3CX Phone System is a popular Windows-based PBX that many Flowroute customers, particularly small and medium-sized growing enterprises, use to manage their voice calls. We’ve always supported a large number of 3CX users, but we’ve seen a spike in calls about the platform since Flowroute formally certified as a US provider of choice on the 3CX 12.5 release. So I dug deep into the interface to provide a look at key 3CX functionality and after setting up the system to use with Flowroute SIP trunking service, it’s clear to me why 3CX has been growing in popularity with our customers.
The version I configured is browser-based, so the initial installation was minimal—a simple download from the 3CX website. You can host the system on a Window’s based server or run it on a virtual machine. 3CX comes in Standard and Professional editions, you can license from 4 to 1024 simultaneous calls, and with any edition you choose extensions are unlimited.
Setting up a 3CX system can take time and attention, especially for more complex installs with many seats/extensions. But, I was happy to discover that many common options and features are quick to configure. For example, finding the controls to customize SIP signaling fields such as caller ID was no problem at all.
When you are setting up, 3CX system logs identify exactly what happens when a call hits the system which is a big help in checking your work. The logs allow you to see if all routes and extensions are set up correctly, you can make sure registration packets are authenticating correctly, and you can monitor how calls are routing as they enter the system.
The 3CX PBX is easy to setup and configure. While some other PBX systems are known to sacrifice security for ease of use, 3CX delivers simplicity without opening a can of nasty security worms. One of the main reasons many people find the system so easy to use is the familiarity of the Windows-based interface which doesn’t require command line access or coding.
Inbound call routing is intuitive and simple. A quick series of dropdowns allows you to program numbers to ring at an individual phone extension or to a ring group of multiple support engineers awaiting calls.
For automating more complex call handling 3CX comes with IVR capability you can use to help callers reach the correct extension. The IVR has default messaging for hold, but you’ll need to record and upload voice files to customize your call tree for your organization which is a fairly simple process once you have the audio files. One nice IVR feature is that you can schedule the voicemail attendant to answer calls after hours to avoid the problem of forgetting manual switch over.
It’s important to have the ability to look into your system and make corrections when calls aren’t connecting properly. The most common cause of trouble when it comes to SIP is an improperly configured firewall. 3CX offers an integrated Firewall Checker to make sure that your system is able to send and receive data on all the relevant ports through your firewall. Also 3CX allows you to easily login and adjust signaling, add and remove codecs, adjust caller-ID, etc, so troubleshooting can typically be handled more efficiently, without outside help.
A phone system for all:
For new startups or existing enterprises 3CX comes standard with great functionality that will give you a professional phone system without much hassle. The interface is easy to learn and understand, and the system can scale with your needs in size and sophistication.
Our customers have used this system to manage everything from call centers to small offices with a receptionist who manually routes calls to their desired locations. If you want the convenience of running on Windows, 3CX could be the right choice for you. To configure your 3CX system with your Flowroute SIP trunking account, follow the steps laid out in our 3CX configuration guide. I’ve enjoy supporting our 3CX customers and in their new 12.5 release, it just got easier.