All of the various acronyms used in the context of phone systems for business can be off-putting, and a lot like trying to navigate through alphabet soup. When simply trying to find out how a professional phone system could help your business, you are bombarded with all sorts of combinations of letters: VoIP, BELs, ISDN and more. Here we will be focusing on one particular acronym, PBX, and why it is important for you to have an understanding of what it means.
Private Branch Exchange
Firstly, PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. What does that mean? In essence, it refers to the phone server that your business uses to communicate either internally or externally. The PBX system is what allows you to switch between calls, enabled by the fact that it establishes links to other telephone networks (for instance, the public telephone network, Voice over Internet Protocol providers, and Session Initiation Protocol Trunks).
Back in the days before the invention of the internet, all phones were analog and transmission was achieved through physical wires. Now, PBX systems work digitally, and calls are connected through a computer. There are ways in which you can customise your PBX system to be best suited for your individual business, but generally you will have the office phones all linked internally, in addition to lines that can transmit calls from outside of your network and that connect directly to your PBX server provider.
There are two main types of PBX phone systems:
Traditional PBX Systems
These systems include their own physical phones, binding their users to a specific phone provider. If you want to switch providers and are using a traditional PBX system, the process will involve replacing all of the phones within your company. As you can expect, this also involves hefty costs and significant amount of time and effort. These traditional PBX systems also tend to have limits on physical handsets and outside phone lines, which can be restrictive for growing businesses.
IP (or VoIP) PBX Systems
These are the most modern version of Private Branch Exchange servers, and phone calls run over the internet. The two main advantages of IP phone systems are the flexibility that they grant you, and the fact that they are much more affordable. An IP PBX only requires a single network for all of your business’ calls and data. You can easy add handsets or change providers without any consecutive fees and processes to go through.
We will always recommend that your business opts for an IP PBX system. They are much more versatile, and being able to connect your phones to your computer and take calls over the internet can simplify and streamline your business’ communication and proceedings. In addition to this, you can enjoy the benefits of having a hosted, virtual PBX server – meaning an outside company manages it. No matter the size of your business, a PBX server can make life much easier for you, and is worth doing your research about.