The Difference Between Hosted PBX and SIP Trunks

Posted By: Netcelerate

Published: February 21, 2016 06:49

It’s all VoIP

The term ‘VoIP’ refers to multiple services that all involve placing calls over the internet instead of the traditional copper wires of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). This means, to install VoIP services, you need to be connected to the internet. The two main services are Hosted PBX and SIP trunks, which can involve a variety of different features and functions depending on your service provider.

What is a Hosted PBX?

Hosted PBX (also known as virtual PBX, Cloud IP PBX and IP Centrex) is a telephone system that provides advanced calling features while eliminating the need for on-site equipment. The only equipment involved to set up and use a hosted PBX system is the purchase of IP phones. This is why VoIP telephony services are often referred to as “Plug and Play” (also, IP phones can typically be reused when changing VoIP providers).

In addition to traditional call features (such as Do not Disturb, Call Conferencing, Call Forward etc.), a hosted PBX offers advanced calling features. This includes an advanced call coverage feature called Find Me Follow Me (FMFM). FMFM  lets you forward your calls to one or several phone numbers simultaneously to never miss a call. Another advanced calling feature is Voicemail-to-Email which automatically delivers voice messages to your email. There are also a number of different advanced functions that a hosted PBX can create using customized call routing. Some examples include:

Customized auto attendant: an automated greeting that can direct callers to more than one physical location
Group hunting: when a caller wishes to reach sales, all the phones in the sales department will ring until someone picks up
Virtual numbers: a business can create a local number in any number of cities which will then route back to their main office without incurring long distance charges

What is a SIP Trunk?

A SIP Trunk (also known as IP trunking or SIP trunking) is a VoIP service that allows the user to maintain their existing telephone system and existing telephones. A SIP Trunk enables the user to connect to the PSTN over the internet rather than using traditional copper wires. Although this method usually results in great cost savings (due to line pooling, which is the ability to share phone lines across multiple physical locations), the calling features and some functionality is restricted to the PBX that is already in use by the business.

Questions to Ask Yourself

With this comparison in mind, if you’re switching to a VoIP service and would like to know which one is best for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How fast is your business growing? Can your existing system meet your growth requirements?

  2. Are you happy with your existing telephones and call features?

  3. What is your budget for a new phone system?

  4. How soon will the monthly cost reduction offset the cost of the equipment needed to make the switch?


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