An IP PBX, or Internet protocol public branch exchange, is a great choice for any business with multiple phone lines and extensions. A public branch exchange is the system that a business uses to transfer calls within an office, and to put inbound and outbound calls through.

Originally, a PBX was a large and complicated piece of hardware that required manual operation. Some businesses still use those old fashioned PBXs today. However, VoIP PBXs have become increasingly popular in recent years because they are much cheaper than traditional PBXs, and they are easy to maintain and store.

An IP PBX phone system is one of several different types of VoIP PBX. An IP PBX is the only kind of VoIP PBX that you host and maintain yourself in your own office. The other VoIP PBXs are hosted PBX and virtual PBX. Both of these other VoIP PBXs are hosted remotely.

IP PBX Service Provider

Getting an IP PBX phone system does not automatically mean that you have the ability to make VoIP calls. You will still need an IP PBX VoIP service provider to enable you to make VoIP calls with your IP PBX. In the chart below, you can read about several VoIP service providers that support IP PBX VoIP.

VoIP phone system

IP PBX Equipment

You can get IP PBXs as either hardware or software systems. Generally, the software IP PBX phone systems are more popular because they are cheaper and don’t take up any extra space. Kolmisoft is a good example of an IP PBX software provider.

Why an IP PBX?

An IP PBX might be a good choice for you if are trying to convert your office into a VoIP system, but you aren’t comfortable with a hosted or virtual PBX.

A hosted PBX is a VoIP PBX service that is entirely owned and operated by your VoIP service provider. This means that you can use all of the standard PBX features that you will need without having to worry about managing or maintaining a PBX system yourself. All of the hardware of the hosted PBX is maintained by your service provider, and all of the upkeep is provided by the service provider.

A virtual PBX, also known as a cloud PBX, is a VoIP PBX that exists entirely on the Internet with absolutely no hardware components. You own and operate your own PBX, but upkeep is minimal. You can access your virtual PBX from any location or device, which makes it very easy to manage your office phone system, even when you are away from the office.

Someone might prefer an IP PBX if they don't want a remotely operated PBX. With an IP PBX, you own, operate, manage, and design your PBX system entirely on your own.

Whether or not your IP PBX has a hardware component, you will probably customize and organize your IP PBX through the software component. This means that the end-user feel of an IP PBX is little different from a virtual or hosted PBX, both of which are customized through an online control panel. However, an IP PBX may have more options and customization features than a virtual or hosted PBX, which means that you can really program your IP PBX to work just the way you want it to.

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IP PBXs Are Affordable

An IP PBX is less costly than a traditional PBX

IP PBXs are much cheaper than traditional PBXs, but they are not always as cheap as hosted or virtual PBX solutions.

A traditional PBX can cost about $7500 for the original purchase of hardware and setup. After that, it will cost about $400/month for phone service. A PBX repair service costs about $75/hr, and a full-time manual PBX operator usually gets paid about $24000/year.

If you compare IP PBXs to traditional PBXs, you can see a lot of opportunities for savings. If you want a hardware IP PBX, you can get a pretty cheap one from Cisco, the Cisco IP Telephony System PBX 2 FXS SPA9000NA, for about $310. This does not include the phones or computer components, and a VoIP service. This is a pretty low cost IP PBX hardware system. More expensive ones can run as high as $4000. A software PBX like the Snom One Yellow IP PBX system can cost around $634. In addition to the hardware and software, you will also need to pay for VoIP phone service.

A full featured IP PBX with Fonality costs about $3000 for a month of service. This includes a monthly service price, and the cost of software and a server.

By contrast, service providers with hosted and virtual PBXs usually include the costs of their PBX systems in their monthly fees. For example, if you wanted to use a hosted PBX service in an office with 10 people, you could get a service with Jive that costs $239.50/month that includes VoIP and PBX service.

If you wanted a virtual PBX, you could get a plan for 10 users with Ring Central for $200/month that includes a virtual PBX and VoIP service.

Some users are concerned with security when it comes to using a virtual PBX because the virtual PBX can be accessed from any device. However, this is less of a concern with an IP PBX because it is hosted, operated, and owned by you, the business. But as with any new technology, there are always some threats to be cautious of. So here are a few things to keep in mind when you are the owner of an IP PBX:

-Install a firewall. A firewall will help control traffic on your IP PBX.

-Check call logs for unusual spikes or high traffic 

-Check security mailing lists

One thing to consider before getting an IP PBX is SIP trunking adaptability. Without some kind of PSTN connectivity, your IP PBX will only be able to provide VoIP calling within your office, and relay VoIP calls into and out of your office. The PSTN, or public switched telephone network, refers to traditional analog telephone lines. In order to accept calls from callers who don’t use VoIP, and to send calls to those users, your PBX will need to be able to interact with the PSTN.

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