A Guide to Phone Systems & What Suits Your Business

Are you unsure of what phone system would suit your business? Or are you unsure of even what systems are available to you? Read our helpful little guide and discover which is best for you.

To start off it’s best to understand what types of phone systems are available to yourself. These are:

  • Virtual phone systems
  • Landlines
  • VoIP
  • Cloud and on-premises systems
  • Virtual phone systems connect those who call a main business phone number to remote workers on their mobile or home phones.
  • These systems work as an extensive call-forwarding solution, transferring calls to an employee’s mobile or home phone instead of a desk phone when a customer calls the main phone number.
  • These systems include a variety of features, such as automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening, free call numbers and online faxing.

Best for: Small businesses with remote workers or soletraders.

  • Landlines in this instance are traditional phone systems, typically supported by a local or regional phone company.
  • Also known as public switched telephone networks (PSTNs), landlines are analog systems that run via the telephone company’s traditional copper wiring.
  • To run a landline service, you need on-premises PBX (private branch exchange) hardware. This is the hardware that can create multiple extensions and provide phone system features, such as call transferring and call directories.
  • Some landline systems today are considered hybrids with VoIP systems. There is a traditional phone line that connects to a business’s data network, which it uses to connect each individual phone.
  • Many phone system providers are phasing out landline systems, so it might be difficult to find one that still offers this type of service. 

Best for: Large businesses that have the budget for them and an in-house IT staff to manage and maintain them; necessary for businesses without high-speed internet access

  • Instead of the copper wires that landlines run on, VoIP phone systems use the same internet connection that a company already uses.
  • VoIP systems provide a feature set that previously only large businesses using expensive PBX hardware had access to, such as automated attendants, call queues, and computer integration, which allows voicemails to be sent to email inboxes and computers to be turned into softphones.
  • VoIP systems give remote workers access to the business’s phone system from their mobile devices.

Best for: Small businesses wanting the functionality of a sophisticated phone system at a reasonable price and businesses that want their remote employees to have access to the phone system

If you decide that a VoIP system is best for you, your next decision is how you want it hosted. While landline systems require you to house the equipment inside your business, VoIP systems give you the option to buy your equipment outright and self-host or to rent the equipment from your service provider, who hosts it in the cloud. 

On-Premises VoIP Systems

  • With on-premises systems, all the equipment, including the PBX hardware to keep the phone system running, is housed within your business.
  • On-premises systems require a large capital expenditure, as you are purchasing the equipment upfront.
  • While you pay one-time fees for all the hardware with a self-hosted system, with an on-premises system, you pay monthly fees for your SIP trunking, or PRI circuit, which is what allows you to make and receive calls.
  • Your IT staff is responsible for maintenance, repairs and upgrades of the system.

Best for: Businesses that don’t feel comfortable using the cloud and want total control over their system and access to the equipment at all times; businesses with an in-house IT team that can set up and maintain a VoIP system; businesses with regulatory or compliance requirements that may be difficult to meet in the cloud

  • With cloud-hosted systems, there is no maintenance or hardware other than phones to worry about. The service provider houses, maintains and upgrades all of the PBX technology for you.
  • The cloud allows growing businesses to easily add new lines and provides quick access to new features.
  • Businesses typically pay a monthly fee on a per-user basis.

Best for: Growing businesses on a fixed budget that don’t have an IT staff to operate and maintain PBX hardware; businesses that want quick access to new phone system features or have multiple locations and want their system all on one platform.

Now that you have the lowdown on the differing phone systems why not contact PRS today to see how we can help you implement the right bespoke solution for your business

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