Which Is Better: PBX or VOIP? 

businessman reflecting about pbx or voip

Between PBX or VoIP, VoIP is better. That is, only if you’re looking to future-proof your business and with advanced features, and scale quicker. VoIP is the better choice for your business.  

There is a myriad of options for business phone systems, and it does require some research into which route is best for your business. In this post, we’re going to look at PBX vs. VoIP and try to answer why VOIP is the best way to go. 

PBX and VoIP: The Basics 

PBX 

The Private Branch Exchange (PBX) are also known as traditional telephone systems that use physical lines to connect calls. They are typically installed on-premises and require dedicated hardware and software. PBX still uses the Public Switched Telephone Network (PTSN) to enable calls. 

VoIP 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a communication protocol that allows you to make voice calls using an Internet connection instead of an analog phone line. It’s not limited to any set location and can be accessed on many devices. 

What are the differences between PBX and VOIP? 

While they are similar in that they are phone systems, the key differences between PBX and VoIP are in how calls are delivered and features available. VoIP has become a widely used phone system because its feature-rich.  

Calls through a PBX are delivered through a landline using copper wires while VoIP systems use the Internet to transmit voice and data. Also, less hardware is required from a VoIP phone system. 

Available PBX Features 

PBX phone systems are limited in their feature sets compared to VoIP solutions. If you need more than voice capability, then you’ll want to consider a VoIP system. However, if you just need voice, a PBX system can access VoIP functions using SIP trunking with an added expense. 

At its core, a PBX system offers the most basic of features: 

  • Voice calls 
  • Call transfer 
  • Call hold/waiting 
  • Voicemail 
  • Caller ID 
  • Fax 
  • Phone conferencing 

PBX has limitations on accessibility. These features are available only on desk phones. New phone models have crisper screens to access features. 

Available VoIP Features 

If your business is supporting multiple locations or a remote work environment, you’ll want the advanced capabilities and a hefty feature set, which is almost needed in today’s business world. 

A VoIP system has these calling and call management features: 

  • Interactive voice response (IVR) 
  • Voicemail transcription 
  • Call queueing 
  • Automated callback 
  • Smart call routing (round robin, department-based, function-based) 
  • Call recording and transcribing 

A VoIP-enabled phone system also allows unifying communications with other channels, like video calls, meeting recording, instant messaging, and many other features. 

Advantages of VoIP vs. PBX 

Costs 

Initial costs of a PBX can range in $1000s of dollars just for the hardware itself. You’re on the hook for buying the hardware on-premises and that will usually support up to 20 users. Then there are the software licensing costs and hiring of an IT team to maintain the system. We won’t cause further anxiety with the numbers, but just know, a PBX is costly. 

Most VoIP plans include unlimited calling and can cost between $20-$40 per user/month. So, a team of 10 can expect to pay between $200-$400/month. Some providers will discount annual pricing if you pay up front. As far as hardware, you may not need any as you can use your computer (soft phone) or mobile device can serve as your phone system. 

The provider handles maintenance and upkeep, so you don’t need to worry about upgrades or repairs. Implementing a VoIP system saves money up front, as well as long-term. 

Scalability 

A PBX system isn’t as easy to scale. When you get started, your system may only support 20 users and then you may need to upgrade your hardware. It can take some time to add new users to your phone system using a traditional PBX. You may need to hire technicians to install and run cabling, buy new phones, and then worry about service disruption. 

Upgrading a VoIP system is usually as easy upgrading to the next tier or adding/removing users from your online portal. There’s no need to purchase hardware, however, you may want to watch that you’re not paying for features you don’t need. The only costs with scaling are the additional users’ fees. 

PBX Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons 
Easy-to-use with little learning curve High upfront costs 
Audio unaffected by Internet connection Limited features 
Control over security Requires in-house IT team 
Can access VoIP features via SIP trunking Likely outdated within the next several years 

VoIP Pros and Cons 

Pros Cons 
Significant cost savings Some require long-term contracts 
More advanced features Less control and customization 
Quicker to scale and mobile-ready Call quality can degrade with poor Internet connection 
Quick and easy installation Needs continuous power supply 

VoIP and Magic Apple 

It’s time to move away from the traditional phone line and transition to a VoIP-based phone system. The experts at Magic Apple can help your business grow with a feature-rich phone system. We’ll get to know your business and fit a system designed to grow with you. Contact us today, and let’s start the conversation on how a new phone system will improve your business efficiency. 

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