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

What the 3CX Phone System is not

Perhaps the best way to understand a product is to take a look at some features the product doesn't have. Those features are discussed next.

3CX is not expensive

Certainly, the free edition is free, but the commercial edition is very reasonably priced, too. What makes the commercial edition quite reasonable is the licensing method of per concurrent call. This means that 3CX is not licensed as per extensions attached to the system but by how many concurrent calls (or simultaneous, calls as 3CX calls them) can be made at the same time. For example, if you have a very low-usage phone system (like a retail store) where you might need 50 phone handsets but rarely more than 5 are being used at one time, you could get a 10 concurrent calls user license in 3CX. With competing systems you would need a 50 concurrent calls user license. While this does reduce the cost of 3CX, the issue of what constitutes a concurrent call becomes very important, so make sure you understand it. One factor that is often overlooked is internal calls do count against concurrent calls. To see a full breakdown of what constitutes a concurrent call, I suggest that you read the following post by 3CX engineer Kevin Attard:

3CX is not a Cisco level of maturity product

Remember the price? So, what does this mean in the day-to-day operation of 3CX? You might need to reboot your 3CX server occasionally, you might need to use a workaround because some feature may still be a work in progress, or some seldom used voice prompt might not have a "million dollar" sound. In short, there will be items you will need to work through. My suggestion is that if you are installing a phone system for a company with toleration only for perfection, a Cisco level system might be the way to go. From my experience, 3CX also seems to be a good fit where there is on-site IT to watch over and take care of telephony issues.

3CX is not a turnkey hardware phone system

What gets most small businesses interested in 3CX is the low cost and do-it-yourself possibilities. Also the open architecture lets you use nearly any standard SIP hardware and this is really appealing. After working through several interoperability issues, we might start wishing for a turnkey proprietary phone system "that just works," and 3CX is a system that needs to be integrated.

3CX is not done

In fact, 3CX is being developed at a dizzying pace. In just a few versions, the web server was changed from Apache to IIS, the user interface completely redone, a new softphone was added, the Call Reporter was rewritten from Microsoft Access to a self-contained Windows application, a Hotel add-on was added, the 3CX Assistant was added, and lots of new features keep pouring in. 3CX is certainly a work in progress and a moving target. It's not at all uncommon for updates to come out several times a month. To keep an eye on these developments, you can follow the URL:

3CX does not have "key system" replacement features

The easiest way to explain a key system is to give an example. A call comes in on line 1, and John picks up the phone. The caller wants to talk to Joe, so the call is put on hold. John tells Joe to pick up the phone and Joe presses line 1 and says "Hello." 3CX uses the call park and call transfer paradigm instead, which works well but is sometimes a hard feature to give up for users who are used to a key system. The IP PBX feature that allows putting the call on hold and the other person picking it up by pressing the "line" button is sometimes called shared line appearance.

3CX integration with Microsoft Office Communications Server is not supported

Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) is a communication server that started as an instant messaging server. It has grown to have voice and collaboration features and is often integrated with an existing phone system. As Microsoft appears to be grooming OCS to become a full-blown communication system capable of replacing a phone system, 3CX has made the choice to not support integration with OCS. 3CX does integrate with other instant message-only servers (such as Openfire) easily and nicely. While this is not officially supported by 3CX, you will find more help at 3CX support and forums.

3CX currently does not have the ability to do multi-tenant

Multi-tenant is the ability for multiple companies to use one install of 3CX. 3CX's current answer to multi-tenant needs is virtualization.

3CX does not do multiple languages simultaneously

This may be needed for countries that need to support prompts in more than one language at a time. 3CX can do many languages, but only one at a time. So, if you need a digital receptionist prompt to say Hello, for English press 1 and French press 2, and then all prompts after that will switch to the language you selected, remember that 3CX does not do that.