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Vonage Consulting charges not withstanding ;-), the most common small PBX (at least

Consulting charges not withstanding ;-), the most common small PBX (at least in the US) is the Lucent Partner system. It's marketed for the small-to-medium business (mainly because of its pricing). I also know Panasonic and Toshiba make smaller phone systems.

Now, the answers to your questions:

1. You can transfer/hold calls between/to one phone in the house. You can intercom phone-to-phone. You can see which phone and line is in use. Most of these are general PBX features, not unique to home installations. Other PBX features: you can page all phones, have an incoming call ring dial extensions all at once or in sequence (call hunting), and they have voicemail - usually as a software and costly upgrade.
2. This is called Direct Inward Dialing (DID) and most systems support it, usually as a software upgrade. It creates a "static route" that says, "When a call comes in on phone number xxx-xxx-xxxx, have it ring directly to the phone on extension yy".
3. I've never heard of this. Door entry would probably be tied into a security system - those traditionally have poor integration with phone systems. If you might be a little more specific - I might can answer better.
4. Traditionally, PBXes accept input from POTS lines (that's Plain Ol Telephone System) aka single analog lines. Most land and Voip providers will have standard analog coming out. The exceptions to this in land line world is ISDN or T1 - those are digital. You can MIX inputs of POTS lines from any provider (theoretically) into the PBXes multiple incoming line ports and then let the PBX handle incoming/outgoing call management. This is the primary function of a PBX - it creates a private phone system and then manages the interoperability to external (landline or Voip) phone services.
5. IMO, I don't think PBxes are needed for home, even a small home office. They're not cheap - I can get a good multiline phone with hold and speakerphone for <$100. PBXs are in the $$$thousands, then you have to buy handsets compatible with that system ($200-$500 ea).

If you have two+ Vonage lines, you can setup PBX-like features on your Vonage lines running into multiline phones:
a. Call hunting (PBX) = simulring (Vonage)
b. Call forwarding (forward to another extension) = call forwarding (vonage can forward to another Vonage line or anywhere like a cell)
c. Direct inward dialing = line indicators on multiline phones
d. PBX Voicemail stored locally = Vonage voicemail - accessible from any line and it can even email you when you have a message
6. I'd start with learning the Lucent Partner - Lucent has some manuals on its website.

The biggest note is the internal phone system, the private one the PBX creates, is digital. This makes the handsets more sophisticated and not allowing plain 'ol telephones to plug in. Also, PBX wiring is much more elaborate than analog phone wiring. You'll be required to have Cat 3, probably Cat 5 cabling, and some PBXes use more than one pair. This infrastructure can also be a concern for home installs.

Hope this helps!

Read The Full Thread:

Newbie questions about Vonage & PBX options

I'm a new Vonage client with no experience with PBXs. Can anyone help me understand
Thanks for the help Michael.

mkstringer posted "Consulting charges not withstanding ;-), the most common small PBX (at least" on 10/07/2005

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