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Ring Groups

A ring group is used to distribute a call to a group of extensions and other account types. In contrast to a call queue, callers are not lined up and routed immediately instead. In previous versions, ring groups were called hunt groups. There may be still references in documentation that uses the term hunt group as updates are made.

Creating a Ring Group

List of ring groups

  • Go to your selected tenant in the Vodia PBX web interface.
  • Go to ring groups by clicking on Ring Groups under Accounts as shown above.
  • On top, click the tab Add to create a new ring group.

Create new ring group

  • In the account number(s) field, enter an account number. If you wish to give the ring group multiple names, use a semiconon to seperate the numbers. You can also use phone numbers (DID) as number.
  • In the display name field, enter a descriptive name for the group.
  • The system will automatically generate a profile picture for the group. If you can, use a different picture for the group.
  • If you want to use settings from another ring group, you can have those settings being clones from that group in the clone settings from account field.
  • Press Create.

The ring group(s) will be created which you can see in the “ring group list” or in “all accounts list”, where you can enter each ring group just by clicking it, in order to modify it if you want, as explained below.

Configuring a Ring Group

Once you've created a ring group account, use the following information to configure it.

  • Go to your selected domain in the Vodia PBX web interface.
  • Go to Ring Groups.
  • Click on any ring group from the list that you want to change.
  • Here you can configure the settings. You can also go back to the list of ring groups, if you want, by clicking on the List tab above.

Explanation and Use of Some of the Settings

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Identity

Account Number(s): This field takes extension number(s) and/or DID number(s). The number of DIDs that can be entered into this field is unlimited.

Name This field allows you to create an alias so that you can quickly identify the Account among other Accounts.

Outbound number (ANI): The ring group uses an ANI (automatic number identification) when sending a caller to an external number. For more information, see Trunk ANI .

Profile picture: You can load a new profile picture for the group.

Account class name: The account class name for the ring group, which can be used for billing purposes.

Stages

The extension numbers that are part of a ring group can be arranged into groups known as stages. Each stage is configured to ring for a specified period before the system begins ringing the next stage. To continue ringing the same extension throughout all stages, include that extension in each ring stage. A last-resort or final stage number (often an auto attendant or a cell phone) can also be used when none of the extensions pick up the call. A common use case for the ring group is to use the ring group as the main number for incoming calls, then put the receptionist, secretaries, and assistants on the different stages.

You can also include regular numbers in the ring groups, not only extensions. That makes it possible to call devices that cannot register as SIP endpoints. If you want to include cell phones in ring groups, you better use the extensions number and enable the cell phone forking in the extension setting.

You can also use other ring groups, call queues or IVR nodes in the extensions field. The ring group will then use the first account which is idle. This can be used to distribute calls to a free account.

The ring group supports three stages and a final stage. Each stage can be configured to ring for a different number of seconds, and the final stage can be either an internal or external phone number.

For each stage:

  1. List the extensions or numbers that should be part of that stage. When entering multiple extensions, use a space as a separator (only one number is permitted for the final stage).
  2. For duration, specify the length of time that the system should ring each stage before ringing the next. The duration of the stages must be specified in seconds.
  3. For unwanted stages, leave the fields empty.

If all extensions of a stage are unavailable, the system will immediately move to the next stage.

If you check the missed flag for the stage, the PBX will send a missed call indication to the phone when it moves to the next stage and the phone is not part of the next stage.

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Note : The number of extensions permitted for the first three stages is limited by hardware only. The system must start calls to all extensions in each stage, which requires more computational power. It is recomended to keep the number of extensions below 10 in order to avoid spikes.

Ring Group Features

Custom ringtones Each ring group can be configured with different ring tones, interoperability of the phones permitting. Employees can determine which ring group is calling.

BLF indicator The system can be configured so that the busy lamp field indicator lights up when the ring group is in use. Ring group activity is visible through the BLF indicator.

Group name caller-ID Ring groups can have a unique name and can be configured to display the name of the group, the caller’s caller-ID, or both when a caller enters a ring group.Helps management decide who belongs in each named group. Employees know the nature of the call before answering it.

Three-stage extension ringing Ring groups can be configured to ring 1–3 different groups of extensions. The system will ring each group in succession until the call is answered.Managers can direct calls to selected groups of extensions in a specified order.

Final stage to cell phone After calling the extensions listed in stages 1 through 3, the system calls the “final stage” number, which can be an auto attendant, an extension, or an external number.Callers are sent to a manager as a final means of assistance. This feature can also be used to gauge whether the group of extensions is too small or whether the employees are working properly.

Ring stage duration Ring group stages can be configured to ring for different durations before the system rings the next group of extensions.Call flow control can be established. Intervals that keep customers waiting a minimum amount of time can be used.

Recordable calls Calls made to ring groups can be recorded and saved on the system.Recorded calls can be reviewed by management to fine-tune employee performance. Disputes can be easily resolved by emailing the recorded conversation.

Behavior

Behavior settings allow you to control numerous account behaviors. You can choose a ring melody, a display header, and music on hold source. You can also enter a safety net phone number that will be used if no one picks up a call. Other settings are here as well.

Algorithm: By default, the ring group calls all agents, IVR nodes and numbers in each stage up and connects the call to the first that accepts the call. In the case of IVR nodes this is the first that is idle. If the algorithm "Select most idle agent per stage" the system will call only one agent per stage. This makes it possible to automatically balance the call load on several extensions in a fair way.

