PBX vs. VoIP

PBX vs. VoIP

PBX (Private Branch Exchange) has been around for decades and is still the most common choice of the phone system for the majority of businesses in most countries around the world. However, advancements in VoIP (Voice over IP) technology and improved internet speed and reliability means VoIP is increasingly becoming the system of choice for many growing businesses.

Both traditional PBX and newer VoIP systems have advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your location, company requirements and available budget, each system may appeal to your in a different way. Let’s look at some of the ways VoIP compares to traditional PBX.


The main reason most companies choose VoIP is the cost-savings. VoIP can be entirely hosted in the cloud, requiring none of the expensive, physical hardware of PBX. VoIP also doesn’t require the ongoing maintenance costs of PBX and the monthly costs of a leased-line. However, VoIP does require a pre-installed LAN network and computer infrastructure. These days almost all companies will already have this, but in the event that you are in an old building with bad wiring, it may incur significant initial costs to upgrade.


PBX is often more reliable than VoIP as it doesn’t require a permanent, fast Internet connection. In the event of a power outage, PBX can continue operation, whereas a VoIP system will entirely lose connectivity. A VoIP system will, however, forward calls to a message centre and store voicemails until the system comes back up. Most companies using VoIP will also have at least one backup PBX line so they can continue some business in the event of an outage. Traditional PBX lines are also useful in the event of an emergency as they more readily support emergency numbers like ‘911’.


PBX systems can offer a higher and more consistent voice quality, as opposed to VoIP call quality which can suffer from low internet speed. To have a truly functional, quality VoIP system you would usually need to be in a city with a relatively fast, advanced Internet service. Companies in small, rural areas might find VoIP struggles to maintain quality audio over a slow connection.


With a traditional PBX system, the number of lines you receive depends on the size of the package you purchase. To expand your operation you would need to buy more connections or upgrade your package. With VoIP, the number of phone numbers you have is only limited by your bandwidth (Internet speed).


An IP PBX system can provide some VoIP functions while maintaining the advantages of a standard landline. However, a pure VoIP system has a large number of additional services not available on PBX. With VoIP, specific phone numbers can be programmed to reroute to voicemail or to the private cell phones of staff members. While PBX calls can be programmed to some extent, they are still restricted to operating within the limitations of the standard telephone network. VoIP calls can also be transcribed into an email and integrated into a CRM system which can then be used by customer service assistants to keep track of customer issues.


Categories: Technology

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