What is the Difference Between PABX and Virtual PBX?

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shutterstock_94006867Business telephony has come a long way in just a few short years. From gargantuan switchboards manned by rows of operators plugging and unplugging connections, we have progressed to a system where now the only evidence of any hardware is a group of handsets and possibly a router.

This is basically the difference between a traditional PABX (Private Automatic Branch Exchange) and a Virtual PBX. While a PABX no longer needs human operators, it still needs hardware in the form of an automated switchboard, which is housed on the business premises.

A Virtual PBX, on the other hand, is a hosted service, where a third party provides all the functions of the PBX offsite at their own premises. Virtual PBX uses VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) to route calls via the Internet.

There are a number of distinct advantages to having a Virtual PBX rather than a traditional PABX. One of the main ones can be cost.

With an on-premise PABX, the business usually must purchase expensive hardware and pay ongoing maintenance costs, while with a Virtual PBX there is an option to have no initial outlay for hardware, other than the phone handsets and a router if required.

Other benefits of Virtual PBX include the possibility of:

  • immediate access to new features as they become available
  • upgrades and system maintenance are all taken care of by the service provider
  • the ability to quickly and easily add and remove extensions in line with business needs
  • continued supply of phone service, even in the event of an on-premise catastrophe by user remotely accessing the service.

The only downside, if any, to Virtual PBX is that the quality of the service is dependent upon the quality of the businesses’ Internet connection and the quality of the service provider they use. As long as these two factors are carefully considered at the outset, Virtual PBX would seem to offer too many potential advantages for it not to be the system of choice for most businesses both now and in the years to come.

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