What is a Key System?

A Key System – also known as a Key Telephone System (KTS) – is a very basic and traditional form of telephony primarily used by small and medium businesses.

key system

Ideal for businesses with less than 30 users, traditional Key Systems include a central controller and multiple telephones. Each telephone has a button for every phone line.

Key Systems have been around in some form since the 1930s, but remain in use today despite new technologies. Many businesses decide to keep their Key System because they are simple and “just work”. By opting out of the VoIP trend, they are missing out on modern features and advantages.

For this reason, Bicom Systems created the IP Key System – Tradition Reinvented. Learn more about IP Key Systems here.

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Auto-Provisioning: How It Works & Why You Need It

auto-provisioningAuto-provisioning is a time-saving feature of IP telephony solutions like PBXware. How does it work? The administrator creates an account in the user interface then the IP phone is restarted and receives the configuration file via Internet. That’s it!

Aside from the obvious savings in time, auto-provisioning has a few other benefits:

  • All telephones can be configured from any location
  • Does not require IT personnel or support
  • Updating can be done on all phones regardless of location
  • Custom configurations are quick and easy
  • User errors are less common

If you would like auto-provisioning for your own office and your customers, check out PBXware or contact us today!

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What is an ITSP?

itspITSP stands for Internet Telephony Service Provider and describes companies that provide IP telephone communications.

With gateway servers connected across the globe, ITSPs make it possible to connect phones via Internet. ITSPs are essentially VoIP providers that serve other businesses and end users.

Even more important than the question of ‘what is an ITSP’ is the question of ‘how to become an ITSP’. We addressed this question in our Start Your Own ITSP whitepaper. Learn more and download the free PDF here.

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What is a SIP Proxy?

sip proxyA SIP Proxy is, in the simplest terms, an intermediary between two SIP devices. Also called a SIP server, a SIP proxy routes calls on a SIP network and is responsible for tasks such as registration, authorization, and other call functions and features.

A key part of any IP PBX, the SIP Proxy makes calls possible for users. Not to be confused with a SBC, SIP Proxies are unique and probably all you need.

Bicom Systems offers a SIP Proxy product, learn more here.

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Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 1 : Limitations

thirdlaneIt is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thirdlane has always spoken of PBXware.

I am often asked why to choose PBXware over Thirdlane and it seems only right to write.

Curious about this question is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories:

  1. Existing users of Thirdlane’s Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further.

  2. New Providers looking to start a business line with very little resource

  3. Well established businesses – either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems

For the first group, Thirdlane customers have dial tone. However, their ITSP is now so busied with the running of the business that the cost of maintaining the system takes on greater importance.

It is very noticeable how few subscribers the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers – a handful of customers. These, still quite new, Service Providers are also considering how to automate the monthly invoice run and, ideally, the provisioning of services.

thirdlaneA customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR… Surely this should take no more effort than checking boxes to solve everything from the feature’s creation to the monthly invoice going out, right?

There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once ‘real customers’ come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to ‘how do I do x, y, z?’ questions and, less often, bugs or critical failings.

Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses.  Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms, the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next.

What has also been learned by bitter experience is problems that may be caused by trying to piece-on a third-party software just because you don’t have it yourself. This could be an Operator Panel, for example, that can be strung through the Asterisk Manager. There’s no choice, you have to do it. The customer is screaming at you. So you spend an hour to download it, install it, try it yourself, and thirdlaneanother hour to read the manual. You repeat that with the customer. Next day, the customer wants something that is missing … it is crashing … whatever happened to your sales plan that week?

For some though, there is the matter of scalability. To simply ‘add another server’ and ‘stick on another few hundred customers’ is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.

Stay tuned for Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 2: Cost of Entry and check out these other posts in the meantime:

If you found this useful or can add, please feel free to post and of course visit our whitepaper on How to Start an ITSP or watch the video below.