IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) is a telephone switching system that allows people place internal calls within a local network, as well as externally to other phone lines. This could enable people to make VoIP-to-VoIP, VoIP-to-analog or analog-to-analog calls. In addition to IP PBX software, certain accessories are needed in order to implement the private telephone switching system.
How it Works
IP PBX works by converting IP phone calls into traditional circuit-switched calls which combines voice and data communications into one line. Users have a choice between hosted IP PBX and non-hosted IP PBX. When IP PBX is hosted by another company, you will not be required to have any special equipment beyond the normal VoIP accessories. You may have to upload your IP PBX provider's software onto your computer, however. Those who choose to implement a non-hosted IP PBX system at home or the office will need to purchase the actual PBX device that converts signals, gateway service for calling people on the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and software. Asterisk offers open source software that you can download for no charge.
What to Look For
Should you use a hosted IP PBX service, then your provider will be able to help you assess what you need to install on your end. Should you wish to install an IP PBX system for private use, Asterisk is strongly recommended and the open source community will be very helpful to you it is time to choose hardware. Digium, which offers IP PBX hardware, is operated by Asterisk's founder. A definitive IP PBX equipment checklist is hard to assemble, as different users require different hardware. However, always remember to research each product and comparison shop between brands. See what other users are saying about certain products. With so many new VoIP companies entering the industry, you will certainly have a wide variety of equipment to choose from.