Private Branch Exchange or PBX refers to a switch station for telephone systems that a company or organization use to be able to communicate internally, while sharing a given number of external phone lines. There are four different types of PBX phone systems that you can implement for your business operations: traditional, IP, hosted, and virtual. Let’s discuss each.
Before the internet, most companies used a traditional PBX. This entails setting up a network of landlines to connect callers through multiple phone lines and extensions. The startup cost for a traditional PBX is comparatively higher than the other types of PBX systems because it requires a lot of equipment. If you already have a traditional PBX in place, then you can continue using it. However, if you’re planning to create a new system, it will be cheaper and require less maintenance if you choose one of the other three PBX systems on this list instead.
The IP PBX uses Voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology which cuts overall costs and provides a lot more features available to its users. Due to technology, your average phone bill can decrease up to as much as 50%. However, it still requires a lot of equipment and will therefore require a high startup cost like traditional PBX.
At the same time, it doesn’t require a monthly or yearly subscription fee unlike Hosted PBX and Virtual PBX. It is also easier to maintain and is only limited by your internet connection’s bandwidth space, unlike traditional PBX that is limited by the number of available phone lines.
Currently, most businesses use a hosted PBX. This type of phone system is operated off-site and therefore requires minimum setup. It doesn’t have a huge startup cost, unlike traditional PBX and IP PBX, but it does come with a monthly or yearly subscription fee to your VoIP provider. This covers the initial setup, your usage and the maintenance of the whole system.
Because it is subscription-based with no initial investment required, this is the best type of PBX for small businesses and startups. As your business grows, you may decide later that you want to make a few upgrades or to completely overhaul your phone system. But to start with, this will give you access to VoIP features, with none of the trouble associated with the first two phone systems.
A virtual PBX, also known as a cloud PBX, is the latest type of phone system available in the market. It is the cheapest option on this list, but it also has less features than its hosted PBX alternatives. It connects internal calls via the internet and includes calling features such as voicemail and hold music.
For businesses that make more internal calls than external calls, this is the best option for you. Its low cost and fast speed are enough to handle your calls efficiently. In addition, most virtual PBX packages come with bonus features such as a virtual private network (VPN) that protects and encrypts your internet activities.
No matter the size of your business, the type of PBX you get will depend on your needs including the service/product you provide, the number of employees and overall usage needs of phones. Hopefully, this brief overview of some of the systems available on the market has provided you with an idea of which system will work best for your business.