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What is a Key System? | Print |

Although definitions vary depending upon the source, most agree that Key Telephone Systems most often share the following characteristics:

  • One technical defining point of a Key System is that it typically shows all available lines on every telephone. So, if line 6 is ringing, every phone with enough buttons, displays line 6 ringing. If someone is holding on line 2, the intended party may go to any phone and retrieve the call.

  • Key Systems also typically are served by a KSU, or Key Service Unit. The KSU is the central brain of the system. This is what makes a true Key System more robust than an "off-the-shelf" system purchased in a store and installed yourself. The KSU packs many of the popular features of larger systems into a preconfigured wall-mountable casing to meet a small business budget.

  • Key Systems are typically used by smaller offices, often ranging from at least extensions up to a few dozen extensions. Some key systems do grow as large as 50 to 100 extensions, but, from a scalability perspective, these customers are best served by Hybrid or PBX Systems.

  • Key Systems typically offer a lot more flexibility and robust features than an off-the-shelf" system. Key Systems are designed by Telephone System manufacturers who typically also design and sell larger systems. As the newer features of the larger systems have been available for awhile and become more common, as well as become less costly to duplicate, they find new homes in their sister Key System products. Key Systems offer greater scalability than that of "off-the-shelf" systems. You have more control over how many phones and lines can be served by your system, and you can expand it well beyond most off-the-shelf systems.

  • Purchasing a Key System from a dealer who will stand behind it is also of great benefit. When purchasing an off-the-shelf system in a retail environment, you most likely will not get the same level of service and customization as you would from a dealer.        
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