A PBX & IP PBX System

A PBX System

A PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone system within an enterprise that switches calls between enterprise users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. The main purpose of a PBX is to save the cost of requiring a line for each user to the telephone company’s central office.

The PBX is owned and operated by the enterprise rather than the telephone company (which may be a supplier or service provider, however). Private branch exchanges used analog technology originally. Today, PBXs use digital technology (digital signals are converted to analog for outside calls on the local loop using plain old telephone service (POTS ).

A PBX includes:

  • Telephone trunk (multiple phone) lines that terminate at the PBX
  • A computer with memory that manages the switching of the calls within the PBX and in and out of it
  • The network of lines within the PBX
  • A console or switchboard for a human operator (optional)

IP PBX System

An IP PBX is a private branch exchange (telephone switching system within an enterprise) that switches calls between VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol or IP) users on local lines while allowing all users to share a certain number of external phone lines. The typical IP PBX can also switch calls between a VoIP user and a traditional telephone user, or between two traditional telephone users in the same way that a conventional PBX does. The abbreviation may appear in various texts as IP-PBX, IP/PBX, or IPPBX.

With a conventional PBX, separate networks are necessary for voice and data communications. One of the main advantages of an IP PBX is the fact that it employs converged data and voice networks. This means that Internet access, as well as VoIP communications and traditional telephone communications, are all possible using a single line to each user. This provides flexibility as an enterprise grows, and can also reduce long-term operation and maintenance costs. Like a traditional PBX, an IP PBX is owned by the enterprise.

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