Types of Telephone System | Telecommunications Guide

4. Types of Telephone System

4.1 PBX Telephone Systems

There are many types of telephone systems available for businesses across the UK. Here, we’ve outlined what the different types are so that you can make an informed decision on which is the best telephone system for your business.

PBX or Private Branch Exchange is a private telephone system. PBX Telephone Systems have several outside lines usually analogue, ISDN or SIP Trunks which users share for making and receiving outgoing phone calls.

A PBX Telephone System connects all the phones within a company internally.

Implementing a PBX Telephone system within a company can lead to big cost savings. As the PBX shares the same ISDN system or Multi lines it means you can have a greater number of phones compared to lines needed, thus reducing costs.

As a company, traditionally, you will need to purchase and install a PBX network and operate it from within the office.
Several years ago, a PBX was powered by analogue technology. Now, PBX systems generally use digital or IP (Internet Protocol) technology.

A PBX Telephone System usually includes a telephone trunk that has multiple phone lines. These lines terminate at the PBX

There are 2 general types of PBX options today:

Enterprise PBX
Hosted PBX

4.2 Hosted PBX

As corporate environments change, so does the way we all communicate. As flexible working and working from home is becoming more popular, staff are demanding extensive features such as the ability to seamlessly transfer between the office and home.
Traditionally, these features are very costly for an on premise enterprise telephone system. These costly systems require office space as well as expensive equipment, and extensive wiring.

One of the latest technical revolutions in the telecoms market is the Hosted PBX. Hosted PBX allows small and medium-sized businesses to have a sophisticated telephone system without the expensive investment in a physical telephone base unit. With a Hosted PBX, the telephone system is hosted in the ‘Cloud’, usually by the businesses telecoms provider. Furthermore, the telephone system is operated and maintained by the telecoms service provider, so little training is required.

A Hosted PBX lets employees work from their home, a hotel or on their Mobile phone while still being connected to the same office telephone system. In turn, this means that incoming calls to the main office can be transferred through via an extension number as if the person was present in the office. Likewise, if the office is based in the UK, the person can be working anywhere in the world, making calls and presenting the main UK telephone number to the recipient of the call. This has the major advantage that international calls can be made, at the same price as a local call.

The Benefits of a Hosted PBX

  • Business Continuity – As the Telephone System is hosted in the cloud, it is not affected by interruption or downtime, as it is likely that a competent service provider has built in resilience across its platform. Disasters such as flooding to your office, wont effect the business as handsets can be relocated elsewhere.
  • Scalability – The majority of businesses over time experience continued growth. Unlike a traditional Telephone System, a hosted PBX is not limited to the number of extensions or lines it may have. Extra lines and handsets can be added without hassle or additional investment.
  • Voice quality – With a hosted telephone system, the user can experience high definition voice quality.
    Reduced International call costs – Calls can be made from anywhere in the world at the cost of a local call.
  • Call Diversions – These days, people have numerous ways to contact clients, be it personal or work mobile. With a hosted PBX all incoming calls can be easily diverted to both devices, making it less likely to miss a call.
  • Additional features – most Hosted Telephone Systems are supplied with a bundle of free to use features included. A hosted Telephone System can provide access to such features as voicemail, call diverting, call management, music on hold and instant messaging.
  • Call Recording – Call recordings can be made on outgoing as well as incoming calls to aid with training schemes and to settle customer disputes.
  • Mobile Integration – Businesses no longer have to invest in property as workers can work away from the office but still display the same office telephone number. A mobile phone can be integrated with the hosted telephone system as an extension of the telephone system.
  • Low hardware and maintenance costs – Hosted telephone systems do not require a huge capital investment, nor does it require any ongoing maintenance costs.
  • Easy User Interface – The Hosted Telephone System doesn’t require skilled engineers to make alterations or add additional lines. Staff can be trained quickly and easily on how to use the system.

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4.3 Enterprise PBX

At the forefront of continual telecom development lies VOIP. This stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, and is exactly the technical methodology behind how this telecom system operates.

An Enterprise PBX can be operated via traditional analogue lines, ISDN or a broadband circuit. Presently however, VOIP has increased in popularity in recent years and is now seen as a genuine cost-saving alternative to making phone calls on a traditional landline.

VOIP uses a broadband data line to output voice traffic using the internet instead of traffic traveling through physical phone lines.

This system operates exactly like a conventional telephone line, however there are many benefits of utilising VOIP over traditional analogue lines.

Historically, traditional telephone lines use the local telephone exchange to make calls. Voice circuits are switched in the local telephone exchange creating a connection between the caller and the recipient.

In contrast, an Enterprise PBX employs a voice connection over an internet data network. Within the data network, voice packets with caller information is transported across the data network.

In the past, VOIP was viewed as second rate to a traditional telephone line, due to its lower voice call quality. However, thanks to improved telephone systems and internet connectivity which now give priority to voice calls over data, the quality of VoIP is now arguably on the same level as a regular phone call.

Over the last decade with the emergence of increasingly faster internet connectivity, more businesses have begun to explore the major costs savings when switching from traditional telephone lines to VOIP.

With the increased interest in VOIP and the cost savings available, Telecommunications providers are offering increasingly cheap broadband and voice packages.

4.4 The Benefits of VOIP

Cost Savings – One of the key reasons businesses adopt to use VOIP over traditional telephone lines is the major cost saving that can be made when making the switch. With VOIP, businesses no longer have to worry about expensive line rental. This can be increasingly beneficial for businesses such as call centres which make a lot of calls daily as well as calling international destinations.

Portability – One of VOIPs great benefits is the ability for it to be portable. As internet connectivity becomes increasingly more accessible, VOIP handsets can be plugged in on the move, wherever an internet connection is available. In turn, this means people can work on the move, be it at home, in hotel or at the airport. With this kind of portability, VOIP can be accessed as conveniently as email.

Scalability – The majority of businesses overtime experience continued growth. Unlike a traditional Telephone System, VOIP is not limited to the number of extensions or lines it may have. Extra handsets can be plugged into an internet connection anywhere, with little to no training. This takes away the added cost of hiring a qualified telephone engineer.

Additional Features – Along with the standard telephone system features, VOIP can include a host of useful features for a business without the additional cost. Features such as Caller ID, Phone Directory, Conference Calling, Voice-to-Email and Call Recording.


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