Running a business voice network can certainly present challenges to the network manager—especially in a smaller company where a small staff is typically responsible for the entire IT burden. Fortunately for such harried network admins, there are plenty of companies out there that are more than happy to take on part or all of that load. And by handing off the task of running the phone system to an outside provider, you not only cut down on your workload, you might even save some money at the same time.
The type of service offering that we are talking about goes by several different names, including Hosted PBX or a Hosted Telephone System. And since up-to-date phone systems today run on IP networks, rather than the traditional TDM phone network built by Ma Bell in the last century, they are often called Hosted IP PBX or Hosted Voice over IP (VoIP) services.
This article is the first in what will be an ongoing effort at [sister site] Enterprise VoIPplanet.com to review the offerings as many of the regional and national hosted PBX providers as we can find. As such—at the risk of being a touch academic—let’s lay out some background, starting by parsing some of the terms used above.