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3CX Review by WhichVoIP.com

A company that formed with a vision to create a more accessible communication system, 3CX has experienced rapid growth since being founded in 2005. Initially, its focus was to create software to replace archaic PBX systems with a Windows-based application. Its product line has expanded significantly since this time and has grown to serve a wide array of unique demands for clientele, spanning the globe.

The Good

For large enterprises, 3CX has a wide variety of products to suit most any communication need. It offers DIY software packages complete with SIP trunking features and other tools that allow for a highly customized VoIP communication environment. Various applications and add-ons are available to businesses of any scope or size.

The original design of its core application is an IP PBX that runs on top of a Windows machine known as the 3CX Phone System for Windows, also available in a Pro Edition addition that turns a Windows machine into a communications server. The nice thing about working on top of a Windows installation is the fact that most in the IT field will be familiar with underlying configurations necessary to accommodate the application. This makes it much easier to support onsite. Our guide on setting up the 3CX software PBX may be useful if you have an interest in trying out this phone system.

The Pro Edition adds several additional features that are a staple for modern businesses, such as integration with Microsoft Exchange as well as various CRM systems including Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce. The system is configurable for tightly refining call center operations including a modifiable IVR and call queue management via a graphical web-based interface. The more powerful reporting features available in this system include additional useful metrics, for example individual or group statistics such as call distribution, customizable SLA metrics, waiting times and several other metrics.

A hosted system known as the 3CX Cloud Server is available for businesses interested in reselling the 3CX service to clientele. With this system, your company has the ability to create separate IP PBX systems within a single installation allowing customers to control the system without interference to the infrastructure or networking configurations. Each instance is customizable to suit individual needs, including the ability to create unique SIP based connections based on geographic availability for certain businesses.

The Bad

For a company with little administrative IT support, 3CX is not the not the ideal solution. However, companies with just a few employees and a savvy IT person can still create an internal phone system at a competitive cost. A fully hosted system from the company is not available though they do provide links to various providers that resell the 3CX service.

If your company is just looking to make the switch to VoIP, the pricing may seem a little confusing though they do provide a comprehensive list on the 3CX website for most pricing tiers. As you can create as many extensions as needed, the basis for pricing relates to simultaneous outbound calls, not the number of users. Internal calls are limited to the capacity of your network so this metric must be known to setup an adequate service agreement with both the company, a SIP provider and onsite IT personnel.

Additional UC tools such as the WebMeeting tool for video conferencing require an additional expenditure. Fortunately, the cost is straight-forward and does not include a "per user" licensing fee as it is built on WebRTC.

The Bottom Line

  • Price : A service supporting a 4 user simultaneous connection starts at $495 a year for the regular edition - the Pro Edition supporting 1024 concurrent calls will run $59,065 per year.
  • Easy to navigate system that is simple to deploy for most IT staff well versed in Microsoft technologies.
  • Open SIP integration allows businesses to select SIP providers for PTSN connectivity, with great versatility.
  • Softphones are available for mobile platforms including Windows, Android and iPhone, each with full integration to the platform including presence awareness and reporting.
  • Integration with various CRM systems can enhance productivity.
  • For the first year of service, free support is available.

Overall Thoughts

For such a simple deployment model, the products from 3CX make sense for most current business networks. The capability to install on top of a Windows environment makes it easy for businesses to employ a top-notch system without extensive knowledge of Linux or IP PBX software. With many features available for a flat fee per connected user, great savings can be obtained versus a legacy phone system.

Make sure to check out our SIP Trunking section for ways to connect your IP PBX to the world.

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