The Early Years of PBX Systems

It’s highly interesting to look at how PBX systems have developed in a relatively short period.

Lady on phoneAs early as the 1960s, Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone systems have been the common choice for many businesses. Through time, it has evolved into an effective office phone system that has adapted to the changes and improvements in business communication methods. A true PBX system, in the traditional sense, may be long gone. The early business telephone networks, however, laid the foundation for the modern system we have today.

Humble Beginnings

When the Private Automatic Branch eXchange (PABX) was introduced, many employees felt the convenience it offers in making their jobs easier. With the then new system, they could make calls to an outside line without going through a receptionist. They could also call one another within the same building. This became a cost-effective method, as they no longer needed external phone lines.

A Step Forward

By the 1990s, many small consumer-grade PBX systems became available; these made the previously inaccessible full-fledged systems more obtainable and functional. While they didn’t share the same size and flexibility as the commercial-grade PBXs, they still had many useful features.

There has been a change, however, when PBX systems became more flexible. The idea of allowing clients to add ports or cards to improve their network ability and functionality caught on. With this new trend, businesses could easily modify or expand their telephone systems every time they need more features.

Towards the end of the 1990s, features, such as limited data integration, auto attendants, and increased telephony applications became common in many business phone systems.  Ideas on the possibility of using hosted providers and packet switching technology and hosted providers also began to form. These eventually became the precursors to the present VoIP PBX communications solutions.

As consumers began to adopt VoIP, consumer VoIP PBXs were introduced. As a result, PBX functions became simple additional software features that enhance consumer-grade routers and switches.

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