What is a PBX?
PBX is an acronym for Private Branch Exchange. A PBX, sometimes known as a telephone switch, is a system that connects a group of office telephones in a business with the public telephone switched network (PSTN). The primary function of a PBX is to route incoming calls to the appropriate extension in an office, and to allow calling between extensions. Over time, functionality has expanded to provide automated greetings using recorded messages, internal directories, voicemail, automatic call distribution (ACD), teleconferencing, and more.
What is the difference between a Hosted PBX and a Standard PBX?
A standard PBX is usually premise based, and located inside the office or building utilizing the services. It is typically is a system consisting of hardware and software with multiple incoming telephone lines shared across a greater number of extensions. Incoming calls are routed by the PBX equipment, and then sent to a specific phone through dedicated cables within the office. Both incoming and outgoing calls are directed through dedicated trunks to the public network. Routing a call outside the PBX to someone telecommuting or working remotely is often impossible, or expensive. PBX equipment typically requires employees with special training and knowledge of the PBX and phone technology, or requires hiring qualified vendors for support. Companies that own a PBX are also financially responsible for upgrades and expansion, if they wish to stay current with the technology.
The central functions of a Hosted PBX service are similar to those of standard PBX systems installed at the user's premise. The main difference is that hosted PBX customers don't purchase, install, or maintain the PBX equipment. Instead, the PBX equipment is housed and maintained by the service provider.
What advantages over a Standard PBX does the CTC-Connect Hosted PBX service provide?
There are several advantages. The first and most obvious is that with Hosted PBX service you do not need to purchase expensive hardware and maintain it. The cost of a standard PBX for a 25 user system can exceed $30,000. Not to mention, you will have to deal with maintaining the PBX. This is often accomplished by paying on-going maintenance fees to a phone vendor to maintain the PBX on your behalf. This can often cost hundreds of dollars per month.
Secondly, the Hosted PBX is scalable and can grow with your company needs. Whether your company is expanding within a single location, or is expanding to multiple locations, the Hosted PBX will grow with you. A standard PBX has a finite capacity that is not scalable, which can easily be outgrown.
A third advantage is the advanced feature set that CTC-Connect's Hosted PBX service provides. Features such as "Find me Follow me" (forward a call to any phone that you want, including cell phones or phones at different locations) can rarely be provided by standard PBXs. Additionally, CTC-Connect is constantly updating the features on our Hosted PBX service, and our customers benefit from these upgrades, at no additional cost.
What is VoIP?
VoIP is the acronym for Voice over Internet Protocol, where voice conversations are digitally converted to data packets which are transported over the Internet, and in the case of CTC-Connect, they follow a SIP protocol so they can be mixed with data and video traffic. There are several inherent advantages that VoIP has over traditional TDM based voice services. The most profound advantages are the cost savings created by largely avoiding the PSTN (public switched telephone network), and the ability for increased functionality and features to be added to the customer's voice service.
What is SIP?
Session Initiated Protocol (SIP) goes well beyond traditional telephony by facilitating any type of peer-to-peer communication session, including instant messaging, video gaming, voice / video Conferencing, and collaboration. It is the ultimate protocol for redefining business applications.
What is QoS (quality of service)?
The QoS for SIP (session initiated protocol) is a means to monitor and manage voice calls to a level of sound quality that will satisfy end user satisfaction. CTC-Connect Hosted PBX establishes a number one priority to voice packets over normal data packets, so voice packets can be managed to arrive together, and not in a random pattern as standard data packets are allowed. QoS can be jeopardized if it is not properly managed. Hence, Internet connections that do not provide voice prioritization or dedicated voice bandwidth, often result in poor QoS, and low consumer satisfaction.
How does CTC-Connect Manage QoS?
QoS is managed in three stages: Site Survey, Implementation, and Post Installation. A site survey allows CTC access to examine a customer's local area network (LAN) and validate their network architecture while searching for potential points of failure. CTC will then validate the digital transport, by either installation of a new circuit, or in some cases allow a customer to bring their own bandwidth (BYOB). With the "BYOB" scenario, CTC will qualify the the customer's bandwidth as adequate, and validate the Internet provider's service response record. Preparations for implementation relies heavily on information gathered during the site survey, and includes hardware that will shape the network for both voice and data traffic, then pro-actively manage voice quality scores, post-installation.