A conference bridge gives you the ability to speak with multiple people at once. It enables you to have a meeting with several people without them all having to be in the same physical room. In the 70’s, conference calls were accomplished by physically bridging the copper lines together. This setup was generally limited to only 3 participants. Copper lines were designed for one on one conversation. Adding more participants to the conference call resulted in the quality of the call diminishing. Participants would have trouble hearing each other clearly.
By the 80’s, telephone system manufacturers added a conference call feature to their telephone system. It was also limited to 3 or 4 participants. However, the quality of the conference call was greatly improved, since the system provided amplification and line balancing.
During the 90’s, some manufacturers had special conference bridge cards that increased the capacity of participants. Unfortunately, this card was expensive, required professional onsite installation and was not very reliable.
Later on, with the advent of the digital era, some digital telephone system manufacturers included a conference bridge in the basic system software package. It required no additional hardware and increased the capacity to about 15 participants. It worked reasonably well on copper lines and very well on the more expensive T1/PRI circuits. T1/PRI circuits were only available on the larger and more expensive PBXs.
In today’s VoIP telephone system environment, businesses can accomplish conference calls by outsourcing to a company that provides conference bridge services. The conference calls have to be scheduled in advance and cost as high as 50 cents per minute, per participant.
The option of choice is a VoIP Telephone System running on SIP trunks. With VoIP Systems, a conference bridge is a standard feature that does not rely on hardware. Conference bridges on VoIP systems have virtually no limit on number of participants (only limited by internet bandwidth). Businesses that run on VoIP systems have the choice of having multiple on the fly conference calls simultaneously with no cost per participant.
Steadfast Telecommunications has been providing the conference ability to our clients since the 70’s. Give Steadfast a call to find out how we can cater to your VoIP Telephone System needs.
Does your company use a conference system for you weekly meetings?