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3CX Live ChatCisco VoIP PBXYeastar K2Yeastar S-Series VoIP PBXShoreTel Premises IP PBXNetFortris Fonality VoiceMyOperator3CX PBX
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How does IP PBX work?

These types of internet protocol-based calls can be placed and received using the internet by converting the analog voice signals to digital. To achieve this, IP PBX uses session initiation protocol (SIP), a communications protocol that initiates, manages, and ends voice sessions and is the staple for VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone systems.

IP PBX uses a feature of SIP called trunking, which enables fast calls on multiple voice channels. It usually connects with a VoIP provider, which authenticates the SIP trunking accounts. Thus, users can reach internal or external phone lines through the SIP trunk.

What is the difference between PBX and IP PBX?

A PBX (private branch exchange) is a somewhat legacy system, developed to reduce telecommunication costs by enabling companies to handle their phone system for internal communications, leaving the trunk line for outside calls. Most functionality is done by hardware; thus it is harder and expensive to scale up.

An IP (internet protocol) PBX goes a step further, enabling companies to route calls over the internet, which reduces the costs significantly, especially in the case of expensive calls, such as long-distance. Since it works over internet protocols, IP PBX can handle voice and data. Functionality is carried through software, which makes it easily scalable.

What is a VoIP PBX system?

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Although the terms IP (internet protocol) PBX and VoIP (voice over IP) are used interchangeably, there are some differences between them. VoIP adds the external capabilities to an IP PBX (private branch exchange) The VoIP gateway connects the PBX to the network so you can place and receive calls from analog phone lines. Installing a VoIP differs in some ways from installing an IP PBX


VoIP

IP PBX

Ease of use

Easy

Difficult

Features

Voice, external calls, video conferencing, supports mobile devices, encrypts calls

Voice and external connectivity (PSTN - public switched telephone network)

Maintenance

No maintenance

Operating system updates, software updates, configuration

Reliability

Redundancy, automatic call routing

Single call path may result in function outages

Scalability

Unlimited

Limited to PBX capabilities

Remote work?

Yes - desktop and mobile.

No


Features of IP PBX Systems

The main essential features of IP PBX systems include:

  • Voice messaging: Voicemail features are not an extra feature anymore, but are now considered a must-have for your IP (internet protocol) phone system. Voice messages can be sent as an attachment to the recipient’s email, and there is also visual voicemail.
  • Conferencing: Since 2020, multi-party conferencing is an everyday activity for most companies. Therefore, it is important to look for a solution that can offer built-in support for multiple-participant conferencing.
  • VoIP integration: Solutions that are ready to integrate with VoIP (voice over IP) can offer added and necessary features like video conferencing and connections by mobile or for remote work.
  • Reporting: Most IP PBX systems come with basic reporting and analytics features. This ensures you can track call history and performance and improve communications among employees as well as with customers.

Other features offered by most IP PBX systems include:

  • Customization
  • Display
  • Blocking
  • Routing
  • On-call waiting
  • Override caller ID
  • Softphone support for iOS and Android
  • IP Phones provisioning
  • 3-way conference
  • Auto-redial
  • Whitelist
  • Call back
  • Call forward
  • Call parking
  • Call transfer
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Emergency call handling
  • Find me/follow me

Benefits of IP PBX Systems

Installing an IP Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system in your organization can have several benefits. If your company needs low-cost, reliable communications (and who doesn’t?), this may be the solution for you. Here’s a look into the main IP PBX benefits:

  1. Low communication costs: Since it is connected via the internet, IP PBX is more budget-friendly than its analog counterparts. Some vendors offer metered (with a set bandwidth) and unmetered (without a set bandwidth) trunking. (Trunking refers to the process in which the PBX system merges the data from several calls into a single packet with the goal of reducing the transmission overhead.)

  2. Easy to install and does not require a hardware overhaul.
  3. Integrates with existing hardware: If you already have a PBX, it is easy to keep hardware costs low by using the same hardware for the IP PBX. You will require using SIP (session initiation protocol) technology to transform the broadband connection into a communication. SIP initiates, manages, and ends real-time sessions, including voice calls, video conferencing, instant messaging, and media distribution.
  4. Improves productivity: IP PBX solutions enable an organization’s employees to connect seamlessly, without communications stalling or failing. This is especially useful for contact centers or similar industries, since agents can communicate quickly with each other to improve their services to clients in real time.
  5. Provides cloud-based reliability: A reliable VoIP (Voice over IP) service can have multiple data centers to ensure availability and prevent downtime. By harnessing the power of the cloud, it means if the PBX goes down, your calls can be rerouted elsewhere.

  6. More scalable than other IP phone types because it is easy to install. As IP PBX is a plug-and-play technology, it can be easily scaled up according to the organization’s requirements. It also helps to integrate new applications.

Limitations of IP PBX Systems

IP PBX may have drawbacks for some companies that are not equipped to use it. Here are some limitations to consider:

  1. Requires advanced technical skills: Managing an on-premises PBX is not for beginners. It requires experience installing and configuring Linux operating systems. But if you are a Linux fan system admin and have experience with open source software like FreePBX, you have nothing to fear.

  2. Doesn’t support remote work: This factor is a huge drawback in 2021. Even when having IP connectivity, on-site PBX phone systems struggle with supporting remote work.Common workarounds include downloading an app to your cell phone and signing in from there.

  3. Can only scale so much: IP PBX solutions scale up according to the number of users you have. If your team expands over the PBX’s capability, though, you can face the system stalling or returning busy signals.

  4. Limited features: IP PBX phone systems typically offer key features such as video conferencing, mobile device support, and instant message as extra features for an added price. This can be an issue for small businesses that cannot go over budget.