Hosted PBX as a Service

(We offer this option)
  • Great choice for small businesses, medium-sized businesses, and businesses with lots of sites
  • No PBX hardware to buy
  • Monthly fee per user for the PBX
  • Extremely scalable solution
  • Typically resilient, when it comes to hardware. More than one PBX, usually
  • Connectivity problems → No internal or external calls
  • Software upgrades several times per year. You've no control over when they take place.

Purchased On-Site PBX at each site

(We offer this option too)
  • Great choice for large businesses and for businesses with large offices
  • You'll need to purchase a PBX. They're quite expensive.
  • If you have multiple sites, you will need to buy multiple PBXs, unless you have a WAN that can carry your calls to a central PBX
  • There's no monthly fee per PBX user (but you may still have to pay monthly for hardware support)
  • Scalability generally involves paying for spare capacity upfront
  • Adding further capacity later can be expensive
  • Minimal resilience, when it comes to hardware. Sites are dependent on a single PBX
  • PBX(s) live in your server room(s), taking up space and consuming power
  • Connectivity problems → No external calls. But internal on-site calls are still possible
  • You have some influence over when system upgrades are scheduled
  • Your choice of telecoms supplier is independent of your choice of phone system

Generic Brand Phones

(We offer this option, using Polycom phones)
  • Likely to be materially cheaper than premium brands
  • More than adequate for most businesses
  • Top-of-the-range phones are surprisingly good (e.g. featuring colour touchscreens etc)
  • Lots of 'partner' organisations can sell you the partner or offer you paid support contracts
  • Generic manufacturers aren't necessarily small, they're just not as well known as the premium brands. For example, Polycom's annual revenue is over $1.2bn - similar to Mitel's.
  • Phones tend to be touted as 'standards based.' The implicit idea: it's possible to mix & match hardware from multiple manufacturers, e.g. the phones made by one manufacturers will work with a PBX made by another firm, so long as both bits of hardware support the same standard.
  • Likely to grow market share (due to low prices)

Premium Phone Brands

(We offer this option too, using Mitel phones)
  • Usually more expensive than lesser-known brands
  • Not always worth the price premium
  • Premium brands tend to have more resellers (aka 'partners') than generic brands
  • Premium brands have lots of niche solutions, perfect for large firms such as hotel chains, investment banks and major retail chains
  • Premium brand phones often support standards, but tend to have proprietary extensions that require a PBX from the same manufacturer in order to work fully
  • Homogeneous ecosystems → few interoperability issues

Modern IP Phone System

(We offer this option)
  • Phones plug into your existing LAN / WAN
  • A single PBX can power phones in multiple offices
  • The PBX connects to the outside world using SIP trunks (or similar)
  • Features are powered by software, running on a high-spec server
  • The system is scalable (it's easy to add more RAM etc)
  • LAN has to be configured appropriately, or call quality can suffer
  • Lower phone bills, as SIP trunks are cheaper than ISDN channels
  • Lower connectivity bills, as leased lines are cheaper per bit than ISDN circuits
  • Changes are made by your IT Manager

Non-VoIP Phone System

(We don't offer this option)
  • You need two networks: one for your phones, another for your PCs
  • Every office requires its own PBX
  • The system connects to the outside world using ISDN circuits
  • Features are primarily determined by electronic circuitry
  • Limited scalability, but some expansion is often possible
  • Standard call quality
  • Call quality is unaffected by poor LAN configuration
  • Changes are made by a PBX maintainer