Sep 14

Voice Telecom Solutions: Are PBXs Really Dead, or Have They Evolved?

Voice Telecom Solutions

Private branch exchanges (PBXs) are private phone networks used within a company. PBX users share a pool of external lines to make external calls. PBXs are typically a piece of hardware that connects phones that in turn connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). With the evolution of IP telephony, PSTN phone system hardware has changed, but the main design has remained the same. Traditional PBX hardware is becoming obsolete.
PC Phone Systems
Vendors started to produce PC-based phone systems in the mid-1990s. Although many of these systems were based on Microsoft Windows NT, NexPATH created a UNIX-based phone system for small business use. These systems were less expensive and provided more features than PSTN systems, but they were based on the same circuit-switched architecture. A PBX is a mini-version of a phone company’s main office based on circuit-switched technology.

What Happened to Traditional PBX Systems?
Traditional PBXs are based on a distributed circuit-switched system. These systems replaced a central switch with a multitude of interconnected switches in either a bus interchassis or circuit-switched trunk line. With Voice over IP (VoIP), some systems began to morph into a hybrid circuit-switched–VoIP design that brought analog phones connected to a telecom hub and Ethernet Session Initiation Protocol phones together through an Ethernet switch connected to a WAN or Internet router to distribute calls to external sources through a WAN or the Internet.

With phone systems moving to IP-based telephony, changing work environments, a recession driving people to look for ways to cut costs, and several other factors, PBXs have been nearly phased out entirely. The quality of service, latency, jitter, and security issues that once plagued VoIP have mostly been resolved through advancing VoIP technology.

Traditional PBXs may be obsolete, but an IP PBX works off the same principle. An IP PBX switches calls between VoIP users while allowing each user to share a number of outside phone lines. IP PBXs can also switch and connect calls between VoIP users and traditional analog phone users or between two traditional phone users in the same manner that a traditional PBX can. One advantage to using an IP PBX is that it runs on converged data and voice networks. Internet connectivity, VoIP, and traditional phone communications can merge through a single line. As your business grows, you can reduce the long-term cost of maintaining a traditional PBX. As with a traditional PBX, the enterprise owns an IP PBX only, which costs less and is easier to maintain.

The future of PBXs may be grim, but the actual term will live on through IP PBXs. As more venders offer IP telephony solutions involving IP PBXs, traditional PBXs are becoming scarce, expensive, and more difficult to find support for. Although many predicted the death of PBXs more than a decade ago, they are still in existence and in use by some businesses. Businesses that still own and use a PBX either do not have the money to upgrade and rely solely on their existing PBX to run maintenance free or do not have the means to upgrade because of their IP architecture (or lack of). VoIP and other IP telephony systems will not linger forever, though: a new technology involving web browser–enabled phone and conference calling is still being developed. Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC) may become the next wave of Internet communications. A brief overview of WebRTC is available in How Will WebRTC Revolutionize VoIP Service?


Sep 14

SIP trunking adoption is on the rise



As business grows more mobile and several forms of communication are being used at once, more companies are realizing the benefits of unified messaging. One of the most popular ways enterprises have found to streamline their communications platforms is through the use of SIP trunking, which makes operations easier and greatly reduces costs.

By using SIP to deliver telephone services and unified messaging over the cloud, companies are able to manage both voice and data platforms in an integrated solution that provides a solid foundation for businesses interested in implementing broader unified communications infrastructures. Combining voice and data is a more cost-effective approach to enterprise communications and is causing many companies to invest in SIP trunking services. In fact, recent research suggests that the SIP trunking market will continue to grow over the next year as an increasing number of organizations make the switch.

SIP adoption continues to grow 
According to a recent study by Infonetics Research, 38 percent of enterprises utilized a SIP trunking platform in 2013. That number is expected to rise dramatically over the next year, reaching close to 60 percent in 2015. Many factors are driving demand for SIP trunking in today's companies, but a major reason is the technology's ability to replace a business' existing phone system with a VoIP system that can be used to launch a unified communications platform. Utilizing an existing system allows organizations to save money and increase reliability.

Another reason so many businesses are turning to SIP is its superior level of flexibility. With the technology, companies can maintain many different types communications in real time, including video and audio conferencing, VoIP, instant messaging and other types of data-based messaging platforms. This flexibility also makes SIP trunking ideal for business continuity operations. If the phones are not accessible, calls can be forwarded to alternative numbers or utilize other forms of communications.

Another popular advantage to SIP trunking is the ability they provide to work seamlessly from anywhere. Companies and their employees are becoming increasingly mobile and it's growing more important that business communication is able to continue without issue from remote locations. Large organizations with offices in multiple locations can also benefit from the mobility offered by SIP trunking, as the entire enterprise can share a main PBX to service each office and cut down on costs and management troubles.