VoIP PBX phone system

By Neil Zawacki
Updated: March 07, 2011

Offices who decide to switch to a physical implementation of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) have generally experienced two main problems: it can be somewhat expensive to completely rewire the office building, and the company loses the ability to make calls through the normal phone network.

The VoIP PBX phone system is a special type of hybrid that manages to work around these issues. It combines classic phone services with the ability to make calls over the internet, and provides simpler multi-site administration and a unified corporate appearance. It also uses a consolidated infrastructure that allows businesses to keep their existing telephone lines and data network.

This type of hybrid system operates through a central control module that determines the best possible method to route each phone call. If a person is dialing a local number or government services, a standard phone line is normally used. If they are making a long distance phone call or trying to contact someone in the same office, the control module directs the phone call across the internet.

This last function is one of the main reasons that hybrid phone systems have become so common in the business world. International phone calls, which previously cost a substantial amount of money to make, can now be performed at a significantly lower cost. It is no longer prohibitive to contact businesses and potential customers who might be located halfway across the world.

The primary markets for hybrid phone systems have thus been small to mid-sized businesses. They are often sold as an upgrade or replacement to the existing phone system, particularly when the company cannot afford to purchase a standard PBX and does not wish to go with a hosted service. All of the hybrid systems, including the PBX's, have VoIP functionality built into their design.

Hybrid phone systems also tend to have a large number of special features available that can be useful for offices. They can provide a business with caller identification, conference calls, voicemail transcription, call forwarding, and phone number portability. These features have traditionally been quite expensive to adopt with standard phone systems and potentially out of reach for small businesses.

A VoIP PBX phone system can also be installed in multiple stages. You can start out by getting the main phone system for the office, and then add videoconferencing at a later date, and voicemail transcription at some point after that. This means you don’t have to purchase everything at once and decide what special features your company might need in a year or two’s time.

It is important to keep in mind that any phone calls made over the internet are dependent on bandwidth to run smoothly. If your office does not have a sufficient amount of data flow available, the phone call may break up or experience occasional echoes. It is thus recommended to have a dedicated broadband connection in place in order to make sure that the VoIP PBX system is working as intended.

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