November 11, 2021
What is 3CX? 

What is 3CX and how does it work?

Read time:
3 Minutes

There are so many different types of business telephone system on the market today, and 3CX is one of them.

A new telephone system is an essential investment for any business—and understanding what your signing up for is important. Our guide is here to help you get a clear picture of what 3CX actually is, and how your business might benefit from 3CX.

What is 3CX? 

If you’re in the market to upgrade your businesses phone system, then you have probably come across the name 3CX.

3CX is a brand of software-based business telephone systems. 3CX allows your business to make and receive telephone calls using a technology known as VoIP (Voice over IP).

3CX Business telephone system
3CX Business telephone system

‘Traditional’ PBX (telephone system) equipment uses physical, on-site hardware to control your businesses telephone calls. This hardware is clunky, outdated and expensive to purchase and maintain—and as such is being swiftly replaced by software based telephone systems such as 3CX.

3CX uses a licence-based model, which means that you’re only paying for the number of licences you’ll actually need. The licence you choose will depend on the number of concurrent calls your business requires, and more licences can be added as your business grows.

3CX Licences Comparison
3CX Licences Comparison

How does 3CX Work?

As we mentioned, 3CX uses a technology called VoIP to carry your businesses telephone calls. VoIP calls travel over your businesses broadband connection, rather than traditional ISDN telephone lines.

This makes better use of your existing broadband connection, and eliminates the requirement for multiple telephone lines, as the costs associated with these lines.

3CX Diagram
Example 3CX Diagram

3CX phone systems use something called SIP Trunks. It is these SIP trunks that turn your broadband connection into a phone line, by running onto of your line and allowing calls to pass through unimpeded by data traffic.

Each 3CX telephone system needs SIP Trunks to carry their calls. The more SIP trunks your business has, the more calls you can carry.

In terms of physical hardware, 3CX supports a huge range of existing deksphones and DECT phones. This means that you can pick and choose the phones that best suit your business, whether you need wireless handsets for a warehouse, or touch screen desk phones for your office team.

Types of 3CX Deployment

Part of what makes 3CX telephone systems so versatile is the flexibility in their deployment. In fact, there are three different types of deployment for 3CX phone systems—each with their own benefits.

1. Cloud Hosted

Hosted deployment, often referred to as a ‘hosted PBX’ is a fully cloud-based deployment of 3CX. With little-to-no physical hardware required at your office or premises, cloud deployment is often the chosen route for many businesses, particularly small and SME size companies.


Low rollout cost

No maintenance required

More scalable


Less reliable than on-premise

2. On Premise

On premise 3CX systems use your businesses IT hardware to host your telephone system, this is typically a dedicated PC or a server. By hosting your 3CX system on premise, you can increase the reliability of your solution, and make use of your existing infrastructure, rather than paying hosting fees.

However, on-premise solutions are often more difficult to implement as they require hardware and equipment at your site. Typically, an on-premise 3CX rollout is the best option for larger businesses with 60+ extensions. But every business is different.


Increased reliability

More security options


Expensive rollout

Harder scalability

On premise 3XC server
On premise 3XC server

3. Hybrid

By far the most reliable and robust option for a 3CX implementation is a hybrid setup. This combines both on-premise and cloud hosted 3CX setups. With a hybrid 3CX, your business has the reliability and robust-ness of an on-premise 3CX, but with the backup and failover of a cloud solution. 

This is normally reserved for large or enterprise level businesses with service-critical reliance on telephony, such as business call centres, 999 handlers or telesales setups. A hybrid setup does require more management and setup than it’s alternatives, but offers the most reliable telephony possible.


Built-in failover

Incredibly reliable


Expensive implementation

Increased management required

Why choose 3CX?

There are so many different telephony options on the market that choosing the right telephone system for your business is a challenge.

3CX Does come with a wide range of features, for businesses of all sizes. Whether you have 2 or 3 extensions in an office, or 1000 extensions working remotely, 3CX offers feature sets to cover all use cases.

Cost Saving

Moving your business to a 3CX telephone system can help substantially reduce your running costs. With 12 months free licensing and a myriad of other cost saving measures such as reduced call charges and line bills, you can save thousands on your telephony with 3CX.

Softphones & Work from home

3CX Comes with soft phone apps for your computers, mobiles and tablets. With soft phone apps, you can make and receive business calls from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. This is the ideal solution for home workers or on-the-road staff who need to stay connected.

Future Proof Telephony

As you may or may not know, in 2025 the ISDN network is being switched off. This means that businesses relying on traditional telephone lines or ISDN will have their services ceased. Moving to a 3CX phone system gets your business ready for the ISDN switch off and future-proofs your communications.

Improved Productivity

3CX Phone systems have built-in productivity features—designed to help your business run as smoothly as possible. From group messaging to conference calls, online meetings, CRM integration, click to dial, web apps and more. These features help your team to streamline their workflow and increase productivity.

3CX is a great solution for businesses of all shapes and sizes. For home working, large rollouts, schools, businesses, call centres, hospitals, SMEs and all other types of business.

3CX can be a difficult product to understand, particularly if you’re not in the telecoms industry. But our team are here to help you. Get in touch with us to speak to one of our dedicated technical members, who will be able to recommend the number if SIP trunks and system rollout that best fits with your business.

If you have any questions, or would like some more information about how Bytes Digital can help your business, email hello@bytesdigital.co.uk give us a call on 03331 301 021.

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