VoIP Phone Systems, in general
A VoIP phone system connects all the phones in a business or a residence to the public phone network.
Phone systems allow businesses and home owners to use fewer external phone numbers and external phone lines. Using fewer phone lines and phone numbers is much cheaper for the owner of the phone system – you don't have to pay for as many lines!
When VoIP became popular, phone systems underwent a second revolution. With old-fashioned phone systems, there was a special box called a Private Branch Exchange. In order for the phone system to work, you had to plug every phone into the PBX box. You also had to plug in all the external phone lines into these boxes. PBX boxes were very expensive, too.
With VoIP – and improve computers – VoIP providers could offer digital and hosted VoIP phone systems. This is known as Hosted PBX Instead of need a box into which you needed to plug every phone line, VoIP providers connect phones virtually and using the Internet, creating a VoIP phone system.
Phone systems and private branch exchanges saved businesses a lot of money, but the hardware was very expensive. Heck, even phone lines were very expensive!
With hosted PBX and VOIP phone systems, anyone can have a VoIP phone system. Anyone can have a number of phones on one system and still pay less for calling costs.
Different types of VoIP phone systems
There are three different types of phone systems, two of which are very similar:
If you follow the links, you can read our specialized article about each Voice over IP phone system. However, we'll summarize how each system works and what each type of Voice over IP phone system can do for you
Hosted PBX VoIP Phone System
Hosted PBX is the most common type of VoIP phone system.
Hosted PBX is a computerized PBX – a private branch exchange that is based in a computer. A PBX is operated by a VoIP service provider in a data center. It allows users of Hosted PBX phone systems to have separate extensions, multiple phone numbers, and voicemail, managed by the VoIP provider.
Hosted PBX is very useful for small to medium-sized business who want to have their own phone system and save money. This kind of VoIP phone system includes an auto attendant, which means that your callers will never get a busy signal.
Usually, hosted PBX providers charge their customers per user per month for unlimited local and long distance calls. Hosted PBX providers also offer a lot value-added features to improve business productivity and efficiency (you can figure out what those features are in our voip features glossary). Usually, these features are included within the price of the VoIP phone system.
Because hosted PBX charges uses per month per user (by the way, all the VoIP providers listed below are hosted PBX providers), VoIP phone systems can get quite expensive for larger businesses and systems.
Virtual PBX VoIP phone system
Virtual PBX is sometimes a synonym for hosted PBX. However, Virtual PBX can also mean a phone system that only performs call forwarding.
Virtual PBX is a useful VoIP phone system for companies with a large, traveling sales staff. With a Virtual PBX VoIP phone system, traveling staff can always call the home office for free. They can also easily receive calls to their office on the road.
IP PBX Business VoIP Phone System
An IP PBX business phone system is a VoIP phone system that is based around a physical PBX box.
It works more like an old-fashioned phone system and uses SIP trunking to provide phone service. It has to be maintained by an employee or a technician.
However, an IP PBX phone system can still save money for a business with a lot of employees that need to use the phones. This is because once you can cover the equipment cost, the cost to supply service to the system is much lower than that of a hosted PBX VoIP phone system. This is because SIP trunking service is supplied on a 'per line' basis – you basically pay for the ability to use a certain amount of virtual phone lines (since you are using VoIP and not actual phone lines).