Ring Melody: This setting allows you to set the ring melody so that ring group members will be able to distinguish regular calls from ring group calls. See Custom ringtones for more information.

From Header: This setting allows you to set the display name that ring group members will see when someone is calling. More information on this subject is available below.

Dial plan for outbound calls: This setting allows you to configure dial plan behavior that is different from what has been set on the extension. For example, if the dial plan on the extension does not allow for outbound calling, but you want to allow the extension to receive ring group calls on their cell phones (see when calling the extension in a ring group ), you can select a dial plan here that would allow for that. There are many other uses for this setting as well.

Page incoming calls: The system can use a paging group to announce the caller's information for an incoming call.

Send daily CDR report to: The call data record (CDR) lists all calls that come into the ring group. The report is sent at midnight each night to the email address listed in this field (e.g., voicemail@vodia.com). Only one email address is allowed in this field.

Time for sending the report: This field defines the time or the times when reports are sent out and what duration is reported.

Report format: This dropdown determines the format for the reports.

Send email about missed calls: The system can send an email when a call was missed. This field contains the email address or the email addresses for those reports.

Music on hold source: From the dropdown list, choose the music that callers will hear while waiting.

Ringback source: By default the system will use the ringback file to indicate that the group is trying to reach an agent. However if custom ringback sources are available for the tenant, a different file can be spected for the group.

Record incoming calls to ring groups: When this setting is enabled, the system will record all calls that come into the ring group. The recordings can later be retrieved and reviewed.

Turn off the cell phone forking: The cell phone inclusion of the agents cell phones can be turned off specifically for this ring group.

Follow redirect all setting: When an agent is redirecting all calls, the ring group can use this setting and redirect incoming calls accordingly. By default this setting is turned off.

Allow agent connect ActionURL: When this flag is set the PBX will trigger the ActionURL for connecting an agent.

Enable call pickup from extension BLF: By default, the PBX will show that an extension is busy when a call rings the agents phones. If this flag is turned it, the PBX will make it possible to pick the ring group up from the extension BLF.

Allow agents to divert incoming calls: If this setting is turned on, agents can use their VoIP phones to deflect incoming calls to another destination. Please not that some phones will send call redirections by themselves, for example because a local call redirect after timeout or a call redirect for all calls was set on the device.

Behave like a shared line: When this flag is turned on, the group will allow only one call at a time. When calls are put on hold by an agent, the BLF for the group will show that a call can be picked up. This emulates the behavior of a shared line. Distribution of incoming calls to a shared line ring group can be achieved by using another ring group that lists the shared line ring groups in the first stage.

CRM account: When using CRM integration, the system needs to associate a call to the ring group with an account that exists on the CRM system if there was no agent that picked up the call (e.g. in the case of a missed call).

Redirect destination for suspected SPAM calls: If there is a suspected SPAM call, this field tells the system where to redirect the call. If the field is empty the system will accept the call.

Redirection

There are several conditions to redirect calls during off-hours, meetings, etc. See Service Flag for time-based redirection conditions. The following conditions are available:

  • Always Always redirect calls. This flag can be useful to temporarily bypass the group or when it is set through a API call.
  • Service flag Redirect the call if a service flag is active or not active.
  • No agent has phone registered The redirection will be triggered when all agents have no registration. This can be useful e.g. when an office went offline and a redirection to a cell phone number is needed.
  • Caller in address book The call is redirected when a caller is in the shared address book. If a category is listed, only callers that are in that category will be redirected. This way, a VIP service can be implemented.

From Header in Groups

In ring groups and call queues, the PBX is able to display more information about where the call comes from.

Generally speaking, the remote party information consists of two components, the display name and the URI. For example, if the display name is Group 1 and the URI is sip:123@domain.com, the remote party information would be Group 1 . What is being displayed, depends on the settings of the phone that you are using. Many phones are only displaying the display name; others only display the user part URI between the sip: and the @ symbol.

The web interface offers the following modes:

  • Calling-Party: In this mode, it just displays the calling party like on a regular incoming call. This is the default setting for the display. An example would be Joe Doe.
  • Group name: If you select this mode, the PBX will put the name of the group into the display of the phone; the URI remains unchanged. An example would be Group 1 .
  • Group name (Calling Party): In this mode, the PBX will use the name of the group in the front with display name of the calling party in brackets behind it. For example, if the calling party is Joe Doe and the group name is Group 1, the PBX would send Group 1 (Joe Doe) to the phone.
  • Group name (Calling Number): This is similar to the previous mode, but the PBX puts the username into the brackets. For example, if the calling party is Joe Doe and the group name is Group 1, the PBX would send Group 1 (2121234567) to the phone.
  • Calling-Party (CMC): In this mode, the PBX puts the client matter code (CMC) into brackets in the display name, if present in the address book. For example, if the calling party is Joe Doe and the CMC for the number 2121234567 is 54256, the PBX would send Joe Doe (54256) to the phone.

In addition to that, you may also add other information manually into the setting. You can that by editing the template for the ring group or agent group web page (add a option to the select for from_header). Here, you may use the following pre-set variables when generating the display name:

  • f is being replaced with the calling party username.
  • t is being replaced with the called party username.
  • g is being replaced with the display name of the calling party.
  • c is being replaced with the CMC code (if present).

For example, if the calling party username is 123 and the called party 456 and you select the Customized, then the SIP URI would look like 123 to 456 in the above examples.