Choosing the Right Phone System for your Business

As more and more businesses realize the advantages of delivering voice-related services over the Internet, they need to understand the available options for VoIP procurement and deployment. Ultimately, businesses have three PBX options for connecting their phones to the public switched telephone network:

  • Standalone IP PBX, which involves buying all the equipment and software and managing the system without support.
  • Managed IP PBX, where the business acquires the equipment but hires an outside firm to manage it for them.
  • Hosted IP PBX, where the business hires a provider to host and manage the system. More than half of businesses will opt for a provider to at least manage their VoIP system. 

Standalone IP PBX

Cost is a key driver in any phone system purchase. Businesses can acquire or lease an IP PBX from a PBX vendor, and acquire voice and Internet services from a separate vendor. Procuring the equipment and service separately enables the company to shop for the lowest price, but businesses should anticipate ongoing costs, such as maintenance fees and software updates. When deciding on an acquired IP PBX installation, businesses must ensure that their network is VoIP-ready, and choose vendors who can train them.

Managed IP PBX

With a Managed IP PBX provider, a business leases equipment for a monthly fee. The customer pays a monthly fee for an onsite PBX and handsets from a service provider rather than the standard purchase. Voice and Internet services may or may not be bundled in. These providers may make more sense for large, single location businesses.

Hosted IP PBX services

Hosted systems empower small and mid-sized businesses to augment their staff with the expertise of the service provider, and get the benefits of the technology and the service provider’s expertise without having to purchase and maintain the infrastructure.

With a Hosted IP PBX service, the provider includes the service and the physical systems for one price. Businesses have one provider to deal with, and less equipment on site. In addition, there are uptime benefits. In standalone and managed IP PBX scenarios, if a line goes down, employees can’t make calls or even get voice mail. However, with hosted IP telephony, they can. Other advantages to hosted IP services also include predictable monthly hardware and service fees, capital avoidance, limited local hardware and points of failure, and fewer demands on already taxed IT staff.

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