Introduction, Licensing, Support
On this topic
What is 3CX Phone System for Windows?
3CX Phone System is a software based PBX for Windows that works with SIP standard based IP Phones, SIP Trunks and VoIP Gateways to provide a complete PBX solution – without the inflated cost and management headaches of an ‘old style’ PBX. The IP PBX supports all traditional PBX features but also includes many new mobility and productivity features. An IP PBX is also referred to as a VoIP Phone System or SIP Server.
Calls are sent as data packets over the computer data network instead of the traditional phone network. Phones share the network with computers so no separate phone wiring is required. With the use of a VoIP/PSTN gateway, you can connect existing phone lines to the IP PBX to make and receive phone calls via a regular PSTN line. You can also use a VoIP Provider, which removes the requirement for a gateway.
3CX Phone System interoperates with standard SIP softphones, IP phones or smartphones, and provides internal call switching, as well as inbound and outbound calling via the standard phone network or via a VoIP service.
How an IP Phone System Works
A VoIP Phone System generally consists of the IP PBX server, one or more SIP based phones and a VoIP/PSTN Gateway or a VoIP service provider. The IP PBX server is similar to a proxy server. SIP clients, being either softphones or hardware based phones, register with the IP PBX server.
When they wish to make a call they ask the IP PBX to establish the connection. The IP PBX has a directory of all phones/users and their corresponding SIP address, and connects an internal call or routes an external call via either a VoIP/PSTN gateway or a VoIP service provider.
Figure - VoIP Phone System Overview
The image illustrates how an IP PBX integrates with the network and how it uses the PSTN and/or the Internet to connect calls.
A VoIP phone system requires the use of SIP Phones. These phones are based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), an industry standard to which all modern IP PBX systems adhere to. The SIP protocol defines how calls should be established and is specified in RFC 3261. SIP allows the possibility to mix and match IP PBX software, phones and gateways. This protects your investment in phone hardware. SIP phones are available in several versions/types:
Software (based) SIP Phones
3CXPhone for Mac (left), 3CXPhone for Windows (right)
A software based SIP phone is a program which makes use of your computer's microphone and speakers, or an attached headset to allow you to make or receive calls. Examples of software SIP phones are 3CXPhone or X-Lite from Counterpath.
Hardware (based) SIP Phones
Hardware IP Phones: snom 760 left, Yealink T46G right
Hardware based SIP phones look and behave like normal phones. They are actually mini computers that connect directly to the computer network. They have an integrated mini hub, allowing them to share a network connection point with a computer, eliminating the need for an additional network point for the phone.
Smartphones (iOS and Android)
Using an iPhone or Android Smartphone with 3CX
iOS and Android devices can be used as clients for 3CX Phone System, using the freely available 3CXPhone for Android and 3CXPhone for iOS. Using 3CXPhone, your smartphone or tablet becomes a wireless desk phone in the office, and can be used to answer and receive company calls while out of the office via WiFi, 3G or 4G(Providing your mobile service provider supports VoIP over 3G and/or 4G).
3CX Phone System Licensing
Licensing is based on the number of simultaneous calls that your company requires, including both external and internal calls. Each 3CX Phone System allows you to create an UNLIMITED number of extensions. To arrive at the correct number of simultaneous calls that you will need you must usually take the projected number of extensions and divide by two to four times depending on how much your organisation uses the phone.
3CX Phone System Editions
3CX Phone System is available in three different editions:
- Free Edition - All features but limited to two simultaneous calls
- Standard Edition – Includes all key features necessary.
- PRO Edition - Adds advanced call queueing, reporting, CRM integration and more.
Find out more about the differences between versions from our Features Comparison Page.
3CX Technical Support is available via our Support Portal. Access is free for 3CX Partners. For end users, 3CX Support packages are available. Review our Support Procedures and Pricing. We also have Community Forums from where you can obtain user to user support for our products.
Support Page / Configuration Guides / Knowledge Base
3CX maintains a knowledge base / help page. Be sure to follow the configuration guides for the make and model of your VoIP gateway, SIP phone or Firewall. The configuration guides can be found in the main Support Page.
- 3CX Technical Support is available via our Support Portal.
- Review our Support Procedures and Pricing.
- See Our Community Forums and obtain user to user support for our products.
- Find configuration guides in the main Support Page.