IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) is a telephone switching system that allows people to speak internally within a local network, as well as externally to other phone lines. Those who use an IP PBX will be able to make VoIP-to-VoIP, VoIP-to-analog or analog-to-analog calls. A traditional private branch exchange (simply called PBX) involves only analog lines, so the IP PBX is a newer and more flexible technology.
How it Works
IP PBX works by converting IP phone calls into traditional circuit-switched calls, thereby combining voice and data communications into one line. A traditional PBX, however, must send voice and data communications in two separate lines. With the lines converged, those using an IP PBX will be able to access the Internet, speak on a VoIP telephone and speak on an analog telephone using the same network line.
What You'll Need
To set up a personal IP PBX system, you will need the IP PBX hardware, phones (or softphones) and software for your computer. Open source software can be found for free, such as Asterisk IP PBX. Should you opt to use a third-party to host your IP PBX, you will simply need to download that company's IP PBX software onto your computer.
There are two ways to use IP PBX for your home and business communications. One is to set up non-hosted IP PBX hardware near your computers, thereby routing your information into a machine and converging all communication lines. Your other option is to use hosted IP PBX services, which routes your communications through a third-party company's equipment. The latter is much simpler, as it means that you won't have to buy and install any software yourself. Also, it means that you will have access to professionals who can help you troubleshoot any issues that arise. Some people, however, prefer to have complete control over their IP PBX. Those who are technically savvy may indeed save a little money by using non-hosted IP PBX.