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Comparison to Traditional PBX
First off, let's briefly look at a traditional PBX, which will help us illustrate why a cloud PBX is superior. PBX stands for "private branch exchange." Basically, this means a relatively sophisticated business phone system that connects various employees together, and provides for features such as voicemail, autoattendants, conference calling, and more. You may have seen a PBX "box" before - it's a large panel, typically in a back room, with many phone lines coming in and out.
Although traditional on-site PBX systems were often powerful, they suffered from a number of distinct drawbacks, including:
- Initial capital cost: typically, a traditional PBX costs thousands to install and configure
- Ongoing costs: because changes to a PBX usually mean rewiring, only specialized technicians can service it. This means service costs each time a change is required
- Lack of flexibility: because a traditional PBX is a physical piece of equipment, it cannot be easily modified or upgraded
- Redundancy: because the PBX resides only in one location, the company's phone service is entirely dependent on it. There is no "backup system"
Cloud PBX Benefits
In comparison, a cloud PBX more than outmatches an on-site PBX for feature set. More importantly, cloud technology greatly improves upon the PBX concept, and resolves the pain points of its technological ancestor.
Here are some of the many advantages of a cloud-based PBX implementation.
- Greatly reduced initial capital outlay: there is no "box" to purchase
- Reduced ongoing costs: clients can easily self-manage a cloud PBX
- Highly flexible: thanks to cloud technology, your PBX can be reconfigured at a moment's notice
- Reliability: a cloud PBX can run on multiple separate servers, meaning there is no single point of failure
- Grows with you: you can easily add capacity to a cloud-based PBX at any time as your company grows
- Local Presence: now you can easily have phone numbers in any areas important to your business, even if your staff are physically located elsewhere
- Deployment time: thanks to its virtual nature, a cloud PBX can be up and running in as little as 24 hours
How Does VoIP work?
VoIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol allows you to take a standard analog telephone signal and turn it into a digital signal that is transmitted over the Internet. By plugging any standard telephone into a special device called an ATA (analog telephone adapter) you can use your internet connection to make telephone calls. VoIP telephone calls can also be made directly from your computer using software and a headset. The ability to be able to make and receive phone calls from a wireless "hot spot" in locations such as airports, cafes and hotels is of great benefit to people who are always on the move. VoIP is an amazing new technology that has the potential to reshape traditional telephone networks or even replace them. Many telephone carriers are now selling VoIP services such as our Hosted PBX,also called Cloud PBX. There are currently a number of different ways that you use VoIP to make and receive telephone calls:ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter)An ATA is a simple device which lets you connect any standard telephone or fax machine so it can use VoIP through your internet connection. The ATA converts the analog signal from your telephone into digital data that can be transmitted over the internet. Providers usually bundle this device with their service so that you can start making calls right away. IP PhonesIP Phones are special telephones which look and work like normal phones but connect directly to your internet connection without the use of ATA device (to convert analog signals to digital signals). An IP Phone plugs directly into your internet router and comes in both wireless and corded models. Business VoIP users generally opt for IP Phones because they have special buttons which allow calls to be transferred put on hold and have multiple lines. Computer-to-ComputerUsing software installed on your computer and a headset you can make and receive VoIP telephone calls right on your desktop or laptop. You can even place callers on hold, transfer them to another extension, or answer multiple telephone lines. Some software also allows you to host conference calls.