As you probably already know, a well-configured switchboard is essential to guarantee a good telephone reception for your callers. Especially since the telephone remains the preferred means of contact for interacting with customer service.
Among the many solutions available to you to equip your business with telephony, there is the PABX, a system based on the PSTN, and the IPBX, which goes through the Internet network. And you may be wondering which one to choose for your business!
These two technologies give you access to many services and various functionalities, designed to make your telephony an essential element within your company. Nevertheless, with the shutdown of the PSTN, the PABX is set to disappear in favor of the IPBX.
Through this article, we will introduce you to the PABX, a technology that has survived the decades and has become a standard for many companies. You will learn more about how it works, its advantages and disadvantages as well as the differences it presents compared to the PBX and the reasons why it will soon be out of date.
What is a PABX?
The PABX (Private Automatic Branch eXchange) or PBX is a private automatic branch exchange hosted within a company. Said like that, it doesn’t necessarily have to speak to you… To make it simpler, it’s telephone equipment that allows a company to automatically manage communications between several telephone sets and to establish communications with the public telephone network (for external calls).
The PBX is a classic telephone switchboard that has a whole set of useful features for the telephony needs of a company such as the configuration of an IVR, the automatic distribution of calls(ACD), internal or external calls, call transfer, pre-answer, telephone hold or call recording. It is based on analog technology, unlike the PBX which is based on VOIP.
The History of PBX Systems
In principle, most of us are familiar with the PABX, this switchboard connected to the famous “T” socket (which does not make us any younger…). But before being the PABX that we know today, this system underwent several evolutions.
The first PBX system was developed in the 1880s, shortly after the creation of the first telephone, and required a human operator to manually redirect calls.
By the early 1960s, businesses were setting up their own PBX equipment and were able to begin to reduce their telecommunications costs. For those with limited means, they bought or rented a small number of telephone lines and switchboard blocks from operators.
About 10 years later, more and more professionals are beginning to adopt the PABX. Indeed, at the beginning of the 1970s, companies abandoned the public network to discover the advantages of the switchboard system by private branch exchange: transfer of calls, extension dialing, installation of an answering machine, etc.
The main incumbent PABX providers
Alcatel-Lucent, leader of the French market
Alcatel offers PABX switchboards, suitable for all types of businesses. Alcatel PABX solutions can be deployed on PSTN, ASL or Trunk SIP environments.
Mitel, 2nd French actor
Mitel is a leader in unified communications and collaboration. The company offers a wide range of products, ranging from the IPBX, to servers or even to sets and telephone accessories.
Avaya, one of the recognized leaders
Avaya, an international company specializing in business communications, offers a range of services such as business telephony, call center and PABX maintenance.
Panasonic is a large Japanese group specializing in electronics for individuals and professionals. The company has been providing PBX telephone systems to businesses around the world for over 30 years.
Siemens offers a range of switchboards mainly suited to small structures, namely VSEs and SMEs. Siemens offers a complete range of very affordable mini switchboards suitable for very small businesses.
Cisco specializes in network hardware and servers and produces IP phones supporting PBX systems suitable for SMB and large enterprise phone systems.