Analog telephones do not receive radio waves through the air like cellphones and other radio based communications. They receive their analog signal through physical wire or cable that is strung from one location to another. Referring to an analog phone as a ‘landline’ phone, makes perfect sense.
- Over land – The first telephone lines, and many yet today, were strung overland from pole to pole, or even tree to tree. The phone lines connect a calling location to the receiving location and transmit the voice over these lines.
- Underground – Most phone lines today are buried underground rather than being strung through the air, providing even more reason to refer to them as landlines. Placing the lines underground has protected the lines from some of the hazards they were exposed to when being strung above ground.
- Wire lines – Not only do analog phones connect one land point to another, they do require ‘lines’ to carry the signal. The first telephone lines were wires. You saw the ‘line’ stretched out over the ‘land’, therefore the term, landline.
- Fiber optic lines – In recent years, the wire phone lines began to be replaced by fiber optic cables which were generally buried underneath the ‘land’. Still, you had a ‘line’ running through the ‘land’.
- Point-to-point – Analog phone signals travel from one point on land across the phone line to another point on the land. The travel is extremely fast, but the signal is traveling through the line and across the land, nevertheless.
- No seafaring vessels – You will not find analog phones on a ship, submarine or other seafaring vessel. They need ‘lines’ to connect them. Although ships have laid phone lines across the ocean, it isn’t feasible to travel on the seas with a line stringing back to your port.
- No airplanes – Analog phones are not found in airplanes either. Although the phones found on planes may look similar, they are not analog phones. There is not a line connecting the plane to the land. They are dependent on radio waves to carry the signal to the plane.
- No moving vehicles – Trucks and cars may travel across land, but, as with the other types of transportation, it isn’t feasible to attach them to a ‘line’ or wire. What a tangled up mess we’d have on our highways if we attempted such a thing.
- No outer space connections – When a call is made to the Space Station or to the Space Shuttle, it is not made through an analog phone line. This is just a further demonstration of why ‘landline’ is a proper term for an analog phone.
- From land to land – As mentioned earlier, phone lines do cross oceans. This may not seem like a ‘land’ line is some respects, but the line is connecting two points of dry land, as well as traveling over the ocean floor.
The two words ‘land’ and ‘line’ fit perfectly well together to describe the type of communication we enjoy with our analog phones. The landline is a dying entity, but its many years of reliable service will probably keep it alive, in some form, for quite some time to come.
Taken From Landline Phone Service