MLTS = "Multi-Line Telephone System"
PBX = "Private Branch eXchange"
Is this true:
$MLTS == $PBX
Nope! They are different!
Perhaps the best key mismatch reasoning is to be found in the first word of the second term.
P means Private
P does not mean Public
There are tons of PBX systems out there. But over time it is clear that in the wild, many a “PBX” are not acting as “MLTS”. At least, not anymore:
- Some never touched the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) at any point in their life-cycle eg. PBX software configured only as intercom.
- Maybe the PBX was on the PSTN, but the need for the PSTN withered away, although the PBX was still useful because it provided other services eg. overhead paging system.
- Some businesses in rural areas without cell coverage might only sport a shoe-box size PC with power cords eg. standalone PBX with wifi phone setups.
- Many current PBX users prefer internet-only experiences eg. video chat.
There are lots of ideas and possibilities that PBXs can realize in 2020. Although they can take on MLTS features at some times, that is more option than requirement in many types of modern PBX deployment scenarios.
Today, the term PBX is very broad in common industry usage. It covers software configured for private IP networks – such as intercom/paging/wifi – plus hosted solutions, video conferencing, door bells, and more.
One popular additional (sub)definition is that of an IP PBX, at least in WAN/LAN/VPN scenarios it is pretty clear what you mean. This could include most IP-based intercom, paging and wifi services.
Maybe definitions need updating in places, but the industry standard for PBX systems is different than it was even just a few years ago.
How did PBXs get so good ?
The Free Software movements and Open Source industry now lead the way in VoiP and PBX development, particularly in features and systems portability across many areas of business. That businesses adopt these systems in droves to seek competitive advantage while often enjoying signficant cost savings in so many verticals is understandable. Cloud-based industries in particular benefit from rapid deployment of virtual instances with fewer (if any) licensing fees. And many useful types of PBX can fit inside those virtual spaces.
Lots of people working on big projects ☁️
Got 1.5 hours to watch videos ? Here’s some recent wins for Free Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) from Day 2 of AstriCon 2020 [Plan 9] held just last month:
A history of Video in Asterisk (45 minutes). The topic of video improvement leads to more growth in the FLOSS community! Great to “see” WebRTC adoption across the VoiP PBX ecosystem.
Internally, at Penguin PBX Solutions, the same exciting PBX project is being deployed to help power Always Be Conferencing (ABC) installations, including integrations for private clients as well as public facing sites such as Yurt.Tel. Or, you can spin up ABC yourself - latest version from August 2020 is available for free download! Included are several new options for even faster internal conference calling setups; and also parallel call alert notifications via multiple methods - from sending emails, to blinking lights, or even beeping horns.
Yes, there’s a lot you can do with your PBX these days!
📱 ☎️ 📞 🎧 🤷 📠 🚨 📯 ✉️ 🌎
Pick your use case and keep on PBX’ing!