Internet Protocol (IP), Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems are invaluable for modern telephony processes. Unlike traditional PBX’s, an IP PBX connects directly to a computer port which allows telecommunication (including voice and video) over IP data networks, that convert the particular media into data packets, which are then liberally distributed to destinations of choice over the network. IP PBX’s primarily operated as software on a computer and enable a competent information technology department to install and maintain its functionality with the use of specific software.
An IP PBX server is akin to a proxy server in that its users, via the means of software-based Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phones or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones, register with the IP PBX, which then establishes connection through a directory of VoIP or SIP users. Accordingly, users typically employ some variation of soft or hardware based SIP or VoIP phones, although additional configurations of IP PBX software allows for interoperation with traditional Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN). Optimal operation of IP PBX systems requires software to create, install, and manipulate recordings and prompts within the system, to detect and appropriately configure telephony hardware, to provide basic packaged applications such as voicemail, interactive voice response, conference calling and automatic call distribution, as well as to provide automatic system updates and tutorials for application development.
Depending on what sort of circuit switching protocols are required for an enterprise’s particular needs, IT departments must install software modules for each specific protocol. More importantly, IT specialists must utilize software to compose a dial plan for responses to calls presented over voice path channels for VoIP or analogue telephony devices. Dial plans are created for the functionality of each particular application, and are used to construct the actual IP PBX and its customized features. Additionally, user interfaces are utilized via web interfaces to enable administrators to view and manipulate specifications of an IP PBX. These interfaces allow IT departments to configure their servers to utilize whatever applications a specific company requires.
Most of the software required for the above functions is packaged together and offered by a variety of vendors, although individual purchases may be required depending on a company’s specific needs and telecommunication goals. The benefits of utilizing an IP PBX system, however—including its immense flexibility, scalability, ability to eliminate long distance (since calls are made over the internet) and relative ease of integration with present and future business applications—typically make it well worth it.
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