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Fast Guide to Office Phone Systems

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There are many choices to make when it comes to your office phone systems. As a business owner, you can choose to house the entire system on-site or choose to use an internet-based system that houses minimum equipment at your location. With each system, there are different features that benefit your business.  

In order to better help you with your decision, we have created a fast guide to office phone systems. In this guide, you will find explanations of different systems and a few pros and cons to each office phone system. 

Office Phone Systems 

The first thing you need to know is that there are a lot of acronyms and abbreviations when it comes to office phone systems. Let’s review those first: 

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)VoIP gives you telephone services without the use of telephone lines. Everything is run through the internet and internet connections.  

Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): Similar to VoIP, UCaaS is run over the internet.  However, along with telephone services, UCaaS gives you many more features and promotes many more services.  Through UCaaS, you can also use video, messaging, SMS, and more through desktop and mobile apps.   

Private branch exchange (PBX): PBX is general term used to describe an office phone system that has several lines. Therefore, all systems mentioned here are PBX systems. 

Now that we have the basic acronyms and abbreviations defined, let’s jump into the different types of office phone systems you could choose from. 

On-Premise PBX 

On-premise PBX : On-premise PBX is closest to a traditional phone line for businesses.  When utilizing on-premise PBX, a business will have an equipment closet to house all technology.  The system will have current technology that can allow for voice over internet protocol (VoIP) capabilities (with SIP trunking*) if the business owner chooses to switch to VoIP. On-premise PBX uses a network connection to make voice calls.  

*SIP trunking is when PBX can rely on public telephone networks, not legacy phone lines. SIP is not only suited for VoIP but also other unified communications features.  


On-premise PBX office phone systems are Ideal for enterprises that may already have the infrastructure, bandwidth and network settings required to host their own phone system. 


You will need an in-house IT administrator who can handle small daily tasks and run the PBX. 

On-Premise VoIP 

On-premise VoIP: On-premise VoIP is an internet (or cloud) based phone system. All equipment and software are house on-site.  This means that everything is owned and maintained by the business.  


Once the initial payments are made, no further expenses are incurred besides upkeep.  


The business owner will have complete control of the system. All maintenance and any updates will be the responsibility of the business owner. This could result in an added IT expense at an inopportune time. 

Hosted PBX 

Hosted PBXHosted PBX is an internet-based phone system. The phone service provider will house all the technology needed for phone services.  The physical phone set plugs into an internet connection. The only equipment needed on-site are the phones and a router.  


When your business uses hosted PBX, maintenance, installation, upgrades, and upkeep is taken care of by the provider. Scalability is easy, as all you need is another handset. They often come with desktop and softphone apps, adding mobility to the office phone system.  


You will need a high-speed internet connection in order to utilize hosted PBX to its full capabilities. 

Unified Communications 

Unified Communications: Unified Communications (UC) is a cloud-based communications system that combines voice functions with other aspects of communication.  Features include chat, video, email, SMS, directory of information on employees and clients and more. 


Unified communications streamlines all of your business communications. This creates a simple and efficient work environment. 


Your business may not need all the features included with the system, so you may be paying for services that you do not use.  

Which one should you choose? 

Whatever office phone system you choose for your business, Unitel has you covered.  We would love to work with you to figure out which system is best for you and your business. Our offerings include all four types of phone systems mentioned above, and each is packed full of the features you need to run a successful business. 

Contact us today to get started with the office phone system that not only meets your needs but helps your business excel.