If you are looking at the different small business phone systems for your company and are not sure which type to choose, this post will help. Read on to find out what different types are available and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each. If you need reliable advice about which phone system to choose, contact the telecommunication specialists at Network Telecom today.


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Ultimate Buyers Guide Small Business Phone Systems


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Network Telecom assisted us in moving and upgrading our system when we moved into a new facility.  They have been with us while we grew and made additional changes.  They are there for us when needed and have provided us with our equipment and program changes.They are a great group to work with.Susan Lang – Cargill
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Types of Small Business Phone Systems Available

There are several types of small business phone systems to choose from. These include traditional landlines, virtual systems, and VoIP. The VoIP category can be further divided into two types: on-premise and cloud-based.


For decades the traditional landline phone system has been the staple office phone system for small businesses. A landline is an analog system that runs on your telephone company’s copper wiring. This type of system is also known as a public switched telephone network (PSTN) and is made up of a “collection of individual telephones that are hardwired to a public exchange.” Some landline systems today are actually hybrids. They have a traditional phone line that is connected to the company’s data network and then VoIP telephones are connected to the network.


  • Reliable: Landline systems are very reliable and rarely fail.
  • High Quality: The call quality on a landline is very clear.
  • Comfort: Most users are very comfortable with the traditional landline system.


  • Cost: Often business landline systems cost significantly more in monthly charges than VoIP systems.
  • Repairs & Upgrades: Because so many phone system providers are moving away from traditional landline systems, it is harder and harder to purchase replacement parts or find technicians trained to repair them.


traditional landlinesLandlines cost more than VoIP systems




Some businesses choose to use a virtual phone system instead of a traditional one. This is done by connecting your main business phone numbers to workers who are not located in a central office and who work remotely using their cell or home phones. When a client calls the business number the call is transferred to the appropriate employee’s mobile or home device where they answer it. To the customer, it seems as if they are calling an office and not someone’s cell phone.


  • Professional Appearance: The virtual phone system allows smaller companies to give a professional appearance to their customers by mimicking an actual landline system.
  • Variety of Features: This type of system will allow you to use a number of helpful features including Automated receptionists, voicemail, call forwarding, call screening, and online faxing.


  • Costs for Employees: With a virtual system, all of the calls are processed and charged to the receiver’s cell phone or mobile device. This means that they will be using up their own mobile or home phone minutes.
  • Extra Accounting: If you reimburse your employees, it will mean additional accounting to keep track of and separate their personal calls from their work-related ones.


virtual phone systemA virtual phone system can give your company a more professional appearance




Unlike traditional landlines, VoIP phone systems use your business Internet connection to operate online. Learn more about VoIP phone systems in our post “What is VoIP?”


  • Lower Cost: Your VoIP monthly bill will be significantly cheaper than your previous landline bill
  • Easy Installation and Set-Up: VoIP systems can be set up using your current Internet connection so there is no need to run extra cabling.
  • Advanced Features: You can enjoy a wide range of advanced features such as automated attendants, call queues, voicemail to written email messages, and transfers to mobile devices.


  • Call Quality: If you have a poor or spotty Internet connection, you may find that the call quality is poor and your calls may drop from time to time.
  • Availability: If you can’t get a fast or reliable Internet service, you probably shouldn’t choose a VoIP system


Voip phone systemVoIP systems run on your current Internet connection


On-Premise VoIP

Some businesses choose to have their VoIP system on-premise. This means that all of their equipment (such as their PBX hardware) is located in their physical building.


  • Control: You are in complete control of your telecommunication system and you can make sure that it is always up and running and configured specifically for you.
  • Security: If your business has compliance or regulatory restrictions, then it is probably better to look after your telecommunications in-house rather than on the cloud.
  • Monthly Costs: Once you have made your initial investment, your ongoing monthly fees will be relatively inexpensive.


  • Large Initial Cost: You will have significant initial capital costs to have all of your equipment in-house.
  • Ongoing Maintenance: You will also need someone on your staff who understands a VoIP system and is able to look after its maintenance.


small business phone systemsAn on-premise phone system will give you more control



Cloud-Based VoIP

With a cloud-based VoIP phone system, your service provider will house, maintain, and upgrade all of the PBX technology for you.


  • Maintenance: Your service provider will look after all of the maintenance required for your system except that of the actual phones.
  • Scalability: As your business grows, it will be very easy to add new lines. If your business is seasonal or goes through cycles when it isn’t as busy, you can also easily eliminate lines to cut down on costs.
  • Monthly fees: You are usually charged a monthly rate per user which is cheaper than a traditional landline.


  • Less Control: You are not in control of the hardware.
  • Possible Downtime: You have to rely on your service provider to fix any problems if the system goes down which could result in a loss of business.



cloud based systemsCloud-based systems are highly scalable

Businesses Are Making the Switch to Wireless and VoIP

According to a recent article in the Financial Post, IDC Canada estimates that over two thirds of Canadian organizations have switched their traditional phones to desktop phones with wireless connections for at least some of their staff and about one third of all employees are completely wireless with mobile devices. In the U.S. about 79% of businesses are now using VoIP phones in at least one of their locations.


Frequently Asked Questions About Phone Systems for Small Offices

Can’t I just keep using my landline system? Do I really have to switch?

Your landline system will probably keep functioning at a high level for many years to come, however, the problem is that no new technology is being developed for landlines. This means that as new upgrades and features are made, you won’t be able to take advantage of them. The other issue is that it will become more difficult to find parts for your systems or technicians who are able to repair them.

Is the quality of call on a VoIP system as good as a landline?

When VoIP first came out, the quality was definitely inferior to that of a landline. However, the technology has improved significantly over the last while so that now it is almost impossible to tell the difference between the two types. To make sure that your VoIP calls are as high quality as possible, you should make sure that you have enough bandwidth to handle the number of calls that you receive and that your network is set up so that incoming calls get priority over other types of Internet traffic.



office phonesThe quality of VoIP calls is now usually as good as landline calls



How do I know which system is best for my business?

Each business is unique and so are their telecommunication needs. That’s why there isn’t one right system for every business. It depends on a number of factors such as your budget, the number of employees you have, how quickly you think you will grow, if you have access to high-speed and reliable internet, and what features you require. It may be helpful to get advice from a reliable, third party to help you analyze your situation and make the best choice.

Why do we need a virtual system? Can’t we just use our mobile phones on their own?

You can use your mobile phones on their own, however, if you are trying to compete with larger companies, you will want to give your customers a more professional impression and a sense that your company is able to compete with its larger competitors. Mobile phones on their own cannot provide you with the valuable services that give this impression, such as call forwarding, auto attendant, voicemail to email, and music on hold.


cost reduction report

Network Telecom: You Can Trust Us for the Best Small Business Phone Systems

You can trust Network Telecom to help you choose a phone system that is the best choice for your business. Whether you are looking to have a new phone system installed or your current system updated, we are here to offer advice you can trust. In addition, if your phone system is not working as it should, our trained technicians are available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We carry a huge selection of parts in order to quickly solve any components issue you are experiencing. If you are having a telecommunication or networking issue, we can resolve it quickly and professionally.

In addition to our accredited and certified technical expertise, we offer:

Contact us today for all of your telecommunication questions and concerns; we’d be happy to help you.

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