Traditional vs. VoIP Audio Conferencing

dog on the phoneConferencing is a primary feature when looking for VoIP service providers. While we don’t always differentiate between traditional (TDM) audio conferencing and teleconferencing using VoIP technology, there is a distinct difference in the two that can affect functionality. Depending on what you need out of your communications service provider, the difference between the two are worth noting.

Traditional Audio Conferencing
When using traditional audio conferencing, calls are routed to the conference bridge via circuit switching. This means that calls are routed through a series of switches that are all interconnected. Once the call reaches the conference bridge, it is connected to the other callers.

VoIP Audio Conferencing
Like traditional audio conferencing, VoIP also connects calls via a conference bridge. The difference is how that conference bridge is accessed. Unlike traditional audio conferencing, VoIP uses packet switching to connect to the conference bridge. This means that it uses a server to connect multiple people to the conference bridge via phones or computers, using the Internet.

Circuit Switching vs. Packet Switching
Now we know that traditional audio conferencing uses circuit switching and VoIP uses packet switching. Circuit switching requires a dedicated channel, or circuit, for communication. And, for the duration of the call, that line or channel is kept open for communication.

Packet switching also connects calls to a conference bridge. Instead of requiring a dedicated channel or circuit and maintaining that channel throughout the call, however, data is sent in packets or batches. The line is kept open just long enough for the data or packet to be sent from one system to another system. Data is not sent via a circuit, travelling from switch to switch, but through the Internet along what it determines to be the most efficient pathway.


  • Sound Quality
  • Cost

Since traditional audio conferences use constant, established connections, call quality is often much higher. This is not to say that VoIP conferencing solutions always offer inferior sound—only that sound can vary based on Internet connection quality and speed, among other things. Some may rarely experience issues, if at all. However, it is important to note that because VoIP is Internet dependent, there can be sound delays, dropped calls, and other connectivity issues.

Now many companies are choosing VoIP rather than traditional TDM platforms. The primary reason is simple: cost. New technology makes VoIP an economically priced choice, and has helped make it a top choice among entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes.


Julia Richardson is a senior editor/researcher at Revuezzle. As a mom of 3 with a degree in Marketing, Julia loves to combine her passions- writing, researching, and people. In pursuit of these passions, she’s done a little bit of everything— From B2B sales, advertising copy, to writing, research, and the occasional celebrity interview. Her writings have been featured in multiple blogs and online publications, and she’s designed and implemented marketing plans for several Fortune 500 companies. Julia lives in Richmond, VA with her husband, kids, and her dog Phoebe.

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