SIPaccounts vs. ringgroups: phones extensions n:n management

Discussion in '3CX Phone System - General' started by Frank D, Jul 15, 2015.

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  1. Frank D

    Frank D New Member

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    Hi,

    we have the situation the we have to map extensions and phones n:n. So a phone number should be on multiple phones and a phone can have multiple phone numbers assigned.

    I am just figuring out the advantages and disadvantages of using multiple accounts on one phone vs. the use of ring groups and would love to get some feedback.

    using multiple accounts on one phone:
    The management of the 2nd, 3rd etc, SIP accounts on the phones is not very transparent. You see those accounts, when you look at "phones" (phone indicated as IP-Phone), but you do not see the phone, when you look at the extension (where all the other, first account provisioned phones are listed). The SIP accounts have to be manually edited using the web-interface of the IP phone.

    just using ring groups (in addition ot phone non-person extensions):
    A lot of extension features are not available: Voiceboxes, Softphone, Group-Permission Management, the number will not show up in the telephone book etc.
    The ring groups will not show up in the "extensions" list, which of course is correct, but it's quite a hassle if you want to manage things and always have to look at two places.
    If you use ringgroups and there is a phone, which only needs one externsion assigned, you need to assign an addional extension anyway.This brings us to our solution:

    using extensions and ringgroups (one ringgroups for each extension, which needs n:n mapping)
    Phones, which will have multiple numbers will get a dedicated extension, which often is named according to the room. It may be a personal extension, two, if there is one person, who is only available on this phone (Than there are other people, who will use the phone, too.
    In addition to the extensions for each user, we create a dedicated ring group for each user, who needs those n:n features. The extension than is forwarded to the ring-group. This way we have the advantages of users and ringgroups combined. We have no distributed management of mutliple SIP accounts on the phones. We have all the extensions features. Of course this way you need 2 numbers for a person, who needs n:n, one for the externsion, one for the ring group.

    How do you guys handle this?

    best regards Frank
     
  2. lneblett

    lneblett Well-Known Member

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    Re: SIPaccounts vs. ringgroups: phones extensions n:n manage

    Wow, huh, and holy moly.

    Sorry, but the description is confusing to me. What does"map extensions and phones n:n" mean?

    I assume you to mean that you have DID numbers coming into the system which are routed based upon inbound rules to extensions, ring groups, Queues, IVRs and the like. You can't really have a DID come in and then be distributed to multiple extensions simultaneously without using a group of some kind. Of course, if you have phones with the same extension numbers and a route set to this extension # for a given DID, then it will ring however many phones that have that extensions assigned.

    It is not clear to me why a ring group is needed if only one extension is to be assigned to same. Why not simply ring the extension itself? I can only surmise that you must need a different call handling to accommodate the need rather than the rules associated to the extension itself.

    It is also not clear to me why you want to set-up different accounts (extensions) on a phone that might have multiple DIDs directed to it. You can label the rule which will show on the phone so that you can identify the DID on which the call was received. To me, this is overcomplicating the management of the extensions - each account on the phone may or may not have a voice mail box, then there is the manual provisioning required for the other accounts, and what expectations are there when multiple calls arrive on different DIDs to the same phone at the same time, etc.?

    If you start using multiple phones to carry multiple extensions and then have some be the same extensions #s across phones, then you may have a real provisioning issue as if there is a need to change one item on one phone, then you will need to identify and make the same changes on the other phones that have the same extensions assigned.

    I guess I am not following what you are trying to accomplish. If I have DIDs, then I use the inbound rules to direct to the needed location. The rule name will define how the call came in and perhaps how, when answered, the call will be accommodated. If it needs to ring at multiple locations, I send to a ring group or Queue whereupon I assign the needed extensions to same. I would much rather look at one system (3CX management console) which may require me to look at the phone extension as well as a ring group, but given that extensions can easily be added or deleted from the membership, this seems far more simple to me than having to manually manage the provisioning of individual extensions via their web interface.

    You are correct, that ring groups will not show up in the extension listing. You can manually add to a phone book or set up speed dials on a BLF key. A ring group is a system extension much like the voice mail extension. Presumably internal calls will not have a need to call a ring group as they will not know who might answer (unless only one extension is assigned). Most internal calls are directed to a specific person or location where the caller knows who will be on the other end.

    I just have a feeling that I am missing where you want to go. As I currently understand the issues, you may be over thinking things and as a result underestimating the amount of management that will be coming. I prefer as simple as possible and letting the system do as much of the heavy lifting as possible. The less complicated will also result in far fewer training issues as well.
     
  3. Frank D

    Frank D New Member

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    Re: SIPaccounts vs. ringgroups: phones extensions n:n manage

    HI Ineblett,

    thank you for trying to understand my situation and helping me.

