Hosted Voice Solutions: VoIP, PBX & SIP Trunking

Every business faces a critical decision regarding its communication system.

Should you leverage hosted voice solutions by outsourcing to a service provider?

Should you invest in an on-premises phone system?

Can you retain your investment in your on-premises Private Branch Exchange (PBX) equipment, but gain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities with Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking solutions?

Evaluating the options available for hosted voice solutions and selecting the right one for your business can be daunting. The following comparisons can help shed light on your options.

Hosted Voice Solutions vs. On-Premises PBX

An on-premises, company-owned system can be either a traditional legacy PBX or an IP-enabled PBX platform. In both cases, the system serves a single business and resides at the company’s location. On-premises options require your company to have in-house expertise. Your technical staff must perform more system work involving system installation, configuration, maintenance, repairs, upgrades and overall management. Your business must also make a significant investment in technology.

Hosted voice solutions offer an alternative to company-owned PBX systems. Hosted PBX continues to be a popular choice for businesses, especially small- to medium-sized companies. A Hosted PBX uses VoIP technology to transmit phone calls, converting analog voice signals to data packets and transporting them over an IP network.

In Hosted PBX solutions, service providers house VoIP equipment in their data centers. Your service provider manages, maintains, repairs, and upgrades the equipment that processes your business phone calls. You deploy IP desktop phones that connect to the service provider’s system usually through an on-premises router.

Compared to on-premises, company-owned PBXs, Hosted PBX solutions offer the following advantages:

  • Instead of a significant cash outlay to purchase a phone system, you pay a monthly fee for accessing a service provider’s solution. You save on initial capital costs. You also don’t have to pay to maintain separate voice and data networks.
  • Service providers do all the heavy lifting in managing the communication infrastructure. They own, maintain, and upgrade all the hardware and software components in their data center facility. You won’t need telecommunications experts on staff.
  • You can easily configure your phone service through online portals. Adding or removing users, changing system parameters, and establishing features require only a few clicks on a web page. You can easily scale your service to meet changing requirements.
  • Typically, hosted voice solutions offer more capabilities at a lower initial cost than on-premises PBX systems. Some noteworthy features include call routing, call forwarding, follow-me service, voicemail, auto attendant, conference calling, voicemail to email transcription, call reporting and call management.
  • Your business can leverage worker mobility. Remote workers and traveling employees can access system capabilities from any location with an Internet connection.
  • A proven service provider keeps their infrastructure up and running, even during a disaster. Backup systems ensure you always maintain communications. Creating multiple levels of redundancy for on-premises systems is usually unaffordable for many businesses.

SIP Trunking

SIP Trunking is a VoIP service that allows an existing PBX to access advanced functionality. If you have a traditional phone system, you can use a SIP trunk to connect to the cloud. Once connected, you can access the features and functionality of a Hosted PBX solution. Some of the benefits include:

  • Maintaining your investment in on-premises PBX equipment by providing an IP replacement for your traditional phone system.
  • Making and receiving calls more economically over your data network instead of the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).
  • Using existing bandwidth more efficiently by eliminating separate voice and data networks.
  • Accessing a significant number of enhanced features that may not be available without an expensive upgrade to your traditional PBX.

Whether you select Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking depends on your specific business requirements. Comparing your current and future needs to your available budget will tell you if a solution is beyond your reach. Many companies find that investing in a traditional PBX system doesn’t make sense for them.

However, if you already own an on-premises PBX, SIP Trunking offers a viable solution to preserve your investment yet expand your capabilities with hosted VoIP technologies. Once you evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your phone service options, you can decide the best way to go.

By providing more streamlined, intelligent and cost-efficient solutions, FairPoint Communications helps businesses of any size get the most from their voice applications. FairPoint offers two voice options: Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking. A cloud-based voice service, FairPoint’s Hosted PBX eliminates capital investments in telecommunications equipment. SIP Trunking leverages an organization’s existing on-premise equipment by connecting it to FairPoint’s advanced Softswitch network.

For more information on FairPoint Hosted PBX or SIP Trunking solutions, contact us today, or download our latest whitepaper titled “The Complete Guide to Hosted VoIP.”

Bob is the Product Manager responsible for Hosted PBX at FairPoint Communications, a leading provider of advanced communications technology in northern New England and 14 other states across the U.S.