Course Content - Advanced
Welcome to the online training series from 3CX. This module will focus on the configuration of Ring Groups in 3CX.
Todays training will focus on configuring Ring Groups within 3CX. We will see the various ringing strategies available for configuration, as well as the options available within a ring group.
We will also see the paging group configuration. We will talk about the 2 types of paging groups, which can be configured, these being the alert paging groups, and multicast paging groups.
First of all, let's talk about what a ring group is.
A ring group is a virtual extension, which merges multiple extensions together. By contacting this one number, you will be able to contact a group of extensions, for example, the Sales Department’s extensions.
Ring groups have 2 ringing strategies.
The “Ring All” strategy will ring all the extensions which are part of the ring group at once. This will use only 1 simultaneous call from your 3CX license.
The Prioritised Hunt ringing strategy will call the extensions in the ring group one by one in the order which they are defined in the list. Again, each call to the ring group will take 1 simultaneous call from your 3CX license.
Creating Ring Groups in 3CX is very easy. In the Management Console, select “Ring Groups” from the menu on the left, and then click “Add Ring Group”
The name you give to the ring group will show up on the group members’ telephone screens, whether this is a 3CX Client or an IP Phone. This way, the agents will be able to see which ring group the call is coming to, and answer the phone accordingly.
Ring group members will be answering the calls directed to the ring group. These are normal user extensions, which are assigned to the ring group. They will only be able to answer one call at a time. When they are on a call they will not be polled for a second call.
If a group member is busy, there is no retargeting of the group member. The PBX will work its way through the list only once. If a member of the group is not available to answer a call, the PBX will try the next available member in the list.
If retargeting of the group members is required, calls queues will need to be used instead. For more information about call queues, please refer to Module 3.5 Call Queues, which covers the characteristics of queue polling.
An extension can be part of multiple ring groups. If an extension is talking on a call from one of the ring groups, it will not ring for a call of another ring group.
In the “Group Members” section of the Ring Group configuration, the members of the Ring Group can be chosen.
Click on “Add” to add them.
You will be presented with all the available extensions, which can be assigned to the Ring Group. If you do not see a particular extension in the list of the pop up window, please check that this extension is not already part of the Ring Group.
When you use the Prioritised Hunt ringing strategy, the order of the members in the group, as defined in the list will affect the ringing of the extensions. You can move the extensions up or down in the member list to change the ringing sequence of the extensions.
The way the prioritised hunt ringing strategy works, is as follows.
The ring group will always ring the first available ring group member in the list. It will ring this extension for the configured Ring Timeout. By default this is 20 seconds, but this can be increased or decreased as desired.
After ringing the extension for the ringing time configured, it will move along to the next available ring group member. It will keep doing this all the way through the list, until the call gets answered.
An extension which is already in an active call will not be polled, and the call will move on to the next available extension in the list.
Calls which are not answered by any of the extensions in the list will go to the Destination if no Answer.
More about the Destination if no Answer 2 slides further down.
The Ring All strategy will ring all available agents, that is, agents which are not already in a call, simultaneously for the duration of the ring timeout.
The first one to answer the phone will take the call and the rest of the phones will stop ringing.
After ringing all the phones for the duration of the ringing time, the call will go to the destination if no answer.
The Destination if no Answer is a preconfigured destination, which calls overflowing from a Ring Group will be routed to in case a call is unable to be serviced by the Group’s members.
A call can be dropped if it is not serviced by the ring group.
You can connect the call to a user or system extension, which may be another ring group, a call queue or a digital receptionist as well.
You can divert the call to a voicemail box of an extension, as well as a group voicemail. However, with the group voicemail, an email will be sent to the ring group or queue members as an attachment, and not as a voicemail to be heard from the phone of the extension.
A call can also be forwarded to an outside number.
When a call comes to an extension and doesn't get answered, then the call is logged as a missed call in the phone’s call log.
When a call comes to the Ring Group however, and you have a number of extensions servicing the call, how would the missed call notification be handled in the different Ring Group scenarios?
It basically depends on the ringing strategy configured on the PBX.
When you have a Ring All strategy, and the call ends up being routed to the Destination if no Answer, then all the members of the Ring Group will be notified of the missed call.
If the call gets answered by any one of the Ring Group members, then that call will not be logged as a missed call. No extension will be notified, as this call will be considered answered by the PBX.
When the Prioritised Hunt strategy is in use and the call ends up in the Destination if no Answer, then all the group members will be notified.
If a member of the group answers, then the members which were polled before this extension in the group list, will be notified. So if group member 4 answers the call, group members 1, 2 and 3 will be notified. Any extensions in the group list after this extension will not be notified.
When a call is not answered because the caller has hung up the call, the Missed Call Notification will again depend on the Ringing Strategy configured.
In a Ring All strategy, all member extensions will be notified.
In a Prioritised Hunt strategy, the members which were polled up until the point the call was hung up, will receive the Missed Call Notification.
So, for example, if extensions 1 through 5 were polled and the call was hung up while extension 5 was ringing, then the extensions from 1 through 5 will receive the missed call notification. Extensions after extension 5 will not be notified.
Paging groups will also merge multiple extensions under one virtual extension number, but instead of ringing the phone, it will open the speakers of the phones automatically, to allow the caller to make a broadcast.
This broadcast will be a one way transmission from the caller to the paging group extensions. The called extensions will not be able to communicate back to the caller.
There are two types of paging groups: Alert and Multicast. But what are the differences between the two?
An alert paging group is configured with up to 64 members possible to be added to the group.
It is possible to have local extensions configured, both IP Phones and 3CX clients, remote STUN extensions and remote SBC extensions.
Multicast paging groups can only be configured with local desktop IP Phone extensions. Multicast traffic will only be able to traverse the local network, so remote extensions receiving multicast traffic is not possible.
As this is happening at the network level, there is no limit to the number of extensions in the multicast group.
Creating an Alert paging group is very easy in 3CX. Going to the Ring Groups page, click the “Add Paging” button.
Choose “Paging” as the paging strategy
Define the paging group’s name. This name will show up on the screens of the extensions. Note that the paging group name will only show on the screen of the alert paging group, and not the multicast group.
Add the group members which you want to auto-answer when the paging group is dialled. If you do not see an extension in the pop up window to choose from, please check if this extension is already in the list of configured extensions.
When adding a Multicast Paging Group, follow the same procedure to add a Paging Group, but choose “Paging Multicast” instead.
You will see a slightly different configuration screen.
Give the Multicast group a name. Please note that this will not show up in the screens of the phones, like the Alert paging group.
You will not see a list of member extensions, as they will be listening to a multicast channel, on the network.
The settings which need to be set up are the following:
IP. This is the Multicast IP which the PBX will be broadcasting to and which the phones will listen on. This will need to be an IP Address which is reserved as a Multicast IP from IANA, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority. SIP Multicast traffic is usually found on Multicast IP 220.127.116.11. This is also defined by default on the PBX.
The port can be any available high port. For example port 50001 is possible. Please don't confuse this port 5001 which may be configured as the HTTPS port of the PBX.
The audio codec which will be used can also be selected.
Packet time is the size of the audio packets the PBX will be sending. Please keep this value at 20.
From the phone provisioning tab of the extension, the multicast paging is able to be set. All you need to do is select the multicast paging group you want to listen to and the phone will be automatically configured at the next reprovisioning. The phone will now be configured to listen to the multicast channel and broadcast any messages coming through this multicast channel, to the user via the speaker.
Thank you, and goodbye!