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What is IP PBX and PBX?

In short, PBX (Private Branch eXchange, private branch exchange) is the PBX, which is widely used in corporate offices, which greatly improves the efficiency of corporate affairs.

With the development of the Internet and IP, some of its shortcomings have gradually emerged: dedicated, expensive, and CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) or VoIP cannot be easily implemented. To solve these problems, IP PBX appeared. IP PBX is based on the TCP / IP protocol and uses the principle of packet switching to implement the functions of traditional PBX on Ethernet.

Compared with traditional PBX, IP PBX has the following advantages:

Unify the telephone network and computer network as a whole;

In addition to providing services for traditional telephone users, it can also conveniently provide services for Internet users;

New hardware platform and highly integrated system functions can greatly reduce costs;

It is more convenient and easy to implement value-added services, such as establishing a call center, implementing VoIP, etc .;

Open standards, strong interoperability and good scalability.

The dedicated communication platform was moved to a computer platform that is generally more familiar to the public, which is more versatile and practical.

IP PBX and ip pbx server

IP PBX Introduction

In short, PBX (Private Branch eXchange, private branch exchange) is the PBX, which is widely used in corporate offices, which greatly improves the efficiency of corporate affairs. However, there are many problems with traditional PBXs. The first is that it does not support emerging CTIs (Computer and Telephone Integration) and VoIP, and traditional PBXs use proprietary technologies, lacking openness and standards, and are expensive. In recent years, with the popularity of the Internet and the success of IP, IP PBXs based on the IP protocol have emerged at the historic moment, which is expected to solve the shortcomings of traditional PBXs.
IP PBX telephone system to achieve the integration of computer network and telephone exchange functions, will play an important role in the communications industry in the 21st century. In the IP PBX network system, each telephone terminal adopts the IP method for data communication, which not only can make calls, but also realize the transmission of text, data, and images. It unifies the telephone network and computer network into a whole to realize electronic office in the local area network. Especially in long-distance collaborative business and electronic office, it will give full play to its strong resource advantages, bringing convenience to business cooperation and work reorganization. The control center in the IP PBX LAN can effectively manage the computer network and telephone network according to the specific conditions inside and outside the office to achieve resource sharing. With the help of the Internet, IP PBX networks in different regions can realize long-distance communication, electronic office and e-commerce. The traditional PBX uses the principle of circuit switching to implement the functions of the PBX, while the IP PBX uses the TCP / IP protocol and uses the principle of packet switching to achieve the same function on Ethernet.
When the user picks up the phone to call the other party, the system will automatically pass the dialing string and command to the console software, which will locate the called party's address and accept the call application. Once the call is established, subsequent voice traffic can be transmitted directly between the calling and called parties without having to go through the console, effectively reducing latency.
H.323 clients (such as Netmeeting users) in the network can also talk to other phones. Before establishing a connection, it needs to dial the extension number of the other party and establish a connection after reaching the console. If the other party is busy, you can return a busy tone signal or transfer the call directly to the called party's voice mailbox, depending on the setting of the other party.
IP PBX can also emulate circuit switching, making calls from IP networks to traditional telephone networks.

Basic features of IP PBX

Since the IP PBX is based on an open IP standard, all products follow the same standard and have strong interoperability, while the traditional PBX contains proprietary technologies from various manufacturers, and interoperability and compatibility between products are poor. Therefore, the use of IP PBX can greatly save the cost of maintaining proprietary equipment when using traditional products.

The expansion performance of IP PBX is good. When multiple branch phones need to be expanded on the existing PBX, most of the old PBX equipment does not support this expansion. The internal module must be replaced. This is not a small overhead. With IP PBX, only about half of the money is enough. And IP PBX can directly use cheap ordinary analog phones, unlike traditional PBXs which need to be equipped with expensive dedicated digital phones. IP PBX also has a very attractive advantage is that it can use its VoIP function to make long-distance calls at local prices, which greatly saves long-distance communication costs.

The current development of IP PBX is integrated into converged communications. Because it is converged communications, the current IP PBX has the integration of voice, data, and security functions. This is also a requirement for the development of operators and also for the development of corporate branding. The process provides a good guarantee. At present, IP PBXs that are relatively well-known in China are the IP PBX of NetEase Technology and the IP PBX of ZTE. They also have practical commercial use among operators.

