Book Image

The 3CX IP PBX Tutorial

By : Robert Lloyd, Matthew M. Landis, Matthew M Landis
Book Image

The 3CX IP PBX Tutorial

By: Robert Lloyd, Matthew M. Landis, Matthew M Landis

Overview of this book

Traditional PBX systems have often been expensive and proprietary. With 3CX, you can now create an easy-to-use, complete, and cost-effective phone system on Microsoft Windows. This practical guide offers the insight that a reader needs to exploit the potential that 3CX has to offer.This practical hands-on book covers everything you need to know about designing, installing and customizing 3CX to create an all-inclusive phone system. It takes a real-world approach that walks you through all aspects of 3CX and its features. From installing the software, to backing things up, to understanding what hardware you need – this book covers it all.The 3CX IP PBX Tutorial will take you from knowing very little about VoIP to almost expert level with detailed how-tos on every aspect of 3CX. Starting with the basics, and covering the free version of 3CX as well as the more advanced features of the Enterprise version, you will learn it all.In other words, this book covers numerous topics such as installation and configuration of 3CX, choosing a VoIP Provider, integration of a trunk into 3CX, the commonly used 3CX hardware, and backing up your phone system.
Table of Contents (15 chapters)
The 3CX IP PBX Tutorial
About the Authors
About the Reviewer

Linux Asterisk versus Windows 3CX

Inevitably, when talking about free, software-based phone systems, the extremely popular Linux-based Asterisk IP PBX will come up as an option. Should we use Asterisk or a Windows-based solution? Let's look at some of the strong points of each.

The following are the advantages of Asterisk IP PBX:

  • It has been around for a while and has a lot of installs

  • There are a lot of add-on products surrounding it

  • Asterisk installs on a free operating system—Linux

  • Asterisk Free version has features comparable to 3CX Commercial edition

The following are the advantages of Windows 3CX:

  • Large number of people already familiar with Windows server administration

  • Easier to integrate with existing Windows networks

  • Has a very consistent and easy-to-use user interface

  • Easier to integrate with Microsoft Exchange

  • Supports SIP forking (allows two or more devices to be registered to the same extension)

I started out in the IP PBX world using Asterisk@Home (now Trixbox). Because of my unfamiliarity with Linux, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to perform simple operating system tasks. After working with Asterisk for quite a while, it dawned on me that what I really wanted was a free (or low cost) phone system with integration capabilities, one that worked reliably, and one that I could call for support in rare instances when something didn't work right.


At one point, getting commercial support for Asterisk was an issue, but now commercial support options are available. There still may be an issue to get a vendor who will give a list of hardware that they will support along with Asterisk. The "last straw" that made us switch to a Windows-based phone system was when we had an issue with Asterisk. We called several vendors and asked them what hardware should we get to be in a supportable condition, and no vendor could list it for us. However, once again, I believe support for Asterisk is no longer an issue.

I think the decision between 3CX and Asterisk is one that each administrator needs to make. However, for many small businesses, a Windows solution makes sense.

3CX Free versus 3CX Commercial edition

One thing that makes 3CX very attractive to hobbyists, small businesses, and IT managers is its cost of entrance—free! The 3CX community has grown quite rapidly because of the free edition of the 3CX Phone System. It can be a little confusing to a new 3CX administrator about what is included in both the Free and Commercial editions, but the chart provided by 3CX at the following URL helps clarify a lot of questions that come up. The latest feature comparison chart is available at