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3CX Features – Handsets and Softphones – Part 1


You may remember some weeks ago we covered the advantages of VoIP. Over the next few posts, we’ll be covering some of the features specific to 3CX systems.


3CX is a versatile IP PBX (Internet Protocol Private Branch eXchange) system. It can be configured to use VoIP lines, digital ISDN lines, standard analogue PSTN lines, or a combination of any of these at once.

3CX Systems allow you to use any SIP-compatible handsets, and do not restrict you to a particular manufacturer. SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol. This is a connection protocol used by communication hardware and software, usually to transmit voice, video, other communications such as instant messaging, or online games. It is an industry standard set of instructions, comparable to HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) for displaying web pages, or IP (Internet Protocol) for connecting to the internet. Because it is a standard set of instructions, it means that many different manufacturers can make equipment to use it, resulting in competition between manufacturers and better value for consumers.

At the moment, our opinion is that Grandstream brand handsets provide the best value for money, so if you’re obtaining a quote from us that includes handsets, you’ll more than likely be quoted for Grandstream handsets. All of the comparisons we make in these articles will be using this manufacturer as an example, but there are various other manufacturers available, such as Yealink and Snom, whose products offer many similar features.

To use ISDN or PSTN lines with your 3CX system, you will need a small, relatively inexpensive device called a gateway – this acts as an intermediary and converts the signals used by ISDN and PSTN to something that the 3CX software can understand, and vice versa. To use VoIP only, you’ll need a VoIP (SIP) provider, and no additional hardware.

Because 3CX is a computer-based PBX system, this means it also supports softphones. Softphones are just as the name suggests – software phones, installed on a computer or mobile device. This means that with a 3CX IP PBX system you don’t necessarily need a handset at all. You can use your computer and a connected headset instead, or even your iPhone or Android smartphone, and use the softphone to make and receive calls as you would use a normal phone. This, plus the fact that the 3CX IP PBX software can be run on a virtual machine on an existing server and runs under Windows 7, can drastically cut down the cost of a new phone system.

Next post we’ll be comparing physical handsets to softphones to see what the differences and benefits to each one are.


If you are interested in VoIP and what it could do for your business, you can take a look at our other posts on VoIP, or alternatively you can call us or email us and we’ll give you all the information you need. We’re always on hand for any IT queries you may have!

Call us on 0845 234 0580 or email us at

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Posted on by Emily
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