Different types of business phone services

Technology has modified the regular old phone line. Like many others, you may have the question on how many types of phone lines are available. To understand the answer to this question, you need to differentiate between protocols and infrastructure.

Transmission protocols are often misunderstood as systems. Here are the different types of phone lines available.

  • Protocols

Protocols are firmware- or software-based systems running on standard infrastructure or on computing platforms. These are like instructions controlling voice communications through a system. The two common types of protocols are as follows:

  • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)

VoIP is a type of phone service that works through Internet connectivity. It follows a set of instructions to transmit voice transactions over proprietary or public Internet networks. VoIP may be used on physical as well as virtual interfaces.

  • Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

It is a standard protocol, which uses data lines to transmit data, voice, and video simultaneously. Because it is not limited to proprietary hardware limitations, it is classified as a telephone system.

  • Infrastructure

It is the actual physical installed hardware used for the transmission of voice over two locations. The hardware includes cabling, voice management equipment, and handsets. The four types are as follows:

  • Private branch exchange (PBX)

It is a voice control and switching technology used for the operation of a voice-isolated network of more than 40 terminals.

  • Private automated branch exchange (PABX)

It is similar to the PBX system; however, PABX allows users to select the outbound lines. These are often designed for large networks.


It is a hybrid system similar to the PBX system. It runs on an Ethernet and uses data standards for voice encryption along with the protocols.

  • Key system

Compared to the PBX system, this type of system is less expensive. It is useful for systems that have less than 40 users on the same network. The firmware is within the handsets and the system is programmed because there is no universal support mechanism.

In addition to the aforementioned, there are legacy systems that are private and require internal anonymity. Most companies are choosing integrated systems that work with their current infrastructure for cost savings.

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