Selecting a phone system for your small business can often be daunting. When just first starting out, many business neglect to think about one of their most important purchases. Business phones are critical for the ability to reach and be reached by your customers.
Depending on the size of your company, several small business phone system options exist. The phone systems we’ll concentrate on today are the Bizfon 680, NetVanta 7100, Allworx 6x, and Asterisk PBX.
The Bizfon 680 is a small phone system produced by Bizfon Inc. The Bizfon 680 is an ideal solution for a company that needs a phone system that is ‘plug and play.’ Simple set up is the main selling point of the system, and it does this well. The phone system can be set up by anyone in just a few hours, but still carries all the standard features of a digital phone system. As a standalone unit, the Bizfon 680 supports six phone lines and eight phone extensions. Users can however buy up to three expansion units that add another 6 lines and 8 extensions each.
The Adtran NetVanta 7100 is the most powerful of the phone systems listed here. The NetVanta 7100 supports up to 100 users, meaning this phone system can grow with customers to suit their needs. The main selling point of the NetVanta 7100 and what makes it so popular is that it is an entire phone system and network in a single box!
The NetVanta 7100 contains a built in router, phone system, 24 port PoE switch, and firewall all in one unit. The system also has two analog phone line trunks (FXO) and two analog extension ports (FXS) that can support fax machines. The NetVanta 7100 accepts SIP trunks and T1/PRI circuits with an optional module.
Users can use the Adtran to set up both their computer network and phone system at once, saving them money compared to buying each system separately. The largest downfall of the NetVanta 7100 is that the system is complicated to set up. With options such as SIP trunking, Trunk groups, VPN / GRE Tunneling, and managing a firewall, the NetVanta 7100 is too complicated for the average consumer to set up. We recommend professional installation of the phone system.
The Allworx is the smaller of the two IP phone systems we recommend. The 6x can support 30 users, or up to 60 with an optional software upgrade. The Allworx phone system is also a router like the Adtran 7100, but lacks many of the latter’s much higher end features.
The Allworx 6x is perfect as an IP phone system that uses either SIP trunks or analog lines. The Allworx 6x has six(!) built in analog lines. The Allworx 6x (and all other phone systems on this list) supports voicemail, so users can leave you messages.
Asterisk is the odd duck of the list. Asterisk is not actually a hardware product like every other item on this list, but a Linux based Freeware operating system. Based on CentOS, Asterisk PBX is a free solution for setting up a phone system. Since Asterisk installs onto a PC or server, it is also highly scalable from one user to hundreds based on your configuration.
The Asterisk PBX supports a wide variety of phones on this list such as the Polycom IP 331, Cisco SPA508G, Aastra 6757i, and more. Being so open and free formed does come with drawbacks. Asterisk is the hardest of the systems on this list to set up. It can be time consuming setting it up just right. We recommend only using the Asterisk if you’re familiar with networking and VoIP with time to spare.
As you can see there are several systems and options for the small business owner. No matter what your needs, there is a phone system that can fill the role. If you have any questions about these systems, please feel free to contact us!