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What are the types of PBX systems?

A private branch exchange (PBX) provides a phone system for businesses to achieve day-to-day voice communication needs. The PBX system features include extensions, intercom, conference calls, assigning customers to wait for assistance, and background music. There are essentially three types of PBX systems including digital, on-site Internet Protocol (IP) and virtual systems.

Digital PBX Systems

A digital PBX system has expandable features and can accommodate both a traditional analogue PBX system and IP phones. It is upgradable to include background music for customers on hold, and integration with VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol or IP telephony) systems. The standard functions of these systems are extensions and transfers, digital answering assistants, voicemail, and call-forwarding. 

On-Site IP PBX Systems 

On-site IP PBX systems, also referred to as VoIP PBX systems, are the most commonly-used type of PBX systems. On-site IP phone systems utilise a business’s internal network and provide greater call stability, better sound quality, and the more advanced applications of a PBX system like voicemail to email, mobility integration and video calling.

What is Virtual PBX?

Virtual PBX, known as a Cloud PBX or Hosted PBX, is a virtual phone system that provides secure and reliable business phone system through the Internet. The term ‘Virtual PBX’ is a product name and ‘Hosted PBX’ is the product category name. A virtual PBX system provides IP-based telephony features, applications, and calling services in the cloud. Techopedia describes a Cloud (or Hosted) PBX as “a telephone exchange system built, delivered and managed by a third-party service provider.” Compared to a traditional phone system, a Virtual PBX phone system is different because it is hosted in the cloud instead of being on-site.  A Cloud-based phone system is hosted offsite over the Internet and requires no additional equipment.

Virtual or Cloud PBX systems has the following features:

  • Call Recording
  • Virtual Attendant (IVR)
  • Call Groups
  • Voicemail Transcription
  • Reporting and Analytics
  • Online User-Interface
  • Call Queues
  • Live Call Monitoring
  • Call Whisper
  • Call Barge

·  Automated Call Distribution

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Who should use Virtual PBX?

A Virtual PBX phone system is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses needing 2-30 phone lines. Because it is easy to set up, affordable, and offer notable business-grade features, it is particularly useful for business start-ups or expanding businesses. Cloud PBX is ideal for businesses that value a lower overall cost and flexibility.

How does Virtual PBX work?

Virtual PBX phone systems are managed and operated entirely online. Phone lines in the same network can be operated from different sites anywhere in the world and calls can be routed to different locations or mobiles. As technology advances, maintaining low costs is easier because Cloud PBX provides the flexibility and scalability businesses need.

A Virtual PBX phone system allows businesses to make calls over the Internet using IP communications rather than old-fashioned phone lines. Instead of plugging a phone handset into a wall socket, it is plugged directly into a VoIP enabled modem. So, what is needed is broadband Internet access, a router and compatible handsets. The Virtual PBX system is hosted through the server of a VoIP provider and billed monthly in one invoice. Software is automatically updated and the PBX is maintained by the service provider. 

Benefits of virtual/cloud PBX

As mentioned previously, Virtual PBX phone systems are flexible and portable permitting individuals to receive calls from almost anywhere in the world. With no on-site hardware to maintain, it offers very competitive call rates. Also, software updates are all managed by an external service provider.

Cloud-based phone systems offer benefits such as multi-office networking, and advanced disaster recover. Other significant advantages include:

Scalability: As businesses develop and grow, a Cloud PBX allows businesses to have a phone system that will scale with them.

Lower Cost: Since virtual/cloud PBX is operated and managed by cloud-based technology, the high costs of in-house installations and regular maintenance are avoided.

Flexibility: No hardware updates are necessary and the latest phone system features are acquired with a virtual/cloud PBX system. Businesses can add or remove users instantaneously and get integrate existing phone hardware with the Cloud PBX.

Extended Presence: Due to the mobility of virtual/cloud technology, virtual offices can be created and managed thus, providing opportunities to have a local, national, or even global presence. This is due to the fluidity of virtual PBX’s preconfigured, plug-and-play handsets and that a business is not restricted to an office.

It is essential that companies do research on Cloud PBX providers to ensure that their reputation and security are acceptable, since Cloud PBX systems may be less secure than onsite PBX systems. If your business has a slow or unreliable Internet connection, the quality of making and receiving calls with a Cloud PBX may be compromised.  

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