Onsite Telephone Systems

On Premise or Onsite Telephony Systems

The on-premise or traditional telephone system or Private Branch Exchange (PBX) has been the mainstay of company communications since the 1960’s when it was first introduced as the way that large multi-national businesses communicated. In effect it was like having your own small telephone exchange in the company for their own internal use for free and then connect to the normal telephone exchange for external calls. These connections were traditionally analogue and then digital ISDN connections for better quality and clarity.

With the advent of faster, more available and cheaper internet connectivity from fibre broadband and cheaper fibre leased lines, technology developed the use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) handsets connected to the PBX to allow offsite connections for users but still connected to the PBX. However, development of these VoIP handsets resulted in the development of a cloud-based PBX and it is these cloud based hosted solutions that have been seen as the “PBX killer”.

So, is there still a place for an on-premise PBX?

Whilst there has been a dramatic shift to cloud telephony and a resulting decline in on premise PBX systems, we believe that there will still be a place for the on-premise PBX for certain scenarios and industries. Typically, the smaller business, say with under 20 extensions, and those business in modern offices with data network points for every desk, will typically move to a cloud-based solution. This is because for the first scenario, they get big system features and functionality without a big investment in onsite hardware. For the second, the move to VoIP handsets doesn’t require any big investment in infrastructure cabling as part of the hosted deployment.

Conversely, for those business in older, traditional offices with traditional telephone cabling or where installation of a full data network would be costly, for example listed, historic or old buildings, an on-premise system but using VoIP lines and not handsets can provide all the benefits of IP telephony but with the business retaining control of their solution for simplified management and a lower cost of deployment. For example, many secondary schools or hotels are in older buildings where cabling costs for network cabling to deploy wired IP handsets would be a significant capital cost and disruption as well as needing to be done before the hosted solution can be deployed.

Equally, many large business will continue to have on-premise PBX systems as they tend to have the following:

  • Have one centralised telephone system for all offices
  • Have large scale internet connections with backup or redundant connections
  • Like to retain their own control over the system for features and fine tuning
  • Prepare to invest in hardware on their own site rather than a “virtual” system

In addition, for those locations where the number of users is high and internal communications are key but they don’t experience a high number of external calls, having to pay a monthly rental for all users who use a phone can be quite costly, when viewed over a 3-year typical hosted solution initial contract.

In summary, we believe that there is a place for both on-premise and cloud-based telephony solutions. It is jus ta case of making user that you, the client, has the best solution based on your own needs

““Mike and the team at Flexicomms offer a first rate service for all our telephone and Wi-Fi needs and I’m pleased that we’ve switched our business needs to be managed by Flexicomms. From our initial meetings, Mike provided realistic, relevant and affordable options followed by hassle free installation and ongoing support. I’d have no hesitation in recommending Flexicomms”.

Ian Robinson, General Manager, White Hart Hotel