Tech Education: What Is A PBX Phone System?

PBX Phone System

The image of a traditional PBX phone system may make you uncomfortable because systems in the past were either tied into a particular type of hardware or an individual vendor. While that may make you want to shy away from the enhanced functionality that you receive with a PBX system, today’s telephone switching is radically different than in the past. There are many flexible options for implementing your PBX (Private Branch Exchange) system, including virtual solutions as well as on-premise hosting. Learn more about PBX phone systems and see why they may be the right choice for your business.

Using Technology to Reduce Restrictions

Creating an extensible telecommunications system is crucial, as businesses communicate in more varied ways than ever before. Simply connecting two individuals via phone could include a complex dance of rerouting calls to a mobile phone, translating audio voice mails to text and routing faxes to an email address. With the new Open-Standards-based IP PBX, Internet Protocol is the underlying transport technology that is used to deliver telephone calls. This less restrictive option for communications delivery provides enhanced functionality for your investment.

PBX Features and Functionality

There are a wide variety of PBX phones, with the traditional analog PBX phone system managing calls by connecting over copper wiring — with the hardware generally living inside the telecom closet of your office. Analog PBX systems connect to POTS, or Plain Old Telephone Systems, lines that pre-date the internet. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) or on-premise PBX systems utilize broadband internet to replace the copper lines, allowing these systems to deliver high-definition telephone calls and video. This provides the ability to provide sophisticated PBX features, including:

  • Call queuing
  • Application integration
  • Flexible business hour rules
  • A unified communication system with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software
  • Automatic Call Distribution queues that can evenly distribute calls throughout a department
  • Call transfers between extensions
  • Detailed records of incoming and outgoing calls

These advanced functions make it simpler for businesses to provide the flexibility that workers need to be productive regardless of their physical location.

Should You Choose On-Premise or Virtual Hosting for Your PBX?

Virtual hosting is an increasingly popular option for businesses that are interested in purchasing a PBX system. Also known as hosted VoIP, this internet phone system provides all of the call routing and management as well as the advanced features that you would expect from a PBX system. Instead of the upfront cost associated with purchasing a PBX system for on-premises use, you’ll pay a service provider a monthly fee to manage all of the hosting for your business. Per-minute charges may apply and there may be additional costs for extending the system with integrations or advanced functionality.

With on-premise PBX, businesses find that this option is more similar to a traditional PBX system. Your business buys the hardware and physically hosts the machines in a server room or phone closet. The key difference between an on-premise VoIP PBX is that it will leverage the internet connectivity for your office. You will still need a provider to handle the gateway for calling, but your ongoing monthly cost will likely be lower than a virtually hosted instance after you’ve covered the costs of expenses.

Determining which option is right for your business requires finding a strong partner with a deep understanding of the technology, who is willing to listen to the needs of your business and make a solid recommendation. The true benefit of investing in a PBX phone system is that you are providing your business with the telecommunications flexibility and the extensible system that will serve your needs both now and in the future.

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