It may be difficult to understand the different options and components associated with choosing a digital phone system for your business if you are unfamiliar with the commonly-used terminology. Here are a few key terms to help you through the phone system process:
Cabinet – A cabinet is a box in which internal routing, external routing, and configurations take place. Key systems and PBX systems will both have cabinets. Cabinets are also referred to as a “central office” (CO), “key system unit” (KSU), “central unit”, or “base.”
CTI (computer telephony integration) – This is an optional set of applications that will integrate your business’ telephone system with a computer. CTI includes features that may be appealing to large businesses, such as one-click dialing, video conferencing, and incoming call routing, as well as many other timesaving features.
Extensions– Extensions allow multiple lines, fax machines, and modems to operate without the use of a dedicated phone line. With the use of extensions, an office only needs to have a single phone number.
Hybrid – A phone system that brings together the qualities of a PBX system and key system. Hybrid phone systems were created because the differences between the two systems have gradually disappeared over the years.
Key Systems – Also known as key telephone systems, this type of system is popular among small businesses. Key systems can support an office of up to 40 employees, and cost less than PBX systems while at the same time offering similar features.
KSU-less Systems – These systems work well with businesses with no more than ten employees. A cabinet is not needed with this type of system, because routing software is contained in the actual telephone. These systems are very affordable and are generally used by businesses that are more concerned with cost than phone features.
Lines – The telephone lines that come are used by your business. Lines may also be known as trunks by some telephone system vendors.
PBX (Private Branch Exchange) – These systems work best for businesses with at least forty employees and are extremely customizable offering many features. PBX phone systems are more expensive than other systems, but are easy to upgrade, which can save you money in the future.
Ports – The number of connections that a phone system can handle. Ports include the number of lines and extensions a phone system has. This term is most commonly used with PBX systems.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) – This type of system requires that your office has a high-speed Internet connection because calls are sent and received over the Internet. VoIp phone systems work well for businesses who make a lot of long distance of international calls.