How To Make an Educated Phone System Purchase


Purchasing a phone system for your business can be a big investment, especially if it’s your first. Like any business investment, to get the most return for your dollar, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for.

Business phone systems are a tremendous asset for many reasons. Customer service, branding, inter-office communication, and convenience can all be enhanced with the right equipment and features. But with any with any communication tool, technical terms and industry jargon come standard. If you spend most of your time running a business and not installing phone equipment, researching the right phone system may have your head swimming.

We understand you need to focus on your business, not on your communication tools, which is why One Call Technology is Middle Tennessee’s single source for vital business communications and services. This helpful cheat sheet of phone system terms and definitions will empower you to understand all your options in the buying process.

ISDN – Integrated digital services network is an international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires. ISDN supports data transfer rates of 64 Kbps (64,000 bits per second).

There are two types of ISDN:

  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI) — consists of two 64-Kbps B-channelsand one D-channelfor transmitting control information.
  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI) — consists of 23 B-channels and one D-channel (U.S.) or 30 B-channels and one D-channel (Europe).

The original version of ISDN employs baseband transmission. Another version, called B-ISDN, uses broadband transmission and is able to support transmission rates of 1.5 Mbps.

PRI – is a telecommunications interface standard used on an Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) for carrying multiple digital signal 0 voice and data transmissions between the network and a user. A PRI uses anywhere from 8-23 channels instead of lines. With channels you have multiple talk paths. These talk paths create the same function as an analog telephone line.

PBX – Private Branch Exchange  is a private telephone network used within a company. Users of the PBX phone system share a number of outside lines for making external phone calls. A PBX connects the internal telephones within a business and also connects them to the public switched telephone network (PSTN), VoIP Providers and SIP Trunks.

VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers.

VoIP services convert your voice into a digital signal that travels over the Internet. If you are calling a regular phone number, the signal is converted to a regular telephone signal before it reaches the destination. VoIP can allow you to make a call directly from a computer, a special VoIP phone, or a traditional phone connected to a special adapter.

Take advantage of VoIP technology using a hosted phone system.

PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network is the world’s collection of interconnected voice-oriented public telephone networks, both commercial and government-owned. It’s also referred to as the Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS). It’s the aggregation of circuit-switching telephone networks that has evolved from the days of Alexander Graham Bell. Today, it is almost entirely digital except for the final link from the central (local) telephone office to the user.

IP Phone – A VoIP phone or IP phone uses Voice over IP technologies for placing and transmitting telephone calls over an IP network, such as the Internet, instead of the traditional public switched telephone network (PSTN).

SIP Trunking – Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is the use of voice over IP (VoIP) to facilitate the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the Internet. A SIP trunk replaces the need for traditional analog, PSTN connections with termination instead provided over a company’s public or private Internet connection through a SIP provider.

VPN – A Virtual Private Network extends a private network across a public network, such as the Internet. It acts as a secure tunnel between two devices.

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