Voice over IP – Hosted or On-Premise?

21st October 2019

By now most people have heard of “VoIP”. But how much do you know about the various options that are available, and which one is right for you?

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol.  Put simply it is any system that sends voice traffic over either your local IP network, the Internet, or both.  VoIP systems generally divide into two categories, On-premise and Hosted (or Cloud).  In this blog we seek to clarify the differences between the two.

On-premise literally means a physical piece of equipment that resides on your premises.  Until recently almost every telephone system in the UK (also known as a PBX, or Private Branch Exchange) was on-premise. 

PBXs were all originally analogue systems before manufacturers started adding digital functionality (e.g. ISDN), and then eventually IP technology.  Most PBXs today are hybrid systems, supporting analogue, digital and IP technology.  However, there are now also IP only PBXs that only support VoIP.  Most PBXs are purpose-built physical devices but increasingly manufacturers now also offer a Soft PBX option (a telephone system that is software only) which resides on a server. 

Digital telephone lines, known as ISDN, are scheduled to be unavailable to order from 2020, and the service stopped completely in 2025, so moving over to VoIP for your external lines is becoming more of a priority for businesses. 

The replacement for ISDN is SIP Trunking.  SIP’s provide your business with cost savings, improved functionality, and far superior Disaster Recovery.  At Telford based Connexis PBXs of all varieties from leading manufacturers are offered including Avaya, Unify, Ericsson-LG and Panasonic.

Hosted, or Cloud, refers to the software-based telephone systems that are hosted by your service provider.  The only equipment on your premises is your network infrastructure and the telephones themselves.   Most commonly this is a large shared platform, such as BroadSoft, which is tenanted for each customer.  This means that they have more of a one-size-fits all approach than when compared to other telephone systems, and are less feature rich.  However they are also simpler to configure and to deploy.

On the other end of the scale is a Private Cloud solution where a Soft PBX, as described above, is hosted in a data centre, giving you complete autonomy of the system, but locating it away from your premises. 

In between these two extremes is a Containerised Model where you’re again part of a larger tenanted system, but your segment is separated to such a degree that you get all of the benefits of a private cloud solution, such as being able to control the software version of the system and when upgrades take place and so on.

Hosted solutions cost less than on-premise solutions on day one but may cost more over the lifetime of the contract, as you are essentially renting each handset, and the software that sits behind it, from the service provider. 

Connexis offer a range of Hosted Telephony solutions, covering all the options detailed above, including Gamma Horizon, Avaya Cloud, and IPECS Cloud.

Contact Connexis today for more information on 01952 528000, or email sales@connexis.co.uk.

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