There are all kinds of businesses in the world, so it only makes sense that there are many different business phone systems, too. From private branch exchange (PBX) to voice over IP (VoIP) to hosted voice and beyond, each phone system has benefits and drawbacks. Some are better suited to growing businesses, while others are a better choice when budget is a concern.
Like any IT system, you’ll need to weigh each system’s specifications carefully before you commit. To make it easier, we’ve created this list of pros and cons for each system. Read on for an at-a-glance look into your phone system options — and what each one has to offer you.
PBX Landline Phone Systems
You’re no doubt familiar with this system: a landline phone service supported by a local or regional phone company. Landlines are connected using the copper wiring owned by your phone company, but to get the features of a business phone system, like multiple extensions and transferring, you’ll need to install private branch exchange (PBX) hardware at your office.
PBX phone systems, once the height of phone technology, are today being phased out in favor of multi-featured VoIP systems and other options. However, some businesses still prefer the simplicity of a landline system. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons.
- May be more reliable during emergency situations
- Can use existing landline wiring
- May be more expensive and complicated than IP or digital systems
- More difficult to add phone lines and extensions
- Must pay for long distance phone calls and other services
- No video conferencing features available
- No mobility; calls must be handled on premises through the landline
On-Premise IP Phone Systems (VoIP)
Once broadband internet became widely available, many businesses began turning to VoIP as an alternative to conventional PBX phone services. VoIP phone systems convert sound into a digital format that can be transferred over IP — in other words, via an internet connection. Data is stored on premises in a physical server that you maintain and upgrade yourself.
- Less expensive than analog landline solutions
- No need to pay for long distance calls
- Portability: team members can direct calls to mobile phones and access messaging from remote locations
- Can be combined with video conferencing and unified communications systems for more flexible communications
- Easier to add extensions as business grows
- Gives businesses more control over their data and server specifications
- Must be maintained internally
- Business bears the expense of upgrading servers when they become outdated
- Disk space and CPU limited to the size of business’s server
- No automatic backups for disaster recovery
- May experience poor quality of service or outages if internet goes down
Hosted Voice Phone Systems
Like any server, the ones used by on-premise VoIP systems can be virtualized, which has led to a completely new development in business phone systems: hosted voice. These systems move storage from an on-site server to a cloud server housed in a data center. This affords end users all the convenience and flexibility of the cloud while still giving them the benefits of an enterprise phone system.
- Scalability: it’s easy to add bandwidth and storage space when they’re needed, and to cut back when they’re not
- Much easier to add phone lines and extensions
- Mobility: employees can easily access the phone service from a mobile phone and direct incoming calls to a smartphone when they’re out of the office
- Compatible with unified communications solutions
- Server maintenance falls to the data center, not to internal team
- No need to replace servers when they become old or outdated
- Automated backups for disaster recovery
- May experience interruptions or poor signal quality if internet service provider experiences issues
Digital/IP Hybrid Phone Systems
Does a small company need all the features offered by a enterprise phone system? Probably not. Taylored’s hybrid digital option allows SMBs to enjoy all the benefits of digital IP phone connections without the expense of a fully featured enterprise phone system.
- Can purchase features a la carte to get necessary phone service
- May work over existing phone wiring
- Allows businesses to budget for features over time
- Works well for organizations that lack the network or storage capacity for a larger phone system
- Not compatible with unified communications solutions
- May miss out on some of the flexibility and mobility offered by VoIP and hosted voice systems
- Features are not available until they are added
- Data is not automatically backed up
- Quality of service depends on existing phone wiring and internet connection
Need more help deciding which business phone system is right for you? Contact our representatives now. Our team members can make recommendations and help you choose the service that works best for your needs, no matter what kind of business you run.