If you have ever called a company and had to dial numbers to select menu options, you have used a PBX phone system. Reading this post, you will be capable of understanding the different PBX systems.

Not so long ago, calls passed through public PBXs, where operators manually routed them to the appropriate receivers. In the mid-twentieth century, demand grew and multiple lines were installed to handle the increasing number of phone calls. Companies began to use different lines for each department. However, the main problem was that they had to pay a high cost per call and line, including calls made between departments. As these costs grew, the need to find an alternative increased.

This triggered a business telephone revolution that will continue developing throughout the 21st century with the digital revolution. But don’t panic, understanding every type of PBX is possible.

 

What is an IP PBX system?

 

Before the existence of the Internet, all phone calls passed through the phone company’s network, which required an analog phone for each extension. Later, in the early 1990s, calls began to be routed through the Internet data network. This is known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

VoIP works as follows:

  • Analogue phone calls are converted into digital signals.
  • The digital signals are translated into Internet Protocol (IP) packets.
  • The IP packets are converted back into phone signals and received by a phone at the other end.

This new system was presented as a revolution for companies, although it meant a strong investment for them. Companies had to replace their equipment and software with others at a high cost. However, despite the expense, the IP PBX system was an advantageous option for most businesses, as the cost was less than the cost of a traditional PBX system and it provided certain features that made it a valuable investment for companies of all sizes.

 

The evolution of VoIP technology: WebRTC

 

As the Internet developed, new possibilities emerged. Instead of restricting calls to IP PBX equipment, VoIP systems allowed communication between computers, smartphones and traditional landlines. This is when WebRTC technology emerged. This new system, developed by Google, is hosted in the cloud and works with peer-to-peer communications, that is, it transfers voice, video or messaging data between browsers. Adapted applications have been developed for its use on mobile phones.

WebRTC communication offers multiple communication channels and infinite possibilities: videoconferencing, data sharing, instant messaging, etc. In addition, it is accessible from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet-connected device at hand.

WebRTC technology also allows companies to integrate their communication with other applications, for example, with various CRM systems. Understanding every PBX system is possible if you read the following lines.

 

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Pros and cons of the traditional PBX, IP PBX and WebRTC PBX

 

Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, which make them more suitable for certain types of business. Understanding every type of PBX will help you with your decision:

Traditional PBX

Pros of the traditional PBX system:

  • Reliability: Traditional PBX systems still work over the phone lines, which can protect communications from Internet failures. 
  • Convenience: As PBX systems have been around for so long, many companies already have the equipment they need. For companies that do not have access to the Internet, a traditional PBX system is the best option. But…which company doesn’t work with the Internet today?

 

Cons of the traditional PBX system:

  • Lack of availability: Although traditional PBX systems still exist, digital technology has almost completely replaced analog technology. Unless a company already has a traditional PBX system, it is practically impossible to find a supplier of this type of PBX today. In fact, big telephony companies are eliminating their analog copper lines in businesses.
  • Numerous limitations: Traditional PBX systems have a limit on phone numbers and lines, and any additional ones can be quite expensive. In addition, calls can only be made and answered through specific devices, rather than allowing flexible calling options.

 

IP PBX

Pros of the IP PBX system:

  • Usability: IP PBX systems require less technical knowledge for their use and maintenance. Companies will not need dedicated IT departments or sophisticated training to use and upgrade their systems.
  • Cost: Traditional PBX systems usually have high monthly subscription charges. IP PBX systems can reduce monthly costs, even if there is a high number of users, as support, upgrades and maintenance are not too expensive. 

 

Cons of the IP PBX system:

  • Limited options: An IP PBX system is hosted “onsite”. While this gives the company more control, it also limits the resources it can access.
  • Extensions: Whenever you need to increase the number of extensions, you need to invest in an IP phone or a business mobile. In addition, it is necessary to configure those IP phones, so although it does not require high knowledge, it is necessary to make configurations.
  • Equipment and investment: Companies have to purchase IP phones to use this system.

 

WebRTC PBX

 

Pros of the WebRTC PBX system:

  • Cost: Since there is no need to invest in equipment or maintain it, costs are greatly reduced. 
  • Flexibility: Calls can be received and made from anywhere in the world and on any device. The only requirement is to have an Internet connection. This means that calls can be answered or made from a smartphone, tablet or computer, making programming and communication simpler.
  • Wide range of functionalities: being an open source software, the functionalities increase day by day. In addition to the basic virtual PBX functionalities (caller identification, call waiting, voice mail options, call transfer, call queues, voice over calls of all kinds, etc.), it allows integration with CRM, adding phone card billing, etc.
  • Size: Bandwidth is the only thing that limits the maximum number of phone numbers and users. Companies can use several local and international numbers in the same system.
  • Sound quality: Although sound quality depends on a good Internet connection, fiber optic cables eliminate any quality problems.

 

Cons of the WebRTC PBX system:

  • Instability with WiFi connection: Like an IP PBX system, WebRTC systems depend on the Internet. However, if you have a good stable connection such as a data or Ethernet connection, the quality will be unbeatable. However, if unstable networks such as WiFi are used, there may be communication failures due to network changes, etc.

 

What does all this mean?

 

If you are looking for a new phone system, it is important to know your options, which means, understanding the different types of PBX. If you and your employees are often out of the office, traveling between locations for work, and/or have customers or suppliers nationally or internationally, a WebRTC system is probably the best solution. This system will allow you to receive and make calls from any computer or mobile phone. If you are self-employed and want to differentiate between your private and professional life, you should also choose this solution, because even if you use your personal mobile phone to receive calls, you will carry your PBX in the app, totally differentiated from your personal line.

Actually, the WebRTC PBX, being the most modern and advanced system, is the most recommended system in most cases, as it has a more advanced and stable development.