Phone Systems for Small Offices

The introduction of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology where the nbn™ or other fibre connections are available has given small businesses access to a wider range of phone systems. This applies too for office-based businesses with more than one employee.

When selecting a phone system for your small office, you are no longer limited to choosing between a simple system of multiple lines and multiple handsets or a costly PBX system. You can still choose to have single lines and handsets, but you now also have access to virtual PBX systems and SIP solutions, making it easier to start with–or upgrade to–the perfect solution for your office’s needs.

But doing so means knowing a bit about the type of phone systems available and being able to properly assess your needs.

Must My Office Phone System Be a VoIP System?

If the nbn™ is available in your area–or you have already switched to using the nbn™–then your office phone system will more than likely need to be VoIP capable. The availability of high speed connections through the nbn™ or other fibre operators in an area is also an indicator of the impending shut down of the old copper line network. The copper lines were used for both ADSL and ISDN connections, and for making and receiving phone calls.

Fibre connections are not only faster and more reliable than ADSL connections, they also allow phone calls to be made and received over the same connection as your internet access. Commander’s office phone solutions all use VoIP technology.

How Many Phone Lines Does My Small Office Need?

The number of phone lines you need in your small office depends on how many calls you need to be able to make and receive at the same time. However, you don’t necessarily need a separate line for each handset. So, you could have ten employees all with their own handset, but only four phone lines. This would allow your office to make and receive four phone calls at the same time with only Commander SIP requiring a minimum of two channels (or lines).

Will I Need New Handsets?

Most modern handsets–including analogue handsets–will still work with a VoIP phone system. Certain advanced features supported by Commander Phone may require new handsets, which can be included at an additional monthly cost with your plan   , or a once-off upfront fee. Or you can use the Softphone feature included with Commander Phone and make and receive calls using only a computer or mobile phone. Commander SIP is designed for businesses with an existing phone system or who want to purchase or upgrade to a new IP phone system.

What about Sending and Receiving Faxes?

Both Commander Phone and Commander SIP support Fax-to-Email, allowing incoming faxes to be converted to PDF documents and sent directly to email inboxes. However, if you also need to be able to send faxes you will need to include a separate Commander NBN Business Line to connect your fax machine to.

How Easy Is It to Add New Lines and Handsets?

In most instances adding new lines and handsets is as simple as adding another plan to your package. You don’t need to wait for a technician to add or activate a new line at the nearest exchange. If adding a new desktop handset, you may need to run extra cabling from the desk to the nbn™ modem or Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA), while this won’t be necessary for cordless handsets since the base station can be positioned close to the modem or ATA. The nbn™ modem supplied by Commander has space for two handsets to be plugged directly into it, with 2 and 8 port ATAs available for connecting more than two handsets.

What Features Are Available?

Before you select a new phone system for your office, it is essential that you decide what features are important, and whether the system includes these by default or as add-ons. Commander’s NBN Business Line includes basic features such as Caller ID, Call Transfer, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, 3-Way Conference Calls, and Line Hunt.

As a hosted phone system, Commander Phone includes many of the features you would expect in a PBX system, such as Auto Receptionist, Hunt Groups, Sequential Ringing, and Call Transfer. But it also offers extras such as Voicemail to Email, and a Softphone app for making and receiving calls on a computer or mobile phone. Optional add-on features include the ability to have your office phone and mobile phone work in tandem, so calls to your office phone can also be taken on your mobile phone if you’re not at your desk, or even in the office.

Since Commander SIP works with your existing phone system, you have access to the same features your system already offers. But optional add-ons include Fax-to-Email, additional number ranges, and a Receptionist Central app if you have a dedicated receptionist.

Can Existing Numbers Be Ported or Transferred?

This isn’t an issue for new businesses setting up offices for the first time, but for existing businesses keeping the telephone numbers your customers already know or have saved is crucial. Whether you are switching to a VoIP office phone system for the first time, or already have one and are simply switching providers, Commander can arrange to transfer or port your numbers to your new system and plan, with little disruption to your business. This service is available with all our office phone systems.

Get in touch with our Sales team to learn more about each of our phone systems for small offices, making it easier for you to find the perfect solution.