Types of Business Phones

Different Types of Business Phone Service Explained

Explanation of traditional business phone service

Traditional phone lines which have been a mainstay for many years from traditional carriers like AT&T or one of the old Bell companies for small businesses, are copper lines or what is also known as CO lines. This type of phone service has one pair of copper wires for each phone line and each phone line will have its own distinct phone number associated with it. These lines will probably be set up in a rollover sequence, where the main number of the business is set as line one. If a call is placed when line one is busy, then that call will automatically roll to the second line, and so forth. This roll over is set with the carrier. If a business has for example three lines and all three of those lines are in use, then the next caller will receive a busy tone.

Understanding Different Types of Business Phone Services

Man with crystall ball predicting future of VoIP.Types of phone circuits for small businesses are typically:

Business phone systems have changed drastically in the last few years thanks to VoIP. Whether you place your voice communications all in the cloud or use a PBX to connect through VoIP, costs can be reduced.

Business IP PBX VoIP phone system.VoIP (Voice over IP) can be used with an in-house IP-PBX using SIP trunks or by subscribing to hosted VoIP or cloud based phone service. The advantages of Internet communications can be leveraged to increase sales, employee productivity, and bottom line profitability. As more and more services are moving to the cloud statistics show a large increase in moving voice services, as well. Using customer relationship software apps integrated with office phones works to unify communications, the best strategy for increased productivity.


Advantages/disadvantages keeping existing phone lines

When keeping a business's traditional service, but reducing the size of the package (number of lines and other services, like carrier voicemail) an overall savings can be accomplished, without having to completely change carriers.

Advantages of keeping an existing business phone service include:
  • No penalties for early cancellation if there is a current contract.
  • No need to cancel services or move numbers from one carrier to another.
  • Ability to lower costs by buying less lines or services without a total cancellation and move of carriers.
Advantages of adding additional services include:
  • Lowering overall costs by adding low cost SIP trunks to your existing traditional service. Either add SIP trunks for more capacity at lower calling costs or reduce the number of copper lines and add SIP trunks to keep capacity.
  • Redundancy- if your business has let's say, two copper lines and two SIP trunks through the Internet, one can go down and you still have the other for phone calls.
  • When keeping the main line (main phone number) and fax line other lines can be removed from current carrier without number ramifications, in most cases.
Disadvantages to keeping your existing service include:
  • Having more service providers, rather than just one.
  • In some cases, especially with cable Internet providers, you can bundle for extra discounts, which will save monthly expenses.
  • Traditional business phone lines are more expensive than business hosted VoIP lines.

Which Phone Service Would Be Best for Your Business?

Hosted VoIP (Cloud based phone service):

  • New small businesses with a robust Internet pipe who want robust features.
  • Companies looking to limit initial costs and will budget a monthly charge accordingly.
  • Multiple small locations that need to call each other and transfer calls between locations. Or companies that may be moving in the near future.
  • Companies that make lots of outbound calls or have lots of inbound calls.
  • Organizations that make International calls on a regular basis.

Cloud Based Phone Service or Hosted Business VoIP

An on premise small Asterisk based PBX system:

  • Companies that may want to keep some or all of their existing traditional phone lines.
  • Businesses that have an IT person who would easily be able to handle their in-house system.
  • Companies pricing an in-house IP-PBX will find lower costs over 1 year and save on unneeded extra equipment and services. The recommended UCM62xx IP-PBX will handle video conferencing, video surveillance and integrate with CRM packages.
  • Organizations that want the latest technology, plus the ability to add low cost carriers via SIP trunking.
  • Companies that are changing services, for example, going to a cable Internet connection for savings could also get phone service from the cable carrier to save even more money and would connect their lines to a new IP-PBX.

Costs of 3 Top Rated Asterisk PBX Systems


A new low cost digital phone system

  • Looking to replace a failing older key system with a newer system that offers the best pricing.
  • Companies wanting better features, like voicemail and an attendant, but still keep a more traditional PBX phone system.
  • Businesses that have had their current phone system break and need to replace it with one that can connect to their existing phone lines and is easy to operate and is affordable.
  • Organizations that are setting up multiple business locations and need a good affordable phone system and want each location to have identical systems.
  • Companies looking to buy a good reliable business phone system that's affordable with a good feature set, but don't need all the latest bells and whistles.

Costs for Asterisk based systems are lower than ever

Several manufacturers are making IP-PBX systems, some capable of connecting right up to traditional CO phone lines with built in FXO ports, that are better and lower in cost than the best PBXs from just a few years past. Using Asterisk with Linux has cut costs dramatically and has made in-house management of the phone system easy. Many of these systems are are now the top choice of all but the biggest companies. Here you can see examples of costs for three top rated Asterisk based PBX appliances with a suggestion of phones and a PoE switch for a 15 phone office.

Which phone system is right for you?

Three types of customers:

Not all small business customers have the same needs and not everyone desires the same types of services and features. While some phone system choices make more sense due to circumstances, such as getting a new, first phone system or replacing an aged, failing key system, some customers just want a good sound basic phone system at a reasonable price. Here are three basic types of possibilities:

  • 1) New small business or need the latest best technology and wants to save on operating costs.

These are the prime customers for either a cloud based phone service (hosted VoIP) or an Asterisk PBX appliance.

  • 2) Want to upgrade to later technology, but do not want to give up current traditional phone company.

In this scenario it would be best to either add a VoIP service or to change to a small VoIP PBX system that would be able to easily connect to a few existing phone lines.

  • 3) Needs to replace the older failing key phone system, but just wants a reliable, good phone system with good features at a low price. Not all phone locations have cabling for a data connection.

An exceptionally good, easy to install, low cost business phone system should offer everything that this customer would want. like a NEC DSX-40 phone system.


Our definition of a small business is less than 11 phones. These companies are the ones that we focus on and are generally ideal candidates for business hosted VoIP services, a small Asterisk based in premise phone system and for those wanting to remain with a more traditional system a NEC DSX-40.

Telephone Service Types:

1FB(s)- This terminology refers to Flat Business line (1FB) and is a plain old telephone service (POTS) providing dial tone. A 1FB line(s) has limited features and a custom calling feature package will require additional charges.
CO lines- A CO (Central Office) line refers to an incoming line provided to you by your local phone company.
T1- T1 service can be provided as channelized or un-channelized. (1.544 Mb)

  • Channelized T1- there are 24 channels. Each channel can handle a telephone call. A T1 gives you 24 phone lines, but will not be able to carry some special services like Caller ID.
  • PRI- divides a T1 digital signal into 24 channels of 64 Kbps capacity per channel. 23 of these channels can be assigned as one telephone call each. The 24th channel is used for signaling information and special features such as caller ID. A PRI provides DID or Direct Inbound Dialing for direct station calling with a 10 digit number.
  • Un-channelized T1- (also sometimes referred to a data T1) treats all 24 T1 line channels as one big combined channel for carrying Internet service. This type of service is intended to be handled by digital routers, not a PBX telephone system.

When an Experts Advice is the Best Way to Go

As a business owner looking to replace an older phone system, the amount of obtainable information can be daunting. Perhaps the most efficient and most convenient solution is to review a few competitive quotes for an on-premise phone system that best meets your needs. Professional advice can serve you well and contribute in making your next phone system just right.

Take a minute to respond to a few straightforward
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