Hosted PBX Phone System
This type of phone service is a commonly
used VoIP service by small and medium sized businesses that typically
require under 100 phone lines and need features that only a hosted PBX
solution can provide. One reason that it is typically companies of this
size that use this service, is that it becomes more
cost effective to have an on-premise phone system when the number of
phones being used exceeds 100. This service is called a hosted service
because the actual hardware equipment (the PBX) that manages the
phone system is located off-site at the phone service providers NOC
(Network Operations Center).
Hosted VoIP PBX
The overall functionality provided by this type of service is very similar to the functionality of an on premise
system. The management for phone adds, moves or changes will still be
performed via a management GUI that is easily accessed via a web
browser. Having no PBX equipment onsite means no installation and no
maintenance as this is all done by the hosted provider. This alone
is a significant saving for a business as there is no initial up-front
purchase cost for equipment and no administration costs as IT personnel
are no longer required.
Benefits of a Hosted Phone System
Some of the advantages of moving
your PBX functionality over to a hosted phone system are listed as follows:
- This type of phone service
can easily scale as your businesses hires new employees and expands
- The features and
be easily configured to change features or add user accounts by use
of a basic web browser that accesses a secure configuration portal.
- The actual PBX equipment is
in most cases, very high end equipment from companies such as Avaya
and Cisco and as such is very reliable.
improvements are almost guaranteed as users have access to a wide
array of advanced features that are included as part of the price.
Auto-attendants, hunt groups, outlook integration, Internet fax and
even video calling are examples of some of these advanced features
that are often available.
Disadvantages of a Hosted Phone System
What about the disadvantages?
- A typical complaint with this type of solution is the voice quality,
also known as the voice quality of service. In almost every case, the
root cause of this issue is actually related to the Internet bandwidth
available or its quality. If the voice
service is setup correctly and available bandwidth is properly
evaluated and it is reliable, this should never be an issue.
- If your Internet goes down then the hosted phone system is down. Not much
can be done about this one and most businesses that have mission
critical voice systems typically have redundant connections to the Internet. So if one line goes down, the other one kicks in. In more
typically applications both are always active and the traffic is being
balanced across the two links to the Internet. In most cases, if your
Internet goes down, getting it back up is the number one priority and the
voice service can be pre-configured with back-up routes to try if main
route goes down. An example of this is sending 1-800 calls for
head-quarters to a remote office while the network is down. Some
businesses may choose to keep a small number of analog phone lines
(POTS type lines i.e. Plain Old Telephone Service) as a back-up for
Internet or power outages.
- If power goes out, the phones go out. Yes that is true but most
mission critical applications are protected by backup power systems.
Connect with Providers Directly
Hosted PBX service has become very popular for businesses of all sizes. If you are not quite at the stage
where you need customized price quotes (i.e. see our quote form at the top of this page), it is worthwhile taking some
time to visit each providers website and see if it makes your shortlist.
You can easily do this by clicking on the "more details" buttons in the
table below. Here are a few reasons this approach is worthwhile:
- Some providers price in tiers depending on how many lines you
need. Confirm the pricing for the number of seats that you need
- Evaluate the provider's website. If it is easy to find what you
need and navigate then there is good chance the admin portal that
you will use with your phones will also be easy to use.
- Check out international calling rates if you plan on racking up
those international minutes.
- There is really no such thing as "unlimited calling" and
providers outline "reasonable" usage rates in their terms and
conditions. Make sure you know what these are for the hosted pbx
service you are considering. You can also use our feature comparison and price tools that we have developed for our visitors. These can be accessed in our resource section to the right.
* Most providers include an upper limit on minutes for their unlimited plans as part of a reasonable usage policy in their T&Cs.
Author: Mike Bragg