There are about as many different business type phone systems on the market as there are different cars, so how do you really sort through them and make an educated decision about which one is truly right for your business? The answer is you put them into different classes much like you would when you are considering buying a new car. When you decide that it is time to replace old Betsy with a newer model you first have to decide if you want a Van, SUV, Car or Truck. The phone system is much the same thing. Do you want VoIP (voice over internet protocol), a digital system, or a hosted solution?
Hosted Solutions – There are a significant number of companies out there that offer what is called VoIP Hosted or SIP trunks. These solutions will offer a very low cost initially since you do not need to purchase any hardware. The hosting company will typically send you the phones and set everything up for you free of charge in exchange for a yearly contract. Although this solution looks very appealing as it is easy on the budget and appears to be a great choice by the marketing material, the reality is that it has a lot of pitfalls and potential points of failure that they do not want you to know about.
Digital Phone System – These include systems like NEC and Toshiba. These systems are less expensive and typically offer a simple set of features, but do not offer the robust features that are found in the computer driven VoIP systems.
VoIP Systems – These include systems like Ipitomy, Digium, and SwitchVox. 90% of the VoIP systems that are available are all written on the same base Asterisk software with a nice user front end. Depending on the company that wrote the front end will depend on what features are available. This type of phone system runs on computer hardware and is typically very stable and reliable. This type of system is newer technology and is rapidly replacing the old outdated phone systems.