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What is a PBX and How Does it Work?
April 18, 2019

PBXs have been around for many decades, but what actually are they, and how do they work?

A PBX is another name for a business telephone system. PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange - the 'box on the wall' that runs your businesses communications platform.

The PBX has been around for years. Initially, a telephone system was reserved for larger companies, who required hundreds of extensions. However, as technology progressed, the PBX became a viable telephony solution for small and media businesses.

Business telephone systems enable many features that you wouldn't get with a normal 'landline'. This includes:

  • Extensions for individual phones
  • Call transferring, holding and controls
  • Call recording & call logging
  • On hold music & call queueing
  • And many more

A PBX is the number one way to get your business connected - and has been for many years. Commsplus supply both Mitel and Samsung business telephone systems, two of the most robust and comprehensively features phone systems on the market today.

How does a PBX work?

A business telephone system is the backbone of business telephony. It takes all incoming and internal calls and automatically matches them to the required lines.

A diagram showing how a PBX works
A diagram showing how a PBX works

The beauty of a PBX is that it can be configured to an almost exact specification. Most modern PBX telephone systems can handle hundreds of extensions without an issue.

With the advent of IP telephony, PBXs are becoming more and more advanced, offering businesses more and more features. IP telephony, or 'VoIP', uses internet connections to make and receive calls - cutting costs by reducing the required number of lines.

These new IP PBX systems are the future of business telephony and business telephone systems. Businesses who don't have an IP PBX may suffer when the UK switch off the ISDN network in 2025.

Should I get a PBX for my business?

Well - that depends. Ask yourself the following:

  • Does my business need 10 or more phones?
  • Does my business rely heavily on phones and telephony?
  • Is my internet connection below 32Mbps?
  • Does my business require a large feature set?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions; then a PBX or IP PBX is the way forward for your business.

A traditional PBX or IP PBX is reliable, strong and cost-effective for businesses with over 10 extensions. Whereas the alternatives, such as our hosted PBX or hosted telephone system may be a better option for smaller businesses with few extensions as they are typically more cost effective for this size of business.

If your business is looking for a feature rich telephone system - then a PBX is the way forward. While hosted telephone systems are continually improving - always adding new features - they are typically not as featured as a traditional or IP PBX solution.

What is a Hosted PBX?

A hosted PBX or hosted telephone system uses the cloud instead of a 'box on the wall' to do all the complicated telephone stuff.

Hosted telephone systems are the new boy on the block. They're an ideal solution for businesses with less than 10 extensions - providing VoIP telephony to businesses at a low monthly cost per user.

A diagram of a hosted telephone system
A diagram of a Hosted Telephone System

You can read more about the main differences and similarities between hosted and traditional telephone systems here.

A business telephone system is a great asset for any business - whether its a tradional PBX, an IP or VoIP telephone system, or a fully hosted cloud telephony solution.

Getting connected is an incredibly important part of modern business workings - and no business should suffer from poor communications infrastructure.

Give us a call on 01934 882200 or email to find out more about any of the solutions in the article, or learn how VoIP could improve your business and reduce your costs.

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