A private branch exchange or a PBX is an enterprise telecommunication system that uses local lines to switch calls between users and allow them to share a limited number of external phone lines. The primary purpose of using PBX is to reduce the costs of obtaining a separate line for each user to the telephone company’s central office. The system is then owned and managed by the enterprise instead of the telephone company that supplies or provides the service.
Back in the day, companies used analog technology for their calls. However, PBX now uses digital technology where outside calls are made by converting digital signals into analog using a plain old telephone service. To explain this in more detail, we have put together a simple guide that sums up everything you need to know about PBX.
How PBX Works
Depending on an enterprise’s preference and complexity, companies can choose the PBX type that connects their users. Standard or traditional PBX is a system that requires a PBX box inside the premises where the business is connected as it uses regular copper-based lines like landlines. The calls to be distributed to different phones inside the enterprise office are switched using telephony switches placed inside the PBX box.
Traditional PBX allows users to access a limited number of outside lines, referred to as trunk lines. Since ethernet cables can be connected to phones too, digital phone signals can be used to access outgoing and incoming calls, which is known as internet protocol PBX or IP PBX. This technology has opened the way for many other private branch exchange forms, including hosted PBX and cloud-based PBX.
Standard PBX uses traditional landline copper lines to connect calls and switch them between users. It requires setting up too much hardware, such as routers, hubs, telephone sets, switches, and phone adapters. On the other hand, IP PBX uses digital signals or the internet to connect calls, which means it might not require hardware at all. Instead, IP PBX consists of only software or a mix of hardware and software.
Traditional PBX is also limited when it comes to the number of outside lines that users can connect to. This is no longer a problem because present-day PBX runs on digital signals which use the web to connect calls. Therefore, users can connect to any line they want. These new systems offer a wide range of configurations and many management tools that help in customizing its processes. They are easier to maintain and upgrade because their systems are software-based compared to older systems that used hardware and were expensive to obtain and run.
Hosted private branch exchange systems are IP based and are built, supplied, managed, and delivered by a third-party service provider. They include all PBX types that are accessed through the internet, such as cloud PBX and VoIP PBX. Their maintenance requirements and costs are lower than those of other private branch exchange types because they are hosted, built, and organized by a third-party supplier who runs the system on their servers. The specialists from Saicom Cloud PBX clarify that even if your enterprise is already running VoIP PBX or traditional PBX, you can still migrate to cloud PBX without downtime or complicated rewiring. However, these hosted PBX services are more beneficial to small businesses, as they are more affordable and provide many of the same capabilities of expensive PBX systems. They connect to the cloud, making them faster and more reliable than traditional or costly PBX systems, and all they require is a strong internet connection and a small monthly fee.
PABX is short for private automatic branch exchange, which is basically an automated PBX system. Since this can refer to most modern private branch exchange systems, there is another term we use to refer to older systems, which is PMBX, short for private manual branch exchange. It’s safe to say that all modern PBX systems can be referred to as PABX because they are all automated, while older manual systems that are no longer used can be referred to as PMBX. Both terms (private branch exchange and private automatic branch exchange) are used interchangeably to talk about the same telecommunication system.
Private automatic branch exchange is a technological upgrade introduced to the telecommunication industry to simplify internal and external enterprise communications. All PBX methods are automated, and companies can now connect internal and external calls simply by using the internet and hosting an IP PBX system from a trusted supplier. The web factor in these systems makes them more reliable and flexible when handling unlimited numbers of trunk lines, which is only one of the many beneficial features they provide their users.
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