Telephone System Types

There are several types of office phone systems that run on different technology platforms. They consist of VoIP, digital key or PBX, and analog. Before choosing the right telephone system for the heartbeat of your business, there are several factors to consider. Factors include how many telephones ( extensions ), business applications ( features ), existing or new infrastructure ( cabling, wiring ), and of course budget. The four types of telephone systems are Key KSU Less, KSU, PBX, and VoIP.

Summary of Telephone System Types

Key KSU Less

This type of system is the most basic of all telephone systems available, more suited for a small business with 10 or less employees. KSU-less systems offer many of the basic features of a larger system without the cost and installation of a central control box or KSU to operate. The technology is retained in the phones themselves, which can be programmed to perform specific features. KSU-less systems are generally installed, programmed, and maintained by the customer themselves as most interconnect or telephone vendors do not sell or support these inexpensive systems.

KSU ( Key System Unit )

Many of today’s key systems can now provide advanced features for smaller businesses (usually within the 5-75 employee range) that were only available to larger PBX systems. These key systems are often referred to as a hybrid telephone system, which have both characteristics of a key and PBX telephone system. The key system is a multi-line phone system supported by a central control device for connectivity. Key systems are typically installed and maintained by a telecom equipment vendor and can be expanded as a business grows.

PBX ( Private Branch Exchange )

A PBX telephone system is typically used in a larger business environment than a key system. Normally PBX systems are used in excess of 75 employees’. Most PBX systems already carry the needed basic features and many advanced features that are standard on these systems. PBX systems allow for the greatest flexibility and can support more complex implementations required by many larger businesses. Although higher upfront costs are usually associated with PBX phone systems, the customizable advanced features and flexibility may prove to be more economical over time. Like the key system, PBX systems also require a telecom vendor to install and support the equipment.

VoIP ( Voice over Internet Protocol or Voice over IP )

The latest technology platform allows offices to seamlessly connect in various locations domestically as well as worldwide. VoIP ( voice over internet protocol or voice over ip ) technology works by sending voice calls over the internet, eliminating the traditional telephone lines to make a call. Although VoIP technology allows communication between branch offices or remote workers, it does not eliminate the need for a phone service provider to connect your voice calls to the outside world. With a VoIP phone system, users can be anywhere in the world and still place or receive a call while retaining the same number. These systems are usually a traditional or hosted solution. A traditional VoIP system is a phone system where the business owns and manages the equipment itself. A hosted VoIP phone system is a service where the phone equipment is hosted by a VoIP service provider. With hosted VoIP, a business usually pays a higher monthly fee for these services, but lower upfront costs than a traditional VoIP system.