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The Difference Between Hosted PBX and SIP Trunking

As a hotelier, if your goal is to keep pace with the increasing technological demands of your guests, it is essential to upgrade your communications to a VoIP phone system. However, when researching your options, you’ll likely be faced with many decisions you may not understand. One of the first and most common is whether you should use PBX or hosted SIP trunking?

What is a Hosted PBX Service?

A hosted PBX system connects directly to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) and is managed by a third-party service provider. If you sign up for a hosted PBX system for your hotel, you won’t need to own or maintain any of the infrastructure, equipment, or software required to run your phones.

Hosted PBX systems are easy to install and deploy since they require little to no infrastructure upgrades. There’s no need for on-premise PBX equipment, and you won’t have to deal with maintenance costs, PBX software upgrades, or service downtime.

Hosted PBX also offers many benefits that can bring extra services to your hotel, including sophisticated routing and transferring, conference calling, voicemail, and integration with the other systems inside your hotel.

What is SIP Trunking?

Rather than completely changing your systems, SIP trunking is a VoIP service that connects your existing PBX system to the internet, routing your calls through your internet connection rather than through the analog phone system you’re currently using. If you already have on-site PBX hardware and IT staff to maintain it, the transition will be much simpler.

SIP trunking also brings substantial versatility. In addition to voice signals, SIP trunks carry video, email, and other internet data on the same lines. SIP trunking requires an IP-enabled PBX on-site and a VoIP gateway to connect that PBX to the cloud, which can make the installation more involved, but you’ll also have more control of your systems. If you already have PBX equipment in place, switching to SIP trunking is a much easier upgrade.

Pros and Cons of Both

Depending on the type of hotel you’re running and your existing infrastructure, there are several factors to consider:

Initial Setup Costs

With hosted PBX, you’ll only need phones, routers, and a broadband connection, which you likely already have to provide internet services to your guests. You won’t need any other server infrastructure, since your VoIP provider will host and maintain the servers off-site. Initial setup costs for hosted PBX are extremely low, especially if you already have a good internal network.
With SIP trunking, you’ll incur costs from setting up the server infrastructure that you don’t already own, including retiring and upgrading your equipment when it becomes obsolete. If you don’t already have server infrastructure on-site, hosted PBX is by far the most affordable option.

Ongoing Costs

Both hosted PBX and SIP trunking charge monthly costs, but hosted PBX providers typically charge per phone line rather than at a flat monthly rate. The cost of a subscription is likely to be nearly identical with the two services, so the difference will come from the unique packages offered by your provider and the initial setup costs.

Maintenance and Technical Expertise

If you sign up for hosted PBX, you’ll only have to maintain internal changes like adding users, changing features, and upgrading phone handsets. You won’t need to hire an internal technician or IT staff and can make any changes you want via a browser window with very little expertise.

When your hotel has a SIP trunking system, your own internal team will need to take care of your servers including upkeep, updates, and troubleshooting.


One of the biggest differences between hosted and on-premise systems is the question of security. Online data in general is a source of concern for many hoteliers, and many are hesitant to route phone data through internet servers that might be susceptible to hacking.

Hosted PBX systems rely on the security protocols of the servers they’re hosted on, which are run by your VoIP service provider. These protocols can be just as secure as any website on the internet, but they’re not hosted on your own property. If the provider is hacked, your data is vulnerable.

SIP trunking can offer better security since your company’s and your customers’ data are stored on servers kept on the premises of your hotel. The security of that data will depend on your own protocols when it comes to encryption, password protection, and other cybersecurity concerns.

Talk to Phonesuite Today

Choosing between two VoIP systems can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with the options, features, and terminology. Luckily, we’re here to help. At Phonesuite, we can take a comprehensive look at your hotel, existing infrastructure, and the features you find most important to come up with a tailored solution that’s right for you. Curious about your options? Get in touch today.

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