Do You Know What a PBX Phone System is and How it Works?


It is interesting to trace the story of PBX or private branch exchange in telephone and know how it works. What is its present avatar? Find out about earlier PBX solutions and current state of art VoIP PBX services.

PBX From an earlier era

In the early days of telephony it was common for a small town to have homes with phone connections. A caller would tap the hook that would activate the person in charge in the local exchange to respond and the caller would ask to be connected to a number or a person. From this rudimentary form the telephone system evolved to developing a dialing system that did away with manual intervention except in cases where the call went to a private branch exchange board. In earlier times this was manned by a receptionist who would then divert incoming calls to a specific executive by plugging in pairs of wires into the switchboard. Automation led to development of adding an extension number and intercom facilities to the PBX and did away with the need for an individual to attend manually to call transfers. We are all familiar with the famous National Panasonic series phones that had some measure of PBX features and were commonly used in homes and offices. One line and one number can be shared between different people within a given space.

Now it is back to the present where PBX is a different animal altogether.

PBX today is IP PBX or VoIP PBX

Rise of VoIP technologies paved the way for modern PBX solutions that are now commonly known as IP PBX. The standard PSTN lines are proving to be expensive and kludgy, besides being limited only to voice. Current generation of IP PBX solutions are part of unified communication solutions that let you engage in voice calls, send SMS, transmit fax, send voice mail and even engage in video chat and conference. You could even have mobility extensions with the current technologies. Instead of voice (and data) being transmitted through dedicated PSTN lines, as happens in standard PSTN telephony, the voice is converted into digital packets and these are transmitted over the internet to the final destination, which may be another IP PBX phone or a standard PSTN phone, reassembled and converted to voice, video, text or fax.

Even within IP PBX you have different ways of using devices and communications:

  • You could use a dedicated IP phone, also known as SIP phone. This connects to a router that connects to the internet through a gateway, possibly a VoIP gateway. The same gateway would facilitate connection to and from PSTN lines. This means you can call another SIP phone or a standard landline number.
  • The IP PBX can be used in the form of software from VoIP PBX services. This software may be used on mobiles, laptops and desktops, constituting a softphone with a virtual dial pad. You can make and receive calls through your device of choice.
  • You can buy and install PBX solutions or opt for hosted IP PBX as a Service from a VoIP PBX service provider.

IP PBX far superior

IP PBX is far superior in a variety of ways:

  • Your outgoing call charges reduce drastically since you are not tied to PSTN and their duration and distance based metering. International calls cost a fraction.
  • You can shift office premises and you do not have to worry about delays in changing the phone connection. If you have internet available in the new location your PBX solution can be up and running within a day.
  • You can use mobile phones as extensions of the PBX
  • The solution allows for higher number of concurrent calls
  • There are dozens of features such as music on hold, call transfers, automatic call distribution, facility to send and receive SMS and email, do not disturb, intercom and lots more which you simply cannot enjoy with landline based PBX.
  • You can maintain call recordings.
  • Startups can convey the impression of being a large corporate entity by using IPPBX.
  • Subscribe to hosted VoIP PBX services and you need not pay anything upfront or invest in hardware.

IP PBX solutions are becoming smarter with induction of smart AI technologies. For instance, you can simply speak and ask the system to get you Mr X on the phone and it does. Subscribe to hosted IP PBX or, better still, get your custom IP PBX solution from a top-notch developer. Business improves when you have a good IP PBX at the communications core.

Recent Posts