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Small Business Phone System Review

Updated on March 2, 2013

How To Choose A Phone System for A Small Business

Choosing the right small business phone system can be difficult even for the most knowledgeable IT people. There are a few things to consider when you shop for your phone system; it can be quite expensive to have to change your phone system because of a missing feature, wouldn't be? Why do we need the new features, and why can't we work with the old standard PBX features? Because it makes running a business so much easier, it increases productivity, and it ensures your employees can be found anytime, if desired.

Your choice would have to take in consideration your business's needs, and the possible growth. Most likely for a home office business, a standard plain old telephone service, (POTS), is enough, but for many small companies additional options, such as VOIP services, are a must. The Auto-attendant is a must even for a home office business, and the voicemail should be a standard.

Photo credit: Phillie Casablanca via Flickr

Small Business Phone System Features

PBX Feature List for A Small Business

The problem when buying a phone system is that you might even not know what features exist on the PBX market, and many times the consultant, or the company that sells the phone system, sometimes forget to mention all the great available features. I've heard people saying that is getting too complicated to use the phones, with so many features, but after using the new features for a while, they got so used to it, they couldn't live without them.

Here is a list of features you need for a small business phone system:

Call handling:

Call Forward on Busy, Call Forward on No Answer, Call Monitoring, Call Queuing, Call Parking, Call Recording, Call Retrieval, Call Routing (DID & ANI), Call Transfer, Supervised Transfer, Blind Transfer, Call Waiting, Route by Caller ID, Three-way Calling

User Features

Volume Control, Caller ID, Direct Inward System Access, Distinctive Ring, Do Not Disturb,

Other Features

Automated Attendant, Fax Transmit and Receive, Music On Hold, Music On Transfer, Protocol Conversion, Overhead Paging,

MultiSite Support

Remote Office Support, Roaming Extensions, VoIP Gateways


Visual Indicator for Message Waiting, Voicemail to email

FortiVoice Small Business Phone System - Video Presentation

This presentation is for the Talkswitch phone system which was acquired by Fortinet. The new product is called FortiVoice. It has new features, a new nicer enclosure, a more powerful CPU, and more....

FortiVoice-40 Phone System: 2 FXO 4 FXS ports 40 Extensions VoIP Trunking - Fortivoice Phone System Review

This phone system is scalable, easy to setup, and fully featured, so that you small business is perceived, and operates as a big company.

I have configured and administrated the Talkswitch phone systems for a while, and I loved them. The targeted market was the small business and the home business. Now, that Fortinet acquired Talkswitch, it looks like they are trying to target the medium businesses as well. The phone system is more powerful, and the features expanded to accommodate bigger companies.

Here are some of the features on the Fortivoice Phone Systems.

Multilevel auto-attendants that ensure incoming calls are answered, and routed properly. This highly customisable auto-attendant can easily act as a receptionist, saving you costs, and ensure your calls are not lost.

Mobile extensions, (Connect anywhere extensions), are extensions tied to external devices, such as cell phones. Your customers dial the main office and can reach employees on their mobile phones, by dialing and extension.

Multi-branch connection via VoIP networking.

VoIP provider integration You can use your phone system with a VoIP provider for saving money on the phone bill.

Ring Groups Ring groups are logical grouping of extensions, that are rotated to answer your customers. With a few tweaks a ring group can be configured as a call center. The calls queue up and they are transferred to the first available employee. Do your employees mostly work from home? No problem the remote extensions can be part of a ring group. Isn't that powerful?

Built-in Voicemail built in voicemail transparently tied to the extension, no need for a separate license, as with other phone sustems.

Remote Extensions are phones that connect to the PBX via Internet. These are phones that employees can have at home, or for an employee who works from home, or just soft-phones for the road warriors.

FortiFone-350i Business VOIP Phone

Fortinet FortiFone 350i - VoIP phone
Fortinet FortiFone 350i - VoIP phone

FortiFone-350i Business VOIP SIP Phone LAN 10/100 PC 10/100 PoE with Power Adapter up to 6 linesFor use with Fortivoice phone system.


TalkSwitch 480vs 4 Line 8 Analog/IP 8 IP Extension Small Business Phone System

TalkSwitch TS-350i IP Phone

Guestbook Comments

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    • John Huf profile image

      John Huf 

      5 years ago

      Thanks guys for the great research! I will definitely add it to my lens because I write about awesome tools that make your business run easier and smoothier. Well done!

    • Jukebox LM profile image

      Jukebox LM 

      5 years ago

      Getting the right phone system is key to productivity, even if your business is really small and you just need a couple of lines - especially now we're more into telecommuting instead of packed into one downtown cube. Good to see advice w/ firsthand experience behind it.


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