Centrex vs. Other Office Phone Systems
September 30, 2005 9:02 AM   Subscribe

Centrex/CustoPAK vs. Other Phone Systems: Should I get one?

I'm setting up a new office and we need a phone system. I found this thread very interesting. After looking into PBX (including Asterisk), key systems, hosted PBX and other IP-based systems, it looks to me that given our needs, Centrex is the ticket, primarily because it's really cheap and we don't need to learn how to admin anything (I'm really not looking forward to poring over a horribly-written manual for some clone 1A2 hw while everyone's freaking out that the phones are down).

There will be about seven people in the office total, and three or four who really use the phone all the time. I was thinking of getting four lines with three jacks per desk, and some regular three-line cheap phones. Verizon lets you pay for your install month-by-month with no interest, which is nice for a startup. So my impression is that when you have a small company, with no in-house phone expertise, Centrex is both the cheapest and the easiest thing to use. Am I missing anything here? Has anyone had a Centrex setup and hated it? Horror stories?
posted by jeb to Technology (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have experience with the panasonic style PBXs and asterisk solutions as well as some (very ooold) centrex systems. in reality it boils down to how much you trust your local phone company. I've seen centrex systems do very well over time but don't expect much immediate flexibility. like all Ma Bell run enterprises, provisioning new services/lines/etc can take as long as the phone company wants. Asterisk can run great with a $1500-2000 inital layout assuming you have a good admin available (i.e. pay digium to set it up for you if you don't feel up to the task yourself and it will be a fairly static configuration). any phone system will run for years so long as you don't touch it too much.
otherwise, contact some of your local telecom providers, you may find that there are some very competitve quotes from companies that can install a small pbx to suit your needs that will be able to grow far beyond the centrex solution. other than panasonic, polycom and iwatsu are companies that can provide small buisness phone systems that will expand to near enterprise size without a huge initial investment (although any phone system is a substantial cash layout). a windows based solution that might be easier to manage but may be in the higher range in price can be had from companies like interactive intelligence (www.inin.com). shop around. alot. call everybody in the yellow pages and see who can get you what you think you need. you never know, maybe someone can get you more than what you planned on for less than what you thought.
posted by skatz at 11:56 PM on September 30, 2005

« Older Common law marriage?   |   How do I learn to be photogenic? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.