Phone System

Phone systems (a.k.a. PBX) are often ignored system in small to medium sized companies. They forget that without a phone clients can not reach them to do business with them. As many traditional providers in Europe and North America are replacing old analogue and digital lines (e.g. ISDN, BRI) with SIP Trunk technology, new challenges are hurting companies. 

Being unable to reach contacts or even not properly understanding what they say, it becomes a challange. Audio quality can irritate buyers. Good communication is important for succesful businesses. If the transmission quality also suffers then fax systems will gradually become useless

In order to provide you a easy to understand guide to what the market offers in regards to Telephone Systems we have created this summary:

Which phone system does my company need?

When you want to chose a new Phone System, you need to first create a list of your priorities and needs. Also look at the quantity of inbound and outbound calls. This will give you an idea if you will really benefit from extra services like flatrates.

Are you travelling alot? need to take calls while on the road? Not every PBX will ensure the mobile call does not drive you nuts. Besides, you do not want to expose yourself to unnecessary risks.

Even though some VoIP Phone Systems are based in the Cloud, they will be more flexible in accomodating your changing communication needs. The cloud system also saves you a lot of budget should you have several business locations. You only need 1 PBX for all your offices.

Follow comparison should help you get a quick overview of the core differences:

The Telecom industry offers 3 types of phone systems

Physical VoIP PBX
Cloud Phone System
ISDN Phone System
Advantages
  • Modern VoIP Technology
  • Limited Features
  • Homeoffice partly possible
  • System is located on premise
  • Remote Support (possible)
  • Maintenance only weekdays
  • Supports analogue devices
  • Partly supports PoE with Adapter
  • Fax Server (Optional)
  • Clients use MacOS, Linux & Win
Advantages
  • User friendly
  • Fast Remote Support
  • Maintenance 24x7x365
  • No Engineer travel cost
  • Timely updates 
  • Addons are no issue
  • Extensions added within 10 Min
  • Location & Provider independant 
  • Several offices in 1 PBX!
  • No Fiber DSL needed
  • Fast Connectivity & Dailing
  • Supports hands free car speakers
  • Support Fax (T.38/G.711)
  • Fax Server (Fax2Mail)
  • Homeoffice easily possible
  • Integration of CRM & Co.
  • SIP Trunks not limited to 2
  • Bridging of several PBX
  • Supports iPhone & Android
  • Clients use MacOS, Linux & Win
  • Softphones available (free)
  • Supports Headsets
  • Supports PoE Switches
  • Supports DECT Multicells
  • Supports analogue devices
  • No Noise generated in Office
Advantages
  • Already exists in your company
  • Phones with limited features
  • System is located on premise
  • Uses old telephone wiring
  • Needs no network cables
Disadvantages
  • High maintenance costs
  • High travel costs of Engineers
  • Limited Updates
  • Needs SIP & Network Experts
  • Internet access required
  • Consumes Energy (65W)
  • Takes up space in offices
  • Generates Noise and Heat
  • Needs expensive extension cards
  • Mobile Usage via Gateways
  • Requires Fiber/VDSL75
  • Connections with latency
  • Limited amount of SIP Trunks
  • No Bridging possible
  • Needs power surge protection
  • Needs Network Cables (Cat5 or better)
  • Firewall issues
  • Each location needs its own PBX
Disadvantages
  • Internet access required
  • Uses Cloud Environments
  • Needs good cloud firewall
  • Needs SIP & cloud Experts
  • 100 MBit Switch or faster
  • No physical Phone Systeme
  • Requires a small SBC device
  • SBC needs little Energy (5V/3.8W)
  • Needs Network Cables (Cat5 or better)
Disadvantages
  • High maintenance costs
  • High travel costs of Engineers
  • Sparse Updates available
  • Needs technician or electrician
  • Consumes energy (230W)
  • Takes up space in offices
  • Generates Noise and Heat
  • Additional wiring required
  • Uses old 2 wire phones
  • No Remote Support!
  • No VoIP Channels (max 2)
  • needs ISDN to VoIP Converter
  • Needs expensive extension cards
  • Limited number of Extensions 
  • Mobile usage not possible
  • No sustainability
  • Slow Connectivity
  • Limited Features
  • No safe Homeoffice possible
  • No Integration with CRM
  • No Bridging possible
  • Only Windows User Software
  • Needs power surge protection
  • No PoE supported
  • Each location needs its own PBX

What to consider when using any of the 3 phone systems?

Keep in mind that above features and benefits will differ according to manufacturers and pbx models: Some local phone systems will consume more energy and potentially require a server room with air conditioning.  Also ISDN Systems have limited extension slots and can not be extended to support a substancial amount of phones.

So that calls can be made with HD audio quality the little VoIP Packages need to flow freely through Switches and Firewalls.

This can a bit of a problem to solve for unexperienced computer admins. That is why, we make it easier for companies above 25 users to enjoy the vast potentials of a VoIP PBX. Besides that, using DECT Phones across buildings and floors requires professional multi cell systems.

 

Why does a Cloud PBX use a SBC device?

Since a cloud-based phone system is not located inside an office network, the VoIP Phones get help from a small device: The SBXC is a coordinator that helps avoid the need to send audio data to the cloud when users are calling each other inside their local office.

Furthermore, the SBC system lets the PBX know that there are phones waiting to be added or updated. Cloud PBX Engineers use the PBX also to command the phones to change to new firmware and settings. Thereby, they usually do not need to drive to a customer site. 

You can even create a cluster of SBCs just to avoid congestion or bottle necks.

The SBC is either a thin-client or an IoT device (e.g. Raspberry PI). Depending on the current activitythis IoT device might consume 0.1W – 1.0W. Most of the time the power adapter will consume ~ 3.8W while waiting for new calls. 

As the device only needs a small fan, they are easily located in an office or small appliance room. They do not create loud noises.

In the metering screen you can see the noise of an SBC used in offices with 1-10 phones: The fan barely makes 38-46 dB sounds. Even the larger version for 10-25 Phones is very quiet. Simpler casings will generate more noise but usually around 51dB. That is still very moderate.

The cooling components suck up most of the heat created by the CPU and memory chips. Since the devices usually consume about 10% of CPU capacity, the heat is not really an issue.

When should my company move to a VoIP Telephone System?

Old ISDN Phone Systems need much more electricity to operate. That is why local and cloud based VoIP systems are generally much more eco friendly. Besides, old systems tend to have weaker security and lack the much needed data privacy compliance ratings.

Can I use analogue devices with a VoIP System?

The old ISDN systems often needed an additional a/b extension card so that you could use devices like a fax, a POS terminal or an old DECT phone. Newer local VoIP Systems will have onboard ports for analogue. This might not be the case with cheaper models. 

In contrast, a cloud PBX will need a network based adapter. A great benefit is that these adapters can be maintained via the cloud so that problems can be fixed easier. The adapters are usually much cheaper, than the traditional a/b extension card used in ISDN systems.

There analogue to VoIP Adapters can attach up to 8 analogue devices, so that a varierty of codecs can be used (z.B. T.38, G711, T30).

Why should I replace my old analogue or ISDN telephone system?

One of the big disadvantages of the old ISDN phone systems is that they use old Firmware or can not keep up with the safety requirements

Some old systems are also endangered by Hackers who make thousands of calls at the expense of the company. They either crack the old PBX via the DSL connection or land line using maintenance codes.

Due to outdated security standards these old systems have password protections that can be cracked within 60 seconds to 10 minutes.