When people wonder about the difference between VoIP and PBX systems, they're actually comparing apples…
Businesses have become so inundated with options for communications systems that even traditional venues like Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems can be confusing. PBX systems today have switched from analog technology to digital, and provide a wide array of options for business owners to choose from.
Here are a few things you should know before choosing a PBX system for your office.
1. How They Work
A PBX system is software that connects multiple lines throughout an office. Most businesses have moved away from needing an operator, since modern PBX systems implement a computer that switches calls from one line to another. PBX systems today use digital signals, which are converted to analog using outside telephone services.
Modern PBX systems are separated into four different types.
2. The Merits of Traditional PBX
Traditional PBX systems connect through multiple phone lines and extensions using traditional landlines. They require more equipment to set up and maintain, making them more expensive to run. Each additional phone line you add as your business grows will cost additional money. These are only ideal for businesses that already have them in place, as most modern PBX systems integrate Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in their designs.
3. Integration with VoIP Technology
IP PBX systems are upgraded versions of traditional PBX systems. The integrate VoIP technology and use a business’ Internet connection to compress call data into digital packets. This means the system is not limited by the number of phone lines, but by Internet bandwidth. An IP PBX system works best for businesses preferring to have their system in-house without having to pay subscription fees. IP PBX systems are best for businesses regularly having more than a dozen employees working over the phone.
4. They Can Be Hosted By a Third Party
Hosted PBX systems run similarly to IP PBX, but a VoIP provider runs the system off-site. They work by sending calls over a network by transforming them into data packages. A system run on VoIP technology is capable of cutting costs because it combines telephone and data into one network. The PBX connects the office phones into a central server, rather than a switchboard. These are great for small businesses because all of the maintenance is handled by a third-party, and upkeep is typically less expensive than traditional PBX systems.
5. Works With Growing Businesses
Another option for businesses is to employ a virtual PBX system. A virtual system, like a hosted PBX, allows a business to have a separate company house and set up the exchange. This creates less work for your business, and also means you aren’t responsible for understanding and controlling the technical aspects of a PBX. The difference is virtual PBX systems only run internal calls through the Internet, not external. They’re cheaper than hosted PBX systems, but offer less features. The advantage of a virtual PBX system is it allows you to add as many lines as needed without extra hardware, making it suitable for growing businesses.
6. Some Come With High Upfront Costs
There are typically more upfront costs involved in installing a PBX system compared to other options on the market. On the other hand, the overall investment usually proves worthwhile when you compare the costs and time saved in the long run.
7. Reduce Telecommunication Costs
PBX systems remove the need for multiple phone lines and transfers, which reduces your overall expenses. They also allow businesses to save money by eliminating the need for a dedicated employee to answer the phone and transfer calls. Most importantly, they easily expand with the size of your company, meaning that most installation costs are a one-time fee.
Modern PBX systems provide all of the familiar telephone functions for businesses like customized greetings, dial-by-extension directories and call transfer and forwarding, but VoIP-integrated systems do it all, in most instances, for a cheaper price. It is important to take the size of your businesses, as well as how often employees will utilize the system, into account when choosing the right PBX system for you.