What To Look for When Purchasing an IP PBX System
IP PBX systems apply the advanced technology of Voice over IP (VoIP) to deliver the features of Private Branch eXchange (PBX) telephone systems. When choosing an IP PBX system for your organization, you should consider the following factors:
- Hosted vs. on-premise
- Calling capacity
- Number of locations
- Feature set
Hosted vs. On-Premise IP PBX System
The choice between a hosted system and an on-premise IP PBX system depends on the type of business you operate. Many technology businesses have an extensive network budget and can leverage their technical expertise and overall spending to purchase and use their IP PBX system equipment. The better choice is a hosted solution for businesses that just need to get up and running with a solid system. With its flexibility, guaranteed availability, and support, the hosted IP PBX system option is worth considering for any organization.
IP PBX System Sizing
Sizing your system is an excellent next step. One of the advantages of IP PBX systems is their flexibility, but it is essential to have enough calling capacity to support your business needs. Most plans start with support for 20 stations, and some offer support for an unlimited number of calling stations.
Number of locations
In the past, telephone systems were restricted to their physical locations. Using IP PBX systems, your company can operate from multiple virtual locations while maintaining a single physical site. Even international calling is supported using VoIP technology. This allows your business to maintain a presence in the markets it serves by providing a toll-free or local number that the caller will be comfortable using.
The list of features available with IP PBX systems can be overwhelming but making a short list of your highest priority capabilities will help you choose suitable systems. All IP PBX systems will have the basic incoming feature set, such as call waiting, call forwarding, and voice messaging. Extended features such as voice-to-email or text messaging are also becoming standard IP PBX system features. It would help if you also determined whether your highest call volumes will be incoming or outgoing. The IP PBX system features needed for call centers that make or receive significant calls differ from a typical office with an even balance of call activity.
Security is a significant concern for any business telephone installation. If your premises are secure and under your control, then an on-premise IP PBX system should be adequate in terms of physical security. In some shared office situations where you do not control the telephone system cabinet, on-premise may be less secure than the hosted alternative. For call and data security within the IP PBX system, various levels of security are available, from unencrypted to solid encryption. Before purchasing your IP PBX system, ensure it meets your organization’s security requirements.
Interoperability With Other Enterprise Systems
The last factor to consider is interoperability with other enterprise systems. In many cases, the IP PBX system must integrate with an existing customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The best way to achieve this is to purchase an IP PBX system that offers application programming interface (API) integration. This will allow your organization to develop custom integrations that meet its specific needs. Buying an off-the-shelf IP PBX system solution may be less expensive in the short term, but it will likely cost more in the long run as your business needs change and evolve.
These are just a few key factors to consider when choosing an IP PBX system for your organization. By taking the time to evaluate your business needs, you can be sure to select a plan that will provide the features and capabilities you need to support your growing business.
Digital Faxing Support
When looking for an IP PBX system for your business, one of the critical criteria is whether the system supports digital faxing. In today's business world, sending and receiving faxes electronically is increasingly important and essential want to ensure that your new IP PBX system can handle this type of communication.
An IP PBX system can support digital faxing in a few different ways. The most common is through what's known as T.38 fax over IP, which allows for real-time transmission of faxes over an IP network. This is the preferred method of faxing for most businesses, as it's reliable and generally very high quality.
Another way that an IP PBX system can support digital faxing is by using a gateway that converts analog faxes into digital format. This isn't quite as effective as T.38, as there can be quality issues with the conversion process. However, it's still a viable option for businesses that need to be able to send and receive faxes electronically.
No matter which method your IP PBX system uses to support digital faxing, it's essential to ensure that it's included in your list of criteria when shopping for a new system. In today's business world, sending and receiving faxes electronically is more critical, and you'll want to ensure that your new IP PBX system can handle this type of communication.
Support For Mobile Devices and Mobility Features
When looking for an IP PBX system for your business, it's important to consider support for mobile devices and mobility features. With more and more employees working remotely, your IP PBX system must be able to accommodate mobile devices and provide the same features and functionality as if the user were in the office.
What to look for before purchasing an IP PBX system include:
- Support for popular mobile operating systems like iOS and Android
- The ability to make and receive calls on your mobile device
- Access to your company's voicemail system
- The ability to transfer calls to other extensions
- Call forwarding features
- A mobile app for easy management of your PBX system
With the right IP PBX system in place, you can keep your employees connected and productive no matter where they are. Refer to our buyer’s guide to learn more about the right phone system solution for your company.