Free Business Phone System Buying Help

By Sheila Shanker
Updated: July 11, 2011

Considering buying a new business phone system? This is no easy task, especially with all the options you have available in the marketplace. Phone systems may include many features, such as conferencing and even video calling. Below are some information that will help you find the best phone system for your firm.

PBX System – If your company has 40 employees or more, or if you need advanced features, a PBX system may be your best option. Using hardware and switches to route your calls, most PBX systems are programmable, flexible and small enough to sit at someone’s desk. Most  system comes with many popular features, such as auto-attendant, which helps people reach the proper extension, music on hold and conference calling. This setup usually require professional installation and maintenance.

Key System – This phone system is generally used in firms with 5 to 40 employees and includes a central control mechanism, a key system unit (KSU), which allows for calls between extensions, managing lines in use. These days, many features of the PBX system is also available in the key system, blurring differences and giving rise to the term “hybrid” system. As is the case with the PBX system, this setup requires professional intervention.

KSU-less System – You may be able to deploy this cheaper, decentralized system if your business has fewer than 10 employees. The phone equipment allows for internal communication without a central cabinet. Since this setup is not permanently wired, phones can be moved around or sold with no problems. Be sure that the phones are compatible with your current wiring, and be aware that “crosstalk” may occur with this system.

VoIP System – This relatively new option use “Voice Over Internet Protocol” (VoIP) to provide phone services to business. It’s an affordable and reliable system that uses the web and offers many features. Depending on the situation, you may need to upgrade your Internet connection and use special IP telephones. Within this option, you could have an IP PBX, which functions like a traditional PBX system. A hosted business phone system is another choice that allows for calls to be received first at a data center and then forwarded to a direct extension at a location you select.

As you review all your options, consider your existing phone system and your requirements, such as conference calls, voice mail and forwarding features. According to, most business only use 10% of the features available, so evaluate your needs and review phone systems according to your real requirements—don’t waste money on bells-and-whistles that will never be utilized.





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