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PABX

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HISTORY LESSON OF PABX

What Is PABX?

A private automatic branch exchange (PABX) is an automatic telephone switching system within a private enterprise. Originally, such systems - called private branch exchanges (PBX) - required the use of a live operator. Since almost all private branch exchanges today are automatic, the abbreviation "PBX" usually implies a "PABX."

This telephone network is commonly used by call centres and other businesses. With a traditional PBX, you are typically constrained to a certain maximum number of outside telephone lines (trunks) and to a certain maximum number of internal telephone devices or extensions. Users of the PABX phone system (phones or extensions) share the outside lines for making external phone calls.

The users of the PABX phone system can communicate internally (within their company) and externally (with the outside world), using different communication channels like Voice over IP, ISDN or analogue. A PABX also allows you to have more phones than physical phone lines (PTSN) and allows free calls between users. Additionally, it provides features like transfer calls, voicemail, call recording, interactive voice menus (IVR) and call queues.

Traditional PBX would have their own proprietary phones, such that there would be a way to re-use these phones with a different system. This means that we either have system-lock-in (we are bound to the same system because changing system means also changing phones, which makes it prohibitively expensive to break away) or vendor-lock-in (we are bound to the same vendor because the phones are only usable with systems from the same vendor, sometimes only within a particular range of systems).

Time and technology, however, have changed the consumer telephony landscape, with the flag-bearer being the Open-Standards-based IP PABX. The point of the “IP” in this new era is that the phone calls are delivered using the Internet Protocol as the underlying transport technology.

PABX phone systems are available as hosted or virtual solutions and as on-premise solutions to be run on your own hardware.

Switching to an IP PABX brings with it many benefits and opens up possibilities, allowing for almost unlimited growth in terms of extensions and trunks, and introducing more complex functions that are more costly and difficult to implement with a traditional PBX, such as:

  • Ring Groups
  • Queues
  • Digital Receptionists
  • Voicemail
  • Reporting