What is PBX

PBX (private branch exchange) is a telephone exchange that serves just one company. This is a cheaper alternative to leasing a bunch of telephone lines from any one telephone company. Think of how costly it would be to lease a private line to every employee in some of the larger companies!

PBXs, through the use of trunks, make connections through internal lines that are connected to each individual phone. The employees can then pick up the phone, and through the use of the PBX, make outside calls after dialing the outside access code. Some of the main PBX functions are establishing connections, maintaining connections, and disconnecting the connections when required.

Some of the other various PBX capabilities are as follows:

  • Auto dialing
  • Call transfer
  • Call waiting
  • Conference call
  • Do not disturb
  • On hold music
  • Voice mail

These are just a few of the various functions preformed by the PBX.

The PBX is comprised of a few different components. The first and foremost component is the switching boards, which manages the connections. This type of function used to be done by the old-fashioned switchboard operators back in the day. A microcomputer is used for some of the more fivilous data processing, and some simple logic. An uninteruptable power supply (UPS), which makes sure that the PBX is always getting power. There also are some batteries contained within the PBX for emergency back-up.

A common PBX system in use is Avayas’s System 75 and system 85. Northern Telcom is another popular PB system manufacterer, as are NEC and Mitel. As for the software based components, the following are a few open source options made available by the users that support it:

  • Asterisk
  • FreeSWITCH
  • OpenPBX

Other types of PBX include Mobile PBX, IP-PBX, or a hosted PBX. Mobile PBX allows for PBX functions to be used via a cellphone, PDA, or other similar device. IP-PBX uses VoIP technologies for the calls, which may be carried out by a traditional PBX, or with the use of a software system. A hosted PBX is essentially gaining the features and usage of a PBX, only through the use of a PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network). This simply means that the company may use the PBX system from the telephone company without having to actually own a PBX and maintain the hardware fro it. Sometimes this may prove to be more practical for a companies needs. With all of these options available, it makes for a great technology that businesses all around may utilize.

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