What is IP PBX?

What is a PBX?

An IP PBX is a phone system that operates over the Internet (or Internet Protocol, “IP”) as opposed to traditional analog phone lines. IP PBXs generally cost less and provide as good or better quality as traditional landlines, plus they’re typically capable of providing advanced phone system features like mobility, call routing, conferencing, and more.

Benefits of an IP PBX

Cost Savings & Reduced IT Infrastructure

An IP PBX eliminates the need for dedicated phone lines and integrates voice and data networks into one. And, because calls are sent over the Internet, they also reduce costs for local and international calls.

Flexible Deployment Options

IP PBXs can be deployed on-premise or in the Cloud, giving businesses the freedom to select the communications solution that’s right for their organization.

Advanced Features

IP PBXs are software-based phone systems. This provides more opportunity for the integration of other systems and inclusion of more capabilities, such as chat, fax, and customer relationship management (CRM) platform integration.

Improved Multi-Location Communications
Many functions, such as voice message storage, directory services, international call routing, and endpoint administration, can all be handled at a central location. This reduces the need for additional equipment and personnel at the remote or branch offices.
Easy Maintenance
Making even simple moves, adds, or changes (MACs) to phone systems based on traditional telephony technology are difficult and often require the help of a technician. IP-based phone systems can be updated by in-house staff in a matter of minutes.

There are two types of IP PBXs: On-premise and hosted/virtual.
Let’s look at each of these types of IP PBXs and how they can benefit your business or organization.

On-Premise IP PBX

An on-premise IP PBX is simply a phone system where the hardware and components that actually power the phone system are kept at the location where it is being used. This is what comes to mind first for many people when they think of a PBX.

Here are a few benefits you can expect from an on-premise IP PBX:

  • No risk of fee increases
  • Lower total cost of ownership especially as the system grows
  • Complete control and flexibility to switch solutions or mix-and-match
  • You can do what you want with your equipment
  • You will know your system’s capabilities since you are handling its deployment

Benefits of On-Premise IP PBX Systems

  • More control since the system is maintained by your business
  • Server ownership reduces expenses over time creating a lower total cost of ownership
  • Failover capabilities through SIP trunking

Cons of On-Premise IP PBX Systems

  • Software upgrades and patches require on-site IT administrator
  • Higher setup costs and capital investment

Hosted IP PBX/Virtual IP PBX

hosted IP PBX is a phone system where the actual hardware for the phone system lives (or is “hosted”) someplace off-site. Also referred to as “cloud” phone systems, the components of a hosted IP PBX are hosted in the Cloud, which is simply a server located elsewhere and accessed over the Internet.

virtual PBX is typically thought of as another name for a hosted PBX and describes a virtual version of a phone system. In other words, most of the phone system hardware lives at a data center or “cloud” center.

Benefits of Hosted PBX Systems

  • Lower setup cost
  • Software patches and upgrades are handled by the provider
  • Selecting features and adding users easily performed via an online web interface

Cons of Hosted IP PBX Systems

  • Connection and voice quality depend on the Internet connection between the on-site phones and the service provider data center
  • Loss of on-site Internet means loss of phone service (although phone calls can be routed to voicemail, cell phones, or alternative locations)

Compare hosted and on-premise deployments to determine which is right for your business

What Phones to Use with an IP PBX

While there are ways to connect analog or digital telephones to an IP PBX, it is usually not cost-effective. Many businesses choose to replace their current phones with IP phones. There are many types of IP phones available to fit the needs of individual businesses.

Sangoma IP Phones

IP Phones

IP desk phones look and work much like a traditional phone. However, they are actually small computers used for sending and receiving voice data.

IP phones typically have more features and buttons and are connected to your IP PBX via your office network.

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Desktop Softphone

A desktop softphone is an application or web-interface that runs on your computer and communicates with your IP PBX via your office network. 

Softphones are often identical to a desk phone and boost cost savings by utilizing a headset, speakers, and/or microphone. 

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Mobile Softphone

A mobile softphone is an application for your smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device that provides all the telephony functions of a desk phone. 

 Mobile softphones often use the internet connection of the device (either Wi-Fi or 4G) to communicate with your IP PBX.

Choose the Business Communication Solution that’s Right for Your Business

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Business IP PBX

Turnkey, fully-featured business communications system available on an appliance or virtualized.

Customizable PBX

Certified FreePBX platform that is commercially supported and highly configurable.

Learn basic UC terms and benefits with the free UC Cheat Sheet

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