telephony This month we will switch gears from computer technology and discuss telephony, particularly phone systems.  We all use a telephone daily without any knowledge of how it works and the components that are used to make this technology work for our benefit.  We will break down some types of equipment used in a business environment.  Before we go and further, we need to define the term telephony.


Telephony is described as technology associated with the electronic transmission of voice, fax, or other information between distant parties using systems historically associated with the telephone, and other devices.  With the arrival of computers, the transmittal of digital information over telephone systems, and the use of radio to transmit telephone signals, the distinction between telephony and telecommunications has become difficult to make.  Let’s look at some types of telephony equipment.


Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) – A CPE is a type of hardware located at the home or business of a customer.  Such equipment might include cable or satellite television set-up boxes.  CPE is generally owned by the telecommunications provider, though some customers do choose to purchase modems or routers.  Renting or leasing CPE insulates customers against the cost of upgrades and allows telecommunications companies to control more of the method and technology used to interact with their networks.


Advantages for using CPE


  • One piece of hardware is purchased and installed and costs can be more easily controlled.
  • Provides an extensive capabilities set that can easily customized to the needs and wants of the business and individual users.
  • Having the option of renting or owning.
  • Equipment becomes an asset that has equity and can be resold.


Disadvantages for using CPE


  • Requires large investment to purchase compared to leasing.
  • Special accessible storage space required for installing of the hardware.
  • Requires in-house our outsourced technical support for maintenance and upgrades.
  • Data and voice communication can be lost in case of a disaster, as all the equipment is located on site.


Hosted Private Branched Exchange (Hosted PBX) – Hosted PBX is a telephone exchange system built, delivered and managed by a third party service provider.  Hosted PBX is an IP-based telephony solution provisioned and accessed entirely through the Internet.  Hosted PBX may also be referred to as a cloud PBX.  Hosted PBX generally provides the same features and services as a traditional PBX, but hosted PBX eliminates the need for building and managing an in-house PBX system.


Advantages for using a hosted PBX


  • Avoids capital investment of purchasing on-site PBX equipment. The only purchase required is VOIP phones for each user.
  • Eliminates the need to dedicate spaces within the facility, and the installation of the central PBX equipment.
  • Eliminates the maintenance cost of the central PBX equipment.
  • Can be expanded as your business grows.


Disadvantages for using a hosted PBX


  • Monthly cost is ongoing and will increase over time as users are added.
  • No extra charge for extra calling minutes outside of a chosen plan.
  • May require additional or dedicated Internet bandwidth to support the hosted PBX services.
  • Control is the hands of the hosted PBX service provider. To make changes you need to contact the service provider.


IP PBX – An IP PBX system uses Internet protocols for parts of its networking.  Often a PBX is applied to an enterprise, where IP connections are built into the company’s Intranet and where parts of that structure connect to the public switched telephone network for external communications.  New IP PBX systems often include helpful tools for video conferencing and combining voice and data services, as well as public telephone setups.



Advantages for using an IP PBX


  • Multiple branch offices can connect and use this technology regardless of their location enabling cost reduction.
  • IP PBX makes telecommuting more convenient by allowing seamless communication between telecommuters, contractors, and consultants.
  • IP PBX uses your existing network making signaling distance and time very short and does depend on travelling over the Internet and other networks.
  • Changes and moves are more user friendly by using a GUI interface.


Disadvantages for using an IP PBX


  • IP PBX systems rely on Internet connectivity and a power source so in the event of an outage, the system will fail along with your data network.
  • IP PBX systems may require some downtime in order to do maintenance and updates.
  • IP PBX systems require network demands for maintaining a high quality connection where some in-house networks need adequate for data and voice exchange.





I hope that you found this information helpful.  Please feel free to forward it to others.  If you would like to learn more about this topic or would like to request a topic, please contact me. If you missed any past newsletters or would like a printed copy, please visit my website at.


Until next time…Happy Computing!!!

About Michael DeFlorio
I have worked is various positions as a system administrator, support technician, as a help desk support, and as an IT consultant in a corporate environment. I currently run a small business where I provide computer services such as hardware configuration, installation, for residential and for medium and small businesses. You can contact me by email or visit my website at

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