A business telephone network is a multiline phone system usually only used in business environments, encompassing networks ranging from the main public switched telephone network to the internal branch exchange. The structure of this system usually depends on whether it is an enterprise or a small to medium size business. In large organisations, the telephone network is usually controlled by the central commercial network that includes multiple accesses via the different telephone networks within the business organisation. Some organisations use their own internal switches and have dedicated internal telephones. There are other organisations who rely on a public switch but have a separate internal network.
Choosing the right business telephone system requires a number of factors. The first decision should be whether the business needs to have its own switch or use a public switched facility. This will depend largely on the type of business, the geographical location and the traffic volume expected to flow through the system. In most cases, it is more cost effective to purchase the internal switch as there are no ongoing maintenance costs involved. However, if the business operates in a highly productive and complex product or service, then the internal switch may be the only option.
When deciding on a business phone system, it is usually necessary to find a provider that offers hosted VoIP services. Hosted VoIP allows calls to be made over the internet protocol (IP), normally an IP-based protocol. There are many advantages to using a hosted service. The most obvious benefit is cost savings, as a hosted VoIP supplier does not need to maintain any infrastructure and its call handling capacity is increased significantly. Some providers also offer advanced features such as three way conferencing with participants located in separate offices, as well as video conferences.
It is also becoming increasingly common for businesses to use hosted voice over internet protocol services to reduce their IT costs. Hosted telephone systems are based on the same principals as other business telephone systems, where the central switching station is connected to all the other phones through a single Ethernet cable. A number of providers offer hosted VoIP calling plans for businesses who require unified communications at a low monthly fee.
One of the main features of a hosted business telephone system is multi-line phone system. This feature provides small businesses with the ability to provide their employees with an efficient contact solution that incorporates voice, data and intercom capabilities. A multi-line phone system provides features that can reduce call handling times and allows employees to enter and exit a building without the need for multiple phone calls. Some of the features available include auto attendant, conference calling, call transfer, call waiting, call return, find me follow me call forwarding and much more. The advanced features available can also reduce the cost of operating the business telephone system.
To save even more money, small businesses can buy handsets pre-installed with the business telephone system. Handsets can be bought and configured with the phone numbers of the extensions in order to make local, long distance and international calls at low rates. These pre-configured handsets to make calls with a specific extension even cheaper since there are no separate expenses for these extensions.
The automated attendant is another important feature of a hosted business telephone number. An automated attendant allows small businesses to have an answering machine, receptionist or voicemail, without the additional cost of personnel. The automated attendant gives customers and employees the option of answering the phone with a pre-recorded message, or by selecting an option from a variety of options provided by the phone system. The messages are designed to be easy to understand, and are often available in multiple languages.
Small businesses may also consider a hosted VoIP phone service. VoIP is a high-speed phone service that can connect callers to a conventional landline or cell phone plan. Many companies may prefer to use this type of phone service in place of their current phone service, as it provides more features for a lower cost. VoIP services typically include three to five lines connected to one main line and provide high-speed connectivity for voice calls. Business phone service plans are usually less expensive with a hosted VoIP plan.