Business Telephone System

A Business Telephone System combines phones, a PBX, and a voicemail system to help your business use its phones efficiently. Read more about what a business telephone system is.

To give you some practical knowledge, we've included some information below on some of the highest-rated and longest-lived providers. See a more complete business VoIP comparison.​

voice over internet protocol

What is a business telephone system?

As we said earlier, a business telephone system connects the various equipment used by a business into one viable system. Business phone systems have become much easier to implement and use with the use of the computer: PBXs, phones, and voicemail systems are more easy to integrate and are much cheaper to purchase and install.

With the increasing popularity of VoIP technology, most of the equipment associated with the business telephone system has been "placed," virtually into an IP phone or an IP PBX. Most VoIP companies own the equipment to enable a low-cost business telephone system; when you use a system owned by a VoIP company, it is known as a Virtual PBX or a Hosted PBX.

Each phone system has three important parts:

  • At least one PBX
  • At least one phone handset
  • At least one voicemail account

One of the best things about a VoIP-enhanced business telephone system is that it can easily be expanded.

voice over internet protocol phones

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)

What is PBX?

The PBX is the most important (and most expensive) piece of equipment in a business telephone system. Nowadays, most PBXs are a complex computer that can be programmed to route calls in a certain way.

PBXs allow some of the more versatile VoIP features, everything from extensions to simultaneous ring to configuring an auto attendant. In most cases, you can think of that automated greeting (the auto attendant) you get when you call some business (e.g. "Hello, thank you for calling Press 1 for our speed test...") as the PBX. It's not entirely accurate to think of that way, but that auto attendant is one of the most important and most visible functions of a PBX.

Sometimes, companies will call a PBX a phone system.

Compare IP PBX providers | Compare IP PBX prices


Phones, naturally, are the other important part of a business telephone system. There are mainly two types of "business" phones used with business phone systems: IP Phones and analog phones.

IP phones connect directly to the Internet. Phones can vary in price and quality, but most offer the ability to put someone on hold, receive call waiting, connect via the PBX to the greater telephone network.

Analog phones are older phones, designed for traditional phone services. These phones can work with VoIP, too. They just need an ATA (analog telephone adapter) to convert sound from your phone to data to use on the Internet.

Some IP phones and analog telephone adapters work better than others with specific VoIP provider networks. VoIP providers tend to try to get you to use their preferred brand of phone because it means that they can easily ensure the quality of your service. If you use a different phone than they suggest, you may experience sound quality issues — or you may not. Sound quality varies from provider to provider, network to network.


Voicemail replaces the answering machine of your old phone service with a computerized system. In most cases, VoIP and phone system voicemail works similarly to the voicemail on your cell phone.

VoIP voicemail does more than just offer you the ability to record greetings for individual extensions and departments. VoIP voicemail can forward your voicemails to your email (for you to listen to them on your computer). VoIP telephone system voicemail can also transcribe that voicemail. That means you can read your voicemail. Pretty cool, huh?

Learn more about the phone system

Welcome to our resources page for your business telephone system. Follow the links in the menu for short explanations of various business VoIP. As you learn more about VoIP technology, you'll be able to choose the right product for you. You'll save money — and headaches.

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