Separate Circuits

This is a perfect example of a question with no easy answers. There are a variety of pros and cons to consider for each option, and no two organizations have the same set of priorities when it comes to designing a communications network.

To make the decision that is right for your organization, it's imperative that you take the time to consider all of the factors that come into play with such a decision. This article will explain the pros and cons of each so you can have a better understanding of which might be the best fit for your business needs.

How Much Does it Cost?

Converging voice and data transmission on a single integrated circuit has emerged as the prevalent strategy across the telecom industry. Cost has a lot to do with this fact.

No one wants to pay more than necessary for their communications infrastructure. It only makes sense that most businesses choose to forgo the added costs of separate circuits, whenever possible.

The high costs of maintaining separate voice and data circuits are simple: maintaining two different circuits is always going to cost more than maintaining one. Organizations who do opt for separate voice and data circuits usually have a good reason for paying the extra costs.

The issue of cost can help demonstrate why integrated circuits are such a good choice for small businesses.

First of all, these companies obviously have smaller amounts of resources to dedicate to building their communications infrastructure. Small businesses look for opportunities to save money when they can. Also, smaller businesses mean fewer employees, which in turn means fewer phone calls and lower amounts of data usage.

Not only are small businesses not as well prepared to float the cost of separate circuits than their larger counterparts, but they also don’t need them as much. If a small business can get along just fine with a single integrated circuit, there’s no reason they should consider paying more to institute separate circuits.

Which is More Efficient?

Another important concept to consider is the fact that most businesses aren't conducting phone calls all the time. For these businesses, separate voice lines would most likely be unnecessary. The fewer calls an organization makes, a separate circuit specifically for voice makes less sense.

On the other hand, having a single integrated circuit helps maximize efficiency with dynamic switching. Every time a new call begins, bandwidth is simply diverted away from data transmission. When no call is taking place, the maximum amount of bandwidth flows directly to supporting data. As a result, no resources are wasted supporting bandwidth that isn't being used.

Once again, this fact illustrates that maintaining separate voice and data circuits is not efficient for most small businesses. These businesses can ill-afford to pay extra for a circuit that will frequently go unused.

Larger organizations, where phones are constantly in use are better candidates for separate circuits in order to more efficiently manage their bandwidth needs.

Which is More Reliable?

One reason businesses might choose to have separate circuits for voice and data is to create a feeling of added reliability. For many, the prevailing thought surrounding integrated circuits for voice and data is that they aren't as reliable as separate circuits. A single outage would affect both voice and data services at the same time.

For these organizations, the risk of losing both at the same time is simply too high.

While this idea may technically have some truth to it, it’s probably not enough on its own to justify the added costs of separate voice and data circuits. For one thing, there are a number of different engineering steps that companies can take to ensure maximum uptime of their networks. For instance, if a company goes out of their way to build redundancy and resiliency capabilities into their network, they can feel confident that the circuit will never go down, and hence, neither data nor voice will ever be lost.

If your organization wants to be as cautious as possible when it comes to ensuring communication uptime, separate circuits for voice and data might be the best fit for you. However, for most companies, building these separate circuits might be classified as overly cautious.

Which Is Best For Your Business?

While using a single integrated circuit for both voice and data has emerged as the prevalent strategy in the telecommunications industry, that doesn't mean it is the best choice for every company. Make sure to compare the pros and cons with the unique communications needs of your business, and make the decision that is right for you based on your needs and usage.

We always recommend consulting an expert before choosing between integrated or separate circuits. Feel free to reach out to Atlantech, our team of customer care professionals will be able to help simplify the decision-making process for you, and make recommendations based on your unique business needs.

Tom Collins
Post by Tom Collins
September 23, 2015
Tom is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.