Conflict of communications: VoIP vs. PBX

Businesses have so many options these days when it comes to their communications, be it internal or external, and their telephone line is no exception.

Often the primary decision faced by many organisations is whether to use a private branch exchange (PBX) or voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) system, with both platforms offering their own bespoke advantages and disadvantages.

Read more: No more peaceful coffee breaks in the office: BT One Phone won’t let you miss a business call again

Essentially, a PBX enables companies to lease a single telephone line externally and connect it to their internal phone lines, allowing many employees to have their own personal work handset. This often means that a company’s internal phone calls work differently to standard calls, with individuals only having to dial a three or four-digit extension code.

VoIP, on the other hand, takes an entirely different approach to telephone communications, transferring all the audio information over the Internet in the form of digital data. While VoIP can offer many of the benefits provided by PBX, but at a lower cost, there are still situations where VoIP may not be right for your business. Moreover, some organisations are now looking at integrating PBX and VoIP together in the form of an IP PBX system.

In order to understand whether VoIP or PBX communications are the right way to go for your business, IT leaders need to have an in-depth understanding of the pros and cons of each technology.

One of the main discrepancies between the two systems is cost. A PBX approach means firms pay monthly charges depending on how many calls they make, with international calls charged at a premium. This can lead to substantial costs, particularly for businesses with geographically diverse branches. Conversely, VoIP processes all calls over a firm’s broadband connection, meaning that calls are generally free to all parts of the world. VoIP also benefits from a small initial setup cost, with businesses only having to purchase low-cost phone adapters to transfer their analogue systems into digital ones.

While VoIP generally comes out on top when it comes to price, its reliability can be called into question. All calls rely on the Internet to take place, so a power cut or Internet failure will leave businesses without any phone communications. Traditional PBX systems do not suffer from this issue as they receive their power from the telephone wire itself. Therefore, even if you do decide to adopt VoIP technology, businesses may want to retain some PBX phone lines for crucial phone calls.

Similarly, the quality of your VoIP communications is also reliant on the strength of your Internet service. Firms with low capacity Internet access will experience a noticeable drop in voice quality across VoIP networks when compared with PBX. This being said, many businesses will be keen to secure a high-quality Internet connection for a number of factors, including the additional features offered by VoIP.

Whether its advanced telephony features like online account management or the flexibility of being able to access your work number anywhere in the world, VoIP systems offer the kind of mobility often required by today’s fast-moving digital world.

Read more: Silent Circle seeks to destroy Skype with its secret weapon: Encrypted VoIP

Companies unsure as to whether VoIP or PBX is the right approach for them should keep a close eye on this year’s UC Expo, where some of the latest communication technology will be on display, taking place on the 21-22 April at Olympia, London.

Register to attend UC EXPO 2015 FREE today.

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