PBX stands for private branch exchange. A private branch exchange is a local phone network, primarily used by businesses.
A PBX system (private branch exchange system) manages your business' calls. VoIP can make your PBX cheaper and easier to use.
Traditional PBXs use circuit switch technology to manage the local telephones inside a business. With the first PBX systems, operators had to manually switch connections, literally connecting different phone lines with one another. Now, digital equipment handles the job of forwarding and routing calls, automatically and with computer software.
What a PBX Phone System Does
The PBX manages extensions for employees and departments. An auto attendant, a feature often installed in most PBX systems, greets all callers. The auto attendant will route the call to the appropriate department or extension according to the caller's choice and the system's configuration.
Callers to a PBX will never hear a busy signal. Instead, they are directed to company voicemail or an idle phone. With some PBX providers, voicemails can be transcribed to text.
With VoIP PBX, much of the phone system is digital; phone lines are not physical phone lines, and extensions are much easier to create. You do not need a new phone line or new connection equipment for each extension. You may not even need a new phone!
Features of a PBX Phone System
Standard features of a PBX include:
- auto attendant
- direct inward dialing
- call waiting
- conference calling
- custom greeting
- find me/follow me
- music on hold
More about Hosted PBX
A hosted PBX is the cheapest option for a business phone system. It is very useful for small businesses.
With a hosted PBX, you need little to no equipment. You only need high-speed Internet and VoIP phone service.
Because the VoIP provider hosts and maintains all the equipment for a PBX system, configuration is very easy. Sometimes no configuration is necessary; you can use the hosted PBX phone system 'out of the box' or just after download.
A hosted VoIP PBX service provider typically charges its customers by each seat or by each user on the system.
More about Virtual PBX
A virtual PBX is essentially stripped-down hosted PBX. Basic features like voicemail, call forwarding, and extensions, are still included. A big missing feature is outbound calling. Basically, a Virtual PBX is a hosted PBX system designed to receive lots of inbound calls.
More about IP PBX | Digital PBX
An IP PBX is designed for larger businesses. An IP PBX, or Internet Protocol PBX, interacts with both VoIP and the PSTN. It requires on-premises hardware and networking equipment.
An IP PBX can cost thousands of dollars. The savings with an IP PBX comes with using VoIP and running your own, complete communications network. In the long run, bigger businesses will save money by maintaining an on-premises PBX.
There is also software to run such complex PBX systems, usually called a digital PBX. A digital PBX, like Asterisk, still requires the business to configure and maintain the system, but the program minimizes equipment needed for the server.
SIP Trunking for PBX
More about SIP Trunking
For businesses that already have a conventional circuit-switched PBX system, a SIP trunk can reduce costs. SIP trunking will convert the phone system to VoIP and use your existing Internet connection, creating higher efficiency for your communication.
SIP trunks are easily expandable, which is only necessary if you have many simultaneous calls.
SIP trunking comes with a monthly subscription for the VoIP service.