In many cases, the telephone call is still the first contact between a company and a potential customer. This means that owning a reliable, state-of-the-art PBX system is a crucial and vital decision for any business. As technology has advanced, we have transitioned from analog exchanges to digital and virtual systems, which means choosing your ideal phone system solution has become increasingly difficult.
What is a PBX phone system?
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange, a private telephone network used within a company. The users of this PBX share a set of trunks through which external telephone calls can be made – these telephone calls are carried over the public switched telephone network (PSTN).
PBX phone systems used to be the preserve of large businesses, but over the years installation and running costs have come down significantly; This means that now any business can invest in an office phone system.
PBX phone system features include: welcome messages, call holding, call conferencing, automatic call distribution, an extension number directory, and archiving of call recordings. There are many more features available depending on the type of system you are investing in and if you require third-party plugins.
There are three main types of PBX phone systems
• Traditional PBX/analogue PBX
Traditional PBX or analog phone systems exist as a physical switch on your company’s premises. The overall cost of this type of PBX system may seem higher than other systems, but due to the scale and the cost charged per employee, the price actually goes down with the number of ports required.
Here a telephone booth is used, which connects all on-site telephone lines (ISDN lines), the costs are usually higher due to installation, downtime and maintenance and support. Because traditional PBX systems tend to be more complex and bespoke, a certified technician is required to troubleshoot any issues.
Many businesses prefer to work with traditional PBX phone systems with their own internal overheads. It’s typically a communications room managed by your IT team and also gives you full control of the hardware, unlike other PBX solutions. For businesses operating from a building, the PBX phone system can be just as beneficial as a virtual system.
• Hosted PBX
As telephony has evolved significantly in recent years, the problem with installing a traditional or analog PBX system is that it loses value once it’s on the wall.
Adding new functionality to PBX systems requires significant engineering at the on-premises central PBX. This can often mean that with rapid growth and urgent applications, this can be very timely and cause losses to your business. With a hosted PBX, adding new features is as easy as downloading a new plugin for your web browser.
You can still get all the benefits of a PBX, but your operator box is virtually located and maintained by the telecom provider. Hosted PBX phone systems are the best phone systems for small businesses because they don’t require an in-house IT team to manage or maintain hardware.
• VoIP/IP PBX
Also known as a VOIP (Voice over IP) system, an IP PBX system delivers voice or video over a data connection. It can also work with the traditional PSTN.
The IP-PBX converts voice into data and transmits them as packets over the network. Using data networks for voice can significantly reduce the cost of long distance and international phone calls; and significantly reduce the overhead of traditional line rentals.
An IP PBX solution is also able to switch calls between VoIP and traditional phones while still providing the same functionality as your traditional PBX phone system. It differs from a hosted or cloud-based solution because the IP PBX is owned by the company, just like a traditional PBX.
It can exist as a pure hardware or pure software solution.
The cost of a PBX phone system depends on the type of system, the features you need, and the number of extensions your business needs. To get an accurate idea of the cost of your small business, you need to contact a telecom company like Elite Telecom for a quote.