Difficulties in IP PBX Development

Will IP PBX become popular in the future communication field? Not necessarily. The reason is simple. Although the prospect of IP-based communication equipment is promising, the products in the form of PBX may not be promising. In the field of VoIP, there are so many implementations that can be thought of, so that after the emergence of the CT (Computer Telephony) concept in 1993, a variety of technologies have emerged. Until now, people have not unified the concepts of CT, IP Phone, Internet Phone, and Net Phone. It is also difficult to unify the technical standards of products required by VoIP. Therefore, although IP PBX has many advantages compared to traditional PBX, it is not easy to compare directly because its technical foundation is different from PBX. In this way, IP PBX faces two pressures: first, resistance from ordinary PBXs, and second, competition from other new technologies and new equipment in the field of IP communications.

The development direction of IP PBX

Although IP PBX encountered many problems in its development, IP PBX still stubbornly appeared before us. We believe that it can become an excellent product that serves the public. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the future market hotspots of IP PBX, which will be the best way for IP PBX to reflect its vitality.

IP PBX is the ideal platform for building a new generation of call centers

The development of the call center to the CTI Server model has passed three stages:

(1) Single PBX and artificial seats;

(2) PBX and computer-assisted artificial seats;

(3) The PBX is integrated with the computer network through the CT Server.

Through the development of the call center, it is not difficult to see that the development trend of the call center has the characteristics of diversification of service objects and service means, in-depth and integration of computer technology applications. Therefore, at least the following issues must be addressed in the development of a new generation of call centers (let's call them "fourth generation call centers"):

(1) Can provide services for users from the Internet (dial-up or WWW), Fax, Telephone, etc .;

(2) It can reduce costs and enable small and medium-sized users to have their own call centers;

(3) Can provide more and better performance;

(4) It should have the networking function between call centers to effectively allocate resources between call centers.

The call center using IP PBX as the platform completely solved the above problems. IP PBX products have a higher price-performance ratio, which will definitely bring more market opportunities to call centers. Many people traditionally think that CTI = C + T, especially those who are familiar with call centers think that CT Server plays a plus role. They think that although CTI improves the performance of call centers, it also increases its operating costs. IP PBX is undoubtedly another development of CTI. It is no longer a simple addition of the two networks, but a complete removal of a set of expensive PBX networks and two network connection devices. The telephone network has only become a service access object. Means, the design of this system structure reduces the cost of the call center by at least 30%. At the same time, because the open IP PBX can provide many functions, the performance-price ratio of the call center is greatly improved.

IP PBX is an effective way to build future integrated information systems

In the early 1990s, the popularization of Internet commercialization and the revolutionary changes in the way of life and business caused by it directly led to two explosive growth: the number of Internet users and various Web sites. Moore's Law in the Internet world has been shortened from 18 months in the chip era to half a year, and the bandwidth of the Internet backbone links of major ISPs has to double every half a year. On the other hand, new business models continue to emerge, and people are no longer satisfied with the transmission of single data or text files. The requirements for the transmission of images, sounds and videos have increased the demand for bandwidth. The emergence of the TCP / IP protocol makes it possible to integrate and unify traditional telecommunication services and network data services. Therefore, in recent years, major telecommunications companies in the world have carried out strategic reorganizations and adopted high-speed broadband IP switching routing technology to build telecommunication business networks. The industry's conventional definition of the transmission rate of broadband networks should be at least 2Gb / s. In such a broadband network, many services can be effectively integrated, and various services can be connected to this network through limited interfaces. This is the comprehensive information network that everyone is pursuing. The IP PBX and the addition of the MCU's functions will be one of the ways to build an effective exchange node for this network, and it is especially suitable for the construction of small and medium-sized network systems.

IP PBX can replace some PBX systems

IP PBX can provide comprehensive network and voice solutions for group users, which can meet the all-round needs of maintaining the continuous operation and vigorous development of enterprises. From complex call control and call center capabilities, to integrated voicemail and computer / telephone integration; from caller identification to multi-level, multi-level auto attendants, to easy addition, movement, and change of terminal phones; Wide area network (LAN / WAN), connectivity to the Internet. Enables businesses to access all functions in an economical and manageable manner. The best feature of an IP PBX communication system is its flexibility. It adapts to the way the business operates.

