A Brief History of Phone Systems

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Small and medium-sized businesses can sometimes have difficulty investing in communications equipment if their needs are too costly or complex. TelcoHQ provides several options for phone systems, including internet packages with Voice over IP (VoIP) support using IP PBX. TelcoHQ also offers unified communications platforms for modern phone systems, with automatic call distribution (ACD) and other features like a centralized control transparent network (T-NET).

The term phone system includes many different products and technologies, from the old manual switchboard exchanges, to handsets with key switching systems. 

Handsets with keys (buttons that switch lines) were intended for consumer use, though these types of products have been phased out in favour of more hybrid systems or private branch exchanges as they offer a lot more functionality. As integrated circuits became more common in the 1980s, it was possible to reduce the size and amount of wires in the key system, making key telephones closer to non-key systems in size. The newer systems also included more options, including built-in answering machines, caller ID, speed dialling, and remote supervision.

While the original switchboards were so big they had to be given their own room, modern key system phones now have many of the capabilities that defined early board exchanges. They also support both analog and digital signals, making them hybrid key systems. These phones are made to handle many protocols and communications standards, including the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN).

There are still uses for private branch exchanges, however. Modern key system phones often still need an exchange to call voicemail or the back office. A PBX’s main benefit is the ability to handle internal call switching locally, thereby reducing the need for central-office lines, and saving money. In contrast to a key switch system, a PBX uses a numbering plan for its different lines or stations. This means a PBX sets the outgoing line automatically, either with or without a digit sequence entered into the phone.

Nowadays PBX technology is trending towards IP-based solutions, with VoIP taking over the functions previously handled by an operator or the ISDN. This allows for multimodal access to the network (cell phones, for example) and allows a phone to call multiple locations, concurrently or in sequence. With hosted PBX systems, where the PBX functions are delivered over a network, a single number can be assigned to multiple phones. Hosted PBX allows a company to work entirely remotely, with each employee’s phone having the same features as a PBX-connected phone.

TelcoHQ is based in the Sydney area, and provides small and medium-sized businesses with competitive phone and internet packages. We also offer phone systems tailored to your business needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out today!

Thomas Averson

Thomas Averson

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