Small Business Phone Systems

If you’re looking for a new office phone system or want to upgrade your existing one, you may be feeling unsure as to which product is right for your business, as there are a number of different phone options for you to choose from. But how do you choose the right solution for your business?

Understanding Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and the different business voice options available makes it easier to decide on the right phone system for your business and the features to look for in a new system.

Types of Small Business Phone Systems we offer at Commander

  • NBN Business Linethis is the simplest option in our range of voice services. You wouldn’t necessarily class this as a phone system. It’s a single line that we recommend for use with analogue handsets, faxes and EFTPOS machines. It only supports a limited number of features.
  • Hosted Phone Systemalso known as a virtual or cloud-based PBX because while it’s like a fully-fledged PBX system, it requires little onsite equipment and setup. It can offer all the features you would get from a traditional, analogue PBX system, with a few extra features not available on a traditional system. The system is hosted in the cloud on the servers of the provider you have signed up with, and it can scale up or down more easily than a regular PBX system. Services can be accessed using handsets or apps on your computer or mobile phone.
  • SIP System–Basic phone lines connect SIP-enabled PBX phone systems to the telephone network. Adding or removing lines–or channels–is faster than with a traditional PBX setup, and depending on your existing hardware, you might have access to some new features.

What Is a VoIP Phone System?

VoIP technology was first introduced in 1995 and has steadily grown in use and popularity, particularly after the launch of Skype in 2003. Initially, dial-up–and later ADSL–speeds were not fast enough for VoIP, which resulted in poor call quality. 

The introduction of the nbn® network in Australia and other independent fibre networks has changed this. So much so that the old copper network across Australia is gradually being shut down now that the nbn® is available to most of Australia. As a result, VoIP over the nbn® has become the standard for phone services in Australia

You don’t need a separate phone line and internet connection with VoIP. Your phone and internet service run over the same connection. VoIP technology seamlessly converts your voice to a digital signal that’s transmitted over the internet and converted back to audio by the VoIP-enabled device at the other end.

VoIP was initially limited to being used with a service like Skype. Advancements in technology made making and receiving VoIP calls with handsets possible and then via apps.

VoIP phone systems offer business customers the same features and functions as traditional office phone systems but are often simpler and more affordable to install and use.

What Do I Need for a VoIP Phone System?

To switch from a traditional copper network phone system to one using VoIP technology, you will need an nbn® connection. The more concurrent calls you want to be able to support while also using the internet for other purposes, the higher the maximum attainable speed should be. Commander’s business nbn® plans have a number of different speed options and include 4G backup if you use the Commander modem. Eligible nbn® plans include your first phone line free.

If you’re using a standard nbn® Business line, you may need a business modem and an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) to connect more than two phones. For a hosted phone system, you will need a LAN switch or router/gateway with sufficient spare ports for each telephone device you want to connect. If you’re switching to a SIP system, you will need to have an IP-enabled PBX system and a suitable router.

Want to ditch the desktop phone? Handsets are optional with some VoIP phone systems since the technology allows calls to be made and received using an app on your devices, such as computers, mobile phones and tablets. 

What Handsets to Consider for Small Business Phone Systems 

Handsets are not always needed with a VoIP phone system. However, if you want to use handsets, you will need to make sure they are compatible with the business phone system you choose. If you plan to use a physical PBX system with a SIP system, you will need to check with the supplier to see if it is compatible. Speak to your phone system provider before investing in new handsets. 

Key Features to Look For in Phone Systems For Business

It’s important for a business to know what features they need in a phone system. Key features you should look for include:

  • Auto Receptionist: Even if you have a dedicated receptionist, the auto-receptionist feature makes it easier for customers to select the department or person they wish to speak to without going through the receptionist first. This is especially useful for businesses with a high volume of incoming calls.
  • Core Call Features: A basic system should support the ability to hold, transfer, and forward calls, along with allowing hunt groups to be set up and a call waiting indicator. Other call features, such as sequential and simultaneous ringing, are useful but optional.
  • Voicemail: Not all systems offer voicemail support, so make sure it’s available in your chosen system if your business needs it. Voicemail to Email is an upgrade to standard voicemail, allowing anyone to have easy access to voicemail even when they are out of the office.
  • Softphone Support: A softphone is an app that is installed on an internet-connected device that allows you to make and receive calls. With a softphone, you don’t need handsets! You can take your work phone with you anywhere, which is important considering the rise in remote working. It also makes it easier to scale your system up or down as needed and saves you money, as you don't need to buy any hardware.
  • Call Plans: Many VoIP phone systems include unlimited calls to local, national, and standard mobile numbers. But don’t assume this is included. Always check the Critical Information Summary of any systems and plans you are considering to confirm what is included.
  • Other Telephone Devices: Lift phones, monitored alarms, standalone fax machines, and EFTPOS devices either don’t work with an nbn® connection or require a separate line. Always ask what telephone devices or services are not supported.

Contact our business team to learn more about our office phone systems for small businesses.