Drawing the Line Between Hosted PBX and VoIP

There is much confusion between Hosted PBX and VoIP. There are even some claims that the Hosted PBX is a VoIP phones system, but not all VoIP Phone systems are Hosted PBX.​ To add to the perplexity of the matter at hand PBX has many names. First of all, it is an acronym for Private Business Exchange, but it also goes by the name of PABX or Private Automatic Branch Exchange; cloud-based PBX; Digital PBX phone system; Time Division Multiplexer (TDM); business VoIP, Hybrid PBX, cloud system PBX, and the classic: Traditional PBX. 

Those are all mouthfuls, but VoIP is only called that way, and it goes by Voice Over Internet Protocol. That rollout of the tongue nicely. That is one clear difference there.​ 

Now that that is out of the way, we now go to where we draw a line in the sand. For this purpose, we devised a (six) point of comparison like analysing a fingerprint from a crime scene, so to speak, and these are:​ 

  •  Scalability 
  • Cost 
  • Infrastructure 
  • Ease of installation and maintenance 
  • Features 
  • Dependability​ 

​With these parameters now in place, here is where we draw the line between Hosted PBX and VoIP.​ 


Another key difference between Hosted PBX and VoIP is the manner of installation and how it is you can scale up. With Hosted PBX, it is still a matter of having hardware; there is this ratio that you have to contend with; with every phone, you need a port, a port is in a card when the card is complete, you will need a new cabinet.​ 

However, VoIP phone systems are license-based. It all goes down to licensing. Every user, features, voicemail boxes, and others come with a license. Once there is a license, the new feature or extension will now be operational. ​ 


A hosted PBX system for your business in 2021 can costyour business something between  $29 and $57 per line; this is according to priceithere.com. They claimed that the initial costs of hardware for a Hosted PBX is within the range of$950to$3100 or more. Pricing will depend on how many new phones or other pieces of equipment will be install and purchase.​ 

Meanwhile, the cost of VoIP is between $20 and $1,000. The provider will dictate the price depending on the number of users, network enhancement, setup, and one-time VoIP hardware cost. This is based on a 2021 pricing model. About the cost per month, a hosted VoIP system typically costs just  $20 to 40 per user per month, according to the same source.​ 


For Hosted PBX phones, they are using Category 3 cable or Cat3 or above wiring. It is a type of unshielded twisted pair (UTP) cable. Its typical usage for voice and data communications in computer and telecommunication networks.​ 

On the other hand, VoIP solutions require a Category 5 cable or Cat5. Sometimes it needed a higher cable for each device to operate. It uses Ethernet connections for its local networks and telephony, and other data transmissions. It utilises a twisted pair design rather than a coaxial cable or a fibre-optic cable design.​ 

Ease of Installation and Maintenance​

The PBX system is a bit on the  cumbersome side, according to taylor.com. Because if remember the card or cabinet mentioned earlier? For every card and wardrobe that the end-user needs, the hosted PBX provider  will have to go on-site to do the installation on the premise.​ 

As for VoIP, installation is manageable. All it needs is an IT staff. In addition, an IT team must look into the Business VoIP System and make this their priority, or to keep this in check; there is a provider that can do this for you.​ 


For this point, the PBX system is a bit underwhelming as it only provides enough functionality to the table to be productive under the business setting. But it does not mean it is short of having any features at all. Further, some PBX providers offer, Mobility & BYOD features with Switch Connect WorkTime,  Concierge feature, Contact Center, automatically move a call from the mobile-to-fixed phone, and even call recording.​ 

Not to be outshined, the VoIP system is packed with many facets. There are even 45 VoIP features to look for from your business phone provider. There is even a provider that can give a snapshot of the whole  Business VoIP System with its dashboard feature  and even provides real-time performance data for better system analysis.​ 


This is when force majeure comes into the picture. Case in point, we refer to natural disasters where there is a need for the halting of the normal power grid. Moreover, this is where a good dependable line of communication comes into play.​ 

When this happens, a PBX system is still pretty much operational as it doesn’t reliant on electricity to operate. With this, you can still operate and even use this system to call for help or extend one if needed.​ 

A VoIP system needs electricity to run. However, even in a natural disaster, there is sometimes a need to cut off the power. That is the time it no longer is operational. 

Note that this dependability clause only touches the worst-case scenario like a natural disaster, like wildfire, flood, earthquake and other calamities. Hence, depending on the extent of the damage, some telephony may still work. This is all in the spirit of hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. ​ 

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