What is PBX Hardware?
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) hardware creates the phone network in an office. It is the computerized equivalent of the old-school operating boards that switch incoming calls to internal lines and directs them to the appropriate department or person. PBX hardware for VoIP phone systems is called IP PBX hardware and it interfaces with the Internet instead of the telephone wires.
IP PBX hardware is much smaller and more affordable than traditional analog PBX hardware, which makes it more accessible to small and medium sized businesses. On-premise IP PBX systems offer full control over the hardware, but an on-premise IP PBX will still need an in-house IT expert to manage the system. If your business does not employ an IT person or team then a hosted PBX solution is a perfect fit for you.
A hosted PBX is a business phone system setup where the hardware is located off-site and managed by the provider. The hardware is installed in the provider's office and connected to your office over an IP connection. The phone service and PBX features will be transmitted over the IP connection to each user's phone.
Hosted PBX services are a better solution for small offices because they offer:
- Easy deployment
- Straightforward service
- Budget-friendly monthly rates
- Managed technical support and troubleshooting
Hosted PBX phone systems are deployed easily by the provider in a few quick keystrokes. VoIP service and PBX functionality can often be activated instantly for immediate use. Hosted PBX services are also fully scalable meaning you can add or remove phone lines as your business growth fluctuates.
Hosted PBX phone service plans are straightforward and simple. Monthly service is billed at a flat rate per user keeping costs predictable and includes local and long distance calling, ultra cheap international rates, and access to the PBX features. Some of the more advanced call features or faxing service may be billed separately.
Hosted PBX phone hardware is managed by the provider which means you'll have someone to turn to for troubleshooting and technical support when problems arise. The provider will keep the PBX hardware functioning smoothly and up to date.
PBX phones are a bit of a misnomer, and in most cases the term means IP desk phones. Or it could refer to the entire PBX phone setup. An IP phone (or VoIP phone) is a phone that has been optimized for VoIP service and connects directly to the Internet or router instead of the telephone lines. Business IP phones, like traditional business phones, enhance call handling with:
- Multiline capabilities
- LCD displays for caller ID, directories
- Dynamic soft keys
- Video functionality (optional)
If you have an established business phone system you can use your current business phones in a VoIP system with VoIP gateways. A gateway is basically an adapter that will convert the signals of the current phone into the digital packets that travel over the IP network. Gateways support multiple phones at once and are great for office deployment.
How Can a PBX Phone System Save Your Business Money?
A business of any size can save with a PBX phone system. PBX systems reduce telecommunications costs overall in business phone systems. Traditional PBX systems shared the phone lines between employees, and IP PBX systems save even more money by porting calls over the Internet when possible.
VoIP service, whether in a business phone system or home phone setup, generally includes free calling to the continental 48 states and Canada. The company Phone Power even covers calling to Puerto Rico. And in-network calls, meaning both in the office and to other people with the same VoIP service provider, are always free.
International rates are incredibly low and start at just a few cents a minute. If you make a lot of international calls on a monthly basis then you can sign up for an international minute package to keep it a flat, predictable rate.