Posts Tagged ‘Key system’

How Does A Business Phone System Work? Part 1 – The PBX

March 31, 2009

A small startup business can begin operations with just a few phone lines from Ma Bell, just like they did 20 or 50 years ago. You need a voice line, a fax line, and perhaps additional lines for the limited number of employees at that stage of a young business. As the business grows, you reach a point where you shouldn’t just keep adding a line at a time. You cross a point where you aren’t a startup anymore, you are an established business with a reputation.

Along with that reputation you have to change your technology to meet the needs of your growing business. When you have several employees and a full computer network, you are retarding your growth if you continue to use cheap four line phones from the local supply store. You need more features than a startup company. You need quality in your technology. Welcome to the world of the automated PBX.

A PBX is short for “Private Branch Exchange” and is your automated operator to handle all of your phone system technology. Remember Lily Tomlin as The Operator who physically made cable connections at her switchboard when a call came in? The PBX automates that process plus does a lot more for you. Up to a few years ago, your phone system was analog and worked totally off of copper wiring. Advances in digital telephony, notably packet switching, have brought us the IP-PBX, a digital PBX which is actually now more of a computer.

An IP-PBX works with a VOIP (Voice Over IP) format so that the phone conversations are connected via the network infrastructure that you already have in place for your computers. The voice signals go through the network cables as discrete data packets instead of screechy tones you hear with a dialup modem or fax line. You don’t need the smaller phone cables you are used to seeing. With an IP-capable phone handset on your desk, you only need one cable from the walljack to your phone and then from the phone to your computer instead of two lines from the walljack. That can save an office about one-third on cabling costs with single cable drops instead of dual cable drops in a new office when they install VOIP.

Before the modern IP-PBX recently came into vogue, an intermediate step since the 1930’s was the “Key” system where you manually push a button to select your phone line to dial out or answer a call. An IP-PBX will automatically choose an available line for you. A 1960’s technology AT&T Centrex system can simulate local PBX features from their central office location but today’s IP-PBX systems hosted at your office are replacing them everywhere.

Of course, all of these technologies work equally well for the basic feature of having a phone conversation. Where they differ is what you can do with those calls and how easy it is to use those features. As you would expect, the modern IP-PBX shows the best scalability and produces the best benefits for the business owner by allowing the employees to be the most productive. Adjusted for inflation, today’s IP-PBX is less expensive than other choices past and present. Also, a service technician can frequently update and repair an IP-PBX from a remote location instead of having to make a service call the next day. Reliability of the phone system should be the number one concern of the business owner and the IP-PBX is the right choice.

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 713-777-2400.

“Productivity Through Technology”