IP PBX will be a hot product for information network access providers

Because the IP PBX product system can effectively combine existing information networks (LAN / WAN) and voice technology, this product is a preferred product for some new telecommunications operators. Especially in the open secondary operator market, this type of operator will prefer the network access market. IP PBX should be a better product for them. In particular, it should be noted that the external interface of the IP PBX system can be connected to the PSTN network, and also directly to the IP telephone network system.

IP PBX products

There are two common options for the IP PBX system platform. One is to use an embedded operating system to fix the entire system in a dedicated box. This structure is characterized by good stability and generally does not fail, but the corresponding expansion performance is poor. This product is represented by 3COM's NBX100 and ShoreLine's Crysta LAN; the other is CTI technology based on the Windows NT platform. But unfortunately, the stability of Windows NT has always been in doubt, and in fact these products do sometimes somehow crash. Therefore, for key application departments such as government, banks, and securities, the solution to system reliability is to use backup technology, that is, to work with two IP PBXs that are mutually backup. Not only computer network vendors have launched IP PBXs, but traditional communication vendors such as Lucent and Siemens have also joined the ranks. Because communication manufacturers have already seen the development trend. IP PBX can be divided into three categories from the working mode. Cisco and other products use IP phones to connect to the desktop directly through the local area network; Altigen and other products use ordinary telephone networks as the final step before receiving the desktop; Phonet and Touchwave products can Works in the above two modes. Because it works on an open operating system, third-party application developers have developed many standard CTI application APIs for programmers to use, and comprehensive CTI products have also appeared.

When selecting an IP PBX, you should first distinguish between the product's working mode and see whether it is accessed by ordinary telephone or LAN. Different applications have a great impact on reliability. You should also pay attention to whether the system uses an embedded operating system or The universal NT system has different application scopes for different operating system applications. Second, it should be examined how the system supports CTI and VoIP, whether it supports voice mail, whether it can dial to the traditional PSTN telephone network, Support for industry standards, whether the software developed by third parties can run on it correctly; finally, of course, it depends on the price. But for those business enterprises with many branches and long distances, if they want to have strong CTI function, choosing IP PBX will bring many benefits.

The emerging IP PBX and CTI can be well combined. Many products support Microsoft's TAPI (Telephone Application Programming Interface) standard, which can be seamlessly connected with some CTI applications to implement call control and call center functions.

Open source IP PBX project

For today's IP PBX applications, using open source projects to DIY your IP PBX is also a very good choice. Among the open source IP PBX projects, the oldest and most famous is the Asterisk project supported by Digium. The mainstream versions of Asterisk (October 2011) are 1.6 and 1.8, but they will soon be launched in version 1.10 .

Standard Asterisk runs on X86 PC and Linux operating systems. Connect with existing PSTN network through PCI expansion card with FXO or E1 interface. Asterisk initially only provided configuration through the command line and editing the Config file, which was not convenient to use. So later some other companies and organizations have developed more easy-to-use inherited versions for them, more famous ones include Elastix, Trixbox, FreePBX, AsterCC and so on.

Asterisk has fully reached commercial standards. Of course, if you are DIY, you must be an IT expert, at least very familiar with the basic concepts of Linux and IP PBX. Of course, you can also choose a third-party integrated hardware "box". In fact, many IP PBX manufacturers in the world provide products based on Asterisk secondary development.

In addition to Asterisk, another well-known open source IP PBX project is FreeSwitch. The author of Free Switch claimed that after seeing Asterisk, he thought that he could make a better product, so there was Free Switch. But in terms of influence and broad application, Asterisk is almost synonymous with open source IP PBX.

In addition to running Asterisk on X86, geeks have never given up on porting it to embedded platforms. Currently, there are successful cases of running Asterisk on MIPS and ARM platforms. Some cases claim that they can run the complete Asterisk 1.6 / 1.8 on a normal 802.11n wireless router.

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