A Technical Look at Node Africa’s Hosted PBX Service

Node Africa’s hosted PBX service offering allows companies and remote workers to carry around their office lines with them with the help of the cloud. Long gone are the days when you had to be in the office to receive those important business calls. Now with our voice offering, you can setup your desktop or mobile phone to make and receive calls, wherever you are.

Here are a couple of terms to get used to from the onset:

Terms from the past:

  • PBX – Private Branch Exchange -> Can be an IP-PBX like 3CX, Asterix or the traditional hardware PBX. It connects all your desk phones to the SIP trunk (see below) or E1 link provided by your service provider.
  • E1 / ISDN PRI- Integrated Services Digital Network -> The ISDN is a set of communication standards that would allow you to make multiple concurrent calls (approx. up to 32 calls at a go) through your PBX
  • PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network -> Traditional telephony infrastructure is made up of fixed lines that would make up the public switching network. Calls would be routed on this circuit-switched network that is based purely of analog signals. This in modern times is being replaced by your IP network.

Terms from the present:

  • VoIP – Voice over IP -> The protocol that carries your phone conversation over IP and delivers it to another handset. The Internet Protocol is the basis of much of the modern internet. Now you’ll find many different forms of media able to run over the Internet Protocol (VMware Horizon uses PCoIP, i.e, PC over IP to deliver virtual desktop images from the cloud!!!) Your PC and phone are already running on the cloud!
  • SIP – Session Initiation Protocol -> The more specific protocol used to initiate call sessions between the various SIP handsets or soft-phones. SIP is used to setup and terminate the calls and works with other media protocols that determine the media format and codecs to use. There’s no limit to the number of users you can setup . There is however, a limit on the number of concurrent calls one can make. The Standard license offers 4 channels and the highest priced license, the Enterprise license, allows for 1024 channels. The channel to user ratio is about 1:4 and it would be require a large organization to fully utilize all those channels at a go.
  • RTP – Real-time Transport Protocol -> The protocol that works with SIP to setup a media stream that transmits your audio and video data from one end device to another. It mostly runs on UDP which is better suited for speed rather than quality of call.
  • WebRTC – Web Real-Time Communication protocol -> This protocol works on the application layer, leveraging modern technologies like JavaScript and HTML5 to create peer networks that can be used to relay video and data across devices. The solution offers video conferencing and recording using this protocol.

At this point it may help to delve into all that you can achieve using the hosted PBX solution:

  1. Unified communications – This is a broad term used to describe the integration of enterprise communication; features such as online presence, instant messaging, web conferencing, desktop sharing, fax and voicemail, unified messaging such as email, video messaging, voicemail to email
  2. IVR (Interactive Voice Response) / Auto-attendant – You can have calls routed to extensions using a pre-recorded voice menu (there is a built-in IVR, though you can upload your own specialized recordings).

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the features. Other features include, ring groups, that allow you to create groups for departments or other organization functions and bridges, that allow you to connect different systems in a Master/Slave setup which would enable you to scale your operations.

Some of the advantages this service may provide to organizations:

  • Free calls to extensions – For organizations that have branches in different geographical locations, one benefit is being able to call extensions for free. Charges are incurred only when calling endpoints outside of your 3CX system.
  • Limited costs – Apart from licensing and purchasing desk phones, if required, and of course the costs that we’d charge you for hosting the server and for the connection to a SIP trunk service provider, there are really no other costs you’d incur.
cost of hosting your own PBX
The image above depicts the underlying costs incurred when setting up on-premise IT services. A cost-benefit analysis may prove that going with our hosted service is a much cheaper option than purchasing and setting up the hardware on your premises.

You would be in a good company too with a list of well-known local brands such as

  • Senga Technologies is a full-service logistics company that takes away all the logistics management from customers.
  • Motogari, one of the largest local transport providers in the country.
  • Sendy, an innovative logistics solutions provider.
  • Genghis Capital;  the first local investment bank to move fully to the cloud
  • EAC Directory, a leading domain name registrar

To ensure optimal call quality, we offer dedicated links to your hosted servers. This ensures that bandwidth issues are limited and don’t affect call quality. Give us a call and we’ll help you set that up.