Basic phone systems do not offer businesses the flexibility they need to efficiently and effectively serve customers and employees. A PBX system offers businesses a better platform.
PBX, or a Private Branch Exchange System, is a private telephone network that offers features such as call transfer, call forwarding, call queue, auto-attendant, and voicemail. A PBX system allows businesses to split lines from external calls that come into the company in different ways. Systems offered today use digital technology that allows leveraging an existing internet connection, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
The PBX systems offer companies a way to connect multiple offices through a telephone network that does not rely on a traditional telephone company.
Three basic types of PBX systems
The initial private branch exchange functioned long before businesses began using the internet for digital capabilities. The analog system requires the installation of traditional hardware infrastructure for a telephone network in an office setting. This basic telephone network is familiar to many people, known more commonly as a landline system.
The analog PBX uses a copper wire infrastructure that ties into a public switch telephone network (PTSN). It is reliable and functional with the ability to operate regardless of internet access. The analog system is a basic telephone network with limited features to service businesses that offer capabilities similar to typical residential phone systems.
The analog PBX provides good voice quality and traditional telephone features, such as hold, mute, redial, speed dial and call transfer within an internal network. These functions may be useful to businesses seeking minimal capabilities in a small enterprise setting, but it can be difficult to upgrade the analog PBX system because of its limited functionality. The analog PBX also includes higher support and configuration costs, including the need to rely on an experienced technician to change the system configuration.
A business using some analog PBX systems can tie into digital channels with an adapter, offering capabilities such as VoIP. But this requires additional resourcing.
The most popular PBX system used by companies today is the digital system. This telephone network supports traditional analog PBX and IP telephone systems that allow businesses to expand their network into calls made over the Internet. The sound quality of digital PBX systems is superior to analog PBX quality.
Some of the expanded capabilities of digital PBX include:
- VoIP system integration
- Background music for calls on hold
- Digital answering assist
- Video calls
A digital PBX system also uses a hardware infrastructure within a business. The network includes internal office phone connections over a local network that uses a company’s existing internet service. The cost of the initial installation of a digital PBX requires a smaller investment than an analog PBX system. But the system’s capabilities and the telephone system’s call quality depend on the speed of a business’ internet service.
A more sophisticated PBX system is a cloud-based system as a service, usually outsourced to a telecommunications provider. This type of hosted telephone system actually is housed within the telecommunications provider’s facility. The contracted provider manages the IP PBX technology that is used to operate the system. This eliminates the need for companies to store and manage the telephone infrastructure, relying instead on the contractor to manage its own cloud-hosted PBX network.
The cloud-hosted PBX system allows businesses to operate a telephone network that connects to the cloud using the existing internet service. Businesses that use the cloud-hosted PBX system are not responsible for maintenance expenses or for costs to upgrade the technology.
Business workers can make telephone calls from anywhere using the cloud-hosted PBX system without external callers knowing where the worker is located. As hybrid and remote workplace environments continue to expand, this type of system has become popular as an easy way to manage telephone operations outside of a traditional office setting.
Consider PBX system options that serve your business needs
Discuss the PBX telephone system options that will best serve your business with a vendor you can trust. You can choose an option that meets your immediate needs now and consider upgrades or additions later as your needs expand.