Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Impact of Internet on Virtual Phone Systems

It was in 1960 when the introduction of IP (Internet Protocol) was made. This was also the period when advanced phone systems like the Centrex (Central Exchange) were developed as a cheaper replacement for traditional PBX (Private Branch eXchange) systems. Among the telecommunication companies that provided their own brand to market this revolutionary phone system were Qwest Communications (Centrex Prime), SBC Communications (Centron) and Verizon-Nynex (Intellipath).

The Centrex provided by these telecommunication companies, back then, were still using analog even if ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) technology was already utilized to provide connectivity with the subscribing company. Few providers offer true digital service of this phone system from the likes of BT (FeatureNet) and Telstra (CustomNet). But, still these companies link-up with their clients with the use of copper wires wherein multi-pair are required for multiple stations. One exemption, though, is the C&W (Cable & Wireless) Centrex Service in London, UK which made use of the more advanced fiber optic connections on their virtual PBX.

With the existence of the internet, the distinction between a PBX and a virtual PBX system like the Centrex is now evident. In a Centrex system the hosting provider’s premise houses the hardware used for call control and switching while in a regular PBX system both these components reside in the provider’s complex.

Regardless thought, IP telephony technology has made it possible for voice packets to travel from the users’ phone to the provider then to outside PSTN networks the same way data packets travel in a local area network. This setup ably prevents internal phone calls from traveling outside the company and being infiltrated.

Moreover, by using IP, the voice messages are not the only one transmitted between connected parties, but other data as well, such as images and videos. IP also made data transmission on virtual PBX phone systems to other links more reliable and secure.

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