A VoIP PBX system is usually a hosted telephony system that operates like a traditional telephone exchange (PTX). Rather than being solely responsible for hardware, software, routing, maintenance, and so on…a hosted PBX system can be shared by multiple users. For this reason, a number of VoIP providers have been popping up all over the country. With many of these companies offering an array of features and options, it can be difficult to know who offers what.
One of the first questions you might be asking is “What is a VoIP PBX system? “, which is a very good question. There are two types of solutions: free cloud and paid hosted voip solution. If you’re not sure what your needs are or how to determine what fits them best, here’s a quick rundown of the two main types of providers and their offerings to small and mid-size businesses.
Free Cloud-SIP Provider A free cloud-based business phone system allows you to connect from your computer at any location and make calls within the area covered by your primary internet connection. This type of system has several advantages over on-premised solutions. Unlike an on-premise system, a free service does not require you to purchase any hardware and does not require you to install any additional equipment. A hosted voip solution can save businesses thousands of dollars annually in long distance charges.
Paid Hosted Services On-premise PBX systems typically come with some or all of the equipment needed to implement a hosted services solution, including telephones, voicemail, extension sets, etc., and a network connection. Many companies choose this solution because it allows them to leverage their existing network for call processing, call routing, call forwarding, auto attendant, and call conferencing features. With a hosted services solution, you have access to the features of a cell phone service, like auto attendant, but the cost of those features is eliminated. These services may be used for domestic or international calls and include all the features that are offered by a typical voip PBX system, with the added ability to make calls from a laptop, tablet, computer, smart phone, or other device.
So, what are the features that a company should look for in a phone system and in particular a voip PBX? The key takeaway is that you don’t have to be an IT professional to understand how to set up a phone system. It’s really quite straightforward. When you pick out a VoIP PBX system, you’ll need to choose one based upon usage. If your company has several locations, there are specific lines that get used for different regions. Similarly, if your company has local customers and/or agents, you’ll want a specific line to get them connected.
Many of the first VoIP phones were not really voice over IP systems, they were business phone systems that supported three way calling. Today, most telecommunication carriers offer some form of voice over IP feature to small businesses along with their normal landline and cordless phone service. A good voice over IP PBX will also have the capability to make calls to mobile devices, although typically these devices must be of the same size as the device the PBX is plugged into. This is not a problem for small businesses that have wireless Internet and mobile devices, but if your callers will be coming over a slow Internet connection, the voice over IP capabilities won’t be as helpful. One of the great benefits of a virtual phone service is that you can have a small business phone number (which is the front number for your business) that can be forwarded to any number in the world where your virtual phone number is accepted.
VoIP PBX systems also typically include auto attendants that can take calls in an automated fashion and route them to appropriate departments or employees. These attendants will often have pre-set extension numbers that are forwarded to employees based on their name, address, phone type, etc. You can set up or designate different extensions for different departments, depending on where they are located within your company. For example, you may have a human resource department with phone numbers that are extension numbers for them throughout the company, while sales people would have their own extension numbers with the extensions they assign to each individual sales person.
Finally, a hosted voip solution is an affordable option that provides many of the services and features of a VoIP PBX system without the cost of installing and maintaining one. Hosted telephony services come with advanced features and the ability to integrate with business phone systems, voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting, conferencing, call transfer, web based email integration and more. You’ll also find great features such as call recording, caller ID, fax to email, call waiting, music on hold, speed dials, Voicemail to email, and auto attendant assistance. These types of service are available at a reasonable price and usually provide all of the functionality that small businesses need to effectively manage their business communications. You’ll find great savings when you use a hosted voip solution instead of an individual solution for your small business.