PBX System

All You Need to Know About PBX Systems

What are PBX systems and how do they work?

PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a private telephone network used by organisations to communicate internally and externally through channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analogue. PBX features include free transfer calls between users, voicemail, call recording, interactive voice menus (IVRs) and call queues through more phones than physical phone lines (PTSN).

Companies that use traditional PBXs may have their own branded phones and normally re-use these phones with a different system. There are two types of systems: system-lock-in when companies are bound to the same system because changing it means also changing phones, and vendor-lock-in when companies are bound to the same vendor because the phones are only usable with systems from the same vendor, sometimes only within a particular range of systems.

The consumer telephony landscape has been impacted by advances in technology such as the Open-Standards-based IP PBX, meaning that phone calls are carried by Internet Protocol as the essential communications transfer technology. VoIP uses computer networks and other devices to ‘mimic’ traditional phones and phone lines for a familiar telephone end-user experience. As with a traditional line, a VoIP link consists of a service provider and an end-user who owns a telephone instrument. However, in this case, the provider is based in the ‘cloud’.

Integration with VoIP Technology

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), or IP telephony, is a method and group of technologies for voice communications and multimedia exchanges over Internet Protocol networks. Internet calls are voice data sent in packets using IP rather than traditional circuit transmissions. There are several Internet telephony applications available. Some are bundled with popular Web browsers and others are stand-alone products. An advantage of VoIP is that telephone calls over the Internet are more affordable since they do not incur additional charges beyond what the user is paying for Internet access, similar to users not paying for sending individual emails over the Internet.

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The business use of IP PBX

Business VoIP is growing in use worldwide. Some modern businesses have upgraded their PBX systems to VoIP already. In some circumstances, legacy phone lines such a public switch telephone (PSTN) or a ‘plain old telephone’ (POTS) network, whether wired or cellular, are no longer available and VoIP is the only choice.

The advantages of IP PBX include potential savings and greater scalability of systems. While the technology has countless advantages, it also has its share of disadvantages. One disadvantage is that it requires a reliable Internet connection with high bandwidth availability. Fibre optics can address this need. Accessibility is another advantage because distance or location makes no difference to a VoIP system as long as you have an Internet connection, communication is possible.

Unlike a PBX, a VoIP network is very flexible and you are limited only by bandwidth so thousands of connections are possible. With a private, internal phone network, you are limited to how many phones can be added to the system by the number of lines available within the system. If you have a reliable internet connection with good bandwidth, then voice quality will be equal or better than that of a traditional phone connection. VoIP also has the advantage of allowing you, your staff, and your clients to host video conversations, access and exchange data files while the conversation is ongoing. This allows for more integrated and flexible meetings that can seamlessly include people from multiple office locations throughout the world. You can also send data like documents and pictures while you are engaging in conversation.

How intensive are your setup/customisation needs?

The initial setup and ongoing costs are generally less for operating a VoIP system than a more traditional phone system. VoIP works off your Internet connection, there is no need for a traditional phone line. This means that you only need to deal with one account for both Internet connections and phones.

Switching to VoIP requires that businesses must have hardware for running off SIP (Session Initiation Protocol ) which is the way by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications for customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX). Although traditional lines are more familiar, VoIP has greater scalability of systems which will allow you to grow into a phone network system in ways that a traditional PBX cannot.

Reduction of costs

Calls from PC to PC over the Internet are free whilst PC to landline calls usually have a cost attached but the rates are significantly less than with a traditional phone line. Traditional phone services have a selection of extra features for which you usually pay more. VoIP comes with a wide selection of extra features like call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, three-way calling and more.

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