Cost Benefits and Comparisons of In-House IPPBX System vs Cloud-Based PBX Plans
A comprehensive data network and a reliable telephone system are two prerequisites for any business to run properly. The data network needs to be fast, secured, reliable and covers modern day functionality such as firewall, VPN, Wi-Fi, VLAN, etc. The telephone system, on the other hand, needs to enhance verbal communications among staff, suppliers, and customers with versatile business grade functionality such as Automated Call Handling (Auto Attendant), Hunt Groups, Call Forward/Pickup, Music on Hold, Voicemail, etc.
To cover the needs of businesses, many ISPs in Australia and New Zealand have offered not only xDSL or mobile Internet accesses, but also cloud based VoIP and PBX plans. In comparison, DrayTek has offered an all-in-one router, VigorBX 2000 series Multi-WAN xDSL and Gigabit Ethernet WAN router, which not only covers important business network features but also the essential IPPBX functions.
In this article we will compare the VigorBX 2000 and the cloud based VoIP and PBX plans offered by some of the Internet service providers. We will consider the advantages and disadvantages from either system and compare the costs and benefits.
DrayTek’s IPPBX Solution
The VigorBX 2000 is a Multi-WAN VDSL2/ADSL2+ & Gigabit Ethernet router that supports all important data networking and IP PBX functions. For starters, it is a multi-WAN router that supports features such as Load Balance and Failover. It has an extensive Firewall that will protect the business network from unauthorized access or undesirable data traffic from the Internet. The VPN function allows for secure remote access by the staff. For multiple departments, the tag-based VLAN and multiple subnets can be used to create different workgroups and provide additional security within the company. The Wi-Fi version, VigorBX 2000ac model supports IEEE 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards.
In addition to network features, the VigorBX 2000 router doubles up as an IPPBX system. The Auto Attendant feature allows incoming callers to hear your customised messages and enter the digits based on their selections. While a caller is waiting in the queue, he will hear the Music on Hold or your marketing promotions. You can also have a different greeting and menu options for out of office hours or holidays.
If the office is unattended, the caller can be asked to leave a voicemail message which can be sent as an email. Alternatively, the incoming call can be diverted to your mobile phone. The VigorBX 2000 will handle 50 extensions, and cater for 2 incoming PSTN lines and 12 SIP trunks.
Cloud Based PBX Plans
Below are some cloud based PBX plans for VoIP and PBX for businesses offered by some of the key ISPs in Australia:
Solutions from these ISPs can start from as low as $9.95 per month for a basic VoIP service with a single handset, and without any PBX functionality. The cost goes up to $29.99 per month for a business plan with three handsets included in the package. The business plan usually includes PBX functionality and is offered with an 18 month or 24 month contract. The advantage of using a cloud based PBX solution is that there is no hardware to purchase and the service can be expanded as the business grows.
At first glance the cost of ownership of a cloud based solution appears very attractive when looking at the monthly cost alone. In comparison, using an in-house IPPBX system does require the initial purchase of the required hardware and set up costs. Usually once configured, the maintenance required is minimal and is comparable between the two methods. For example, tasks such as changing Auto Attendant greetings require a similar level of effort whether a cloud based system or an IPPBX router is used. An in-house IPPBX system does not require additional expense if additional extensions are added as the business grows, compared to the cloud based system that involves additional cost.
Costs over a Two Year Period (for one telephone extension)
In the table below we show the cost comparison between a DrayTek VigorBX 2000 IPPBX Router and a typical hosted cloud based solution offered by an Internet service provider. The costs here are for a single phone extension for a 2 year period. If we only look at the initial cost for PBX requirements, the DrayTek solution appears to be more costly due to the cost of the hardware.
The cost of the cloud based solution is $728.75 over 2 years, compared to $979.95 for a VigorBX 2000ac costing $979.95 plus all mobile call charges (the ISP provided these as a package). This comparison is unfair, as the initial hardware cost for a network router is not considered in the hosted cloud solution. On the other hand, the ISPs do cover local/international/mobile call charges in the packages.
Costs over a Two Year Period (for five telephone extensions)
In the table below we again look at the cost comparison between the DrayTek VigorBX 2000ac solution and the hosted cloud based solution. Here we look at the cost of using 5 handsets (5 extensions) over a period of 2 years. Some features such as Hunt Group, Attendant and Mobile Apps are included in the VigorBX 2000ac but are only available at additional cost with the cloud based solutions. The DrayTek in-house solution does require the purchase of IP phones and this has been included in the calculations.
As can be seen in the table the total cost of ownership of a DrayTek in-house PABX solution is almost half the cost of the hosted cloud based PBX solution. So what appeared to be a low cost option for a small or medium sized business to use a hosted cloud based PBX solution, was actually more expensive. If the number of handsets or extensions required increases, the gap will enlarge as well.
The two comparisons above show that while the cloud based system may seem to be a low cost option but is a lot more costly in the longer term. To be fair, the call charges that the ISP provides can/will lessen the gap; however, there are many VoIP packages in the market that cost very little, so the DrayTek solution will still come up on top by a big margin.
VigorBX 2000 Specifications
Below are the technical specifications of VigorBX 2000ac.
More information on the VigorBX 2000 router/IPPBX series is available on our web site:
A summary of the IPPBX features of the VigorBX 2000 series are:
- 50 x extensions
- 12 x SIP trunks
- 2 x PSTN trunks
- 8 x Custom trunks
- IPPBX Wizard
- Hunt Groups
- Conference Calling
- Call Queuing
- Auto Attendant
- Music on Hold
- Configurable user prompts
- Digit Map
- Speed Dial
- Virtual FAX