    Yes, we got DIDs which get distributed to extensions and ring groups. With n:n I mean, that often people have different places (their desk, production facility and lab) where they should be reachable. At the same time, one phone should ring for several different numbers/people. Which n:n I mean people and phones. We don't have a call centre. We do R&D and people are moving around a lot and their is no mobile network reception available.

    I completely agree. We will only do ring groups, if their are multiple people for the ring groups. For most people (e.g. one desk only) ring groups won't be needed. But I don't want to do "just" a ring group for a person without an extension, even if their is no physical phone provisend with this extension.

    I don't get this part.

    I don't want to setup multiple accounts on one phone. I completely agree. I want to avoid this. But I want every person, who needs it to have their own phone number (DID, extension). At the moment we have an internal telephone list, which reads like this:

    Mr X. Main number 675, other numbers: 278, 455
    Mr. Y. Main number 564 other numbers 278, 489
    Mr. Z Main number 564, other number 232
    Ms. 1 Main number 455 other number 332

    I think I know, what you mean. I agree, that phones should only be provisioned with the same extension, if there is the same use-case. E.g. here we sometimes have two desk for one person, one inside a clean room environment, one outside.

    I absolutely agree. That is, why I don't want to use multiple accounts on one phone. With our old pbx, we used to have lots of phones (which were identical to DIDs) named after rooms. Now I want to have externsions for most people. I don't think a ringgroup is a good way to reach a person for us(here we have no ques, most times you want to talk to a specific person). We started out with the idea: Great everybody gets his own phone number, and than we put mutliple accounts on a phone, as they support this. But now it has became clear, that this is not a good idea from a management perspective. We will need ringgroups in addition ot externsion (some for people, some for lacation/phones).

    Yeah, I know what you mean. At our place we have to ring multiple phones to reach one person, as the people move around a lot. Not very common, but this is our situation.

    Totally agreed. I don't want to go into the webinterface of all those phones. And we will roll out the softphone, soon, so we need externsion for the people anyway. With WLAN Smartphone access, the issue with several phones needing to ring might become less important. But we got a really huge production and lab area, where WLAN is just starting ro rollout and is still going to take a couple of years.

    I have nearly no experience in directly editing those rules. I always use the ringgroups and the forwarind of the extension forms. For my purpose those forms are fine, aren't they? Was I able to explain my situation and do you think about my approach now?

    all the best Frank
     
  4. lneblett

    lneblett Well-Known Member

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    Re: SIPaccounts vs. ringgroups: phones extensions n:n manage

    I think I get the gist of it. I think where we may differ in the approach is the degree of connectivity desired.

    In your case, you would like to have virtually everyone be able to be reached no matter where they are and by having the ability of by-passing the receptionist.

    You might consider setting up dummy extensions. This is an extension where no phone is connected. In essence, an unregistered extension. For instance you could set up say extension 500 to be for LAB AREA. You then direct your DID to extension 500, but because it is unregistered, you have the rule set to forward to RING GROUP 801 - LAB AREA, whereupon you select the true extensions/members (102, 103, 107, 207, etc.) for the group. This way, the extension (500) is published and you can add and delete members at will. Anyone can dial 500 and get to the ring group.

    If you want to have more than one person assigned to a phone, then it depends upon the level of control needed. If they need individual voice mail, then you are back to multiple accounts on the phone and the need to use the phone web interface for setup. If not, then a single account might work using a common name for the phone book needs.

    I can't imaging having a person associated to more than one extension as in your example. If I am calling Mr X and he is not at the first extension, do I leave a voice mail or do I try the second and third extensions first? And if no phone is answered, on which do I leave a VM? It also begs the question of how X handles calls while on extension 675 another one comes into 278 or 455. To me, give him one extension and let him use the system to forward calls or go to VM.

    I just think that a system can only do so much and when you try and make it cover every conceivable scenario, you are asking for trouble as it will usually mean constant change, tracing of call handling when things do not go as expected and endless frustration.
     
  5. Frank D

    Frank D New Member

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    Re: SIPaccounts vs. ringgroups: phones extensions n:n manage

    Hi lneblett,

    thank you so much for your valueable thougts. Sorry for not answering, I had some very pressing issues and some nice holidays. Now I am back at thinking about how to organise things, so that the management is more efficient.

    Yes, most of our staff has very specific contact with external people (partners in research, customers, machine suppliers and support, suppliers etc.).

    I agree like this idea. The thing is, that most people have very individual areas and skills, we have 40 different labs and 30 different pilot production places. We have some bigger labs, where we have 3 phones assigned to the same extension.

    Of course this way we would need a dummy extension and a ring-group. We are quite short in numbers at the moment. We could try to use some new just internal 4digits ones. I have to look into that.

    Only very few people use voicemail, so we should be fine.

    I agree. We don't have much voicemail, so this is fine. I really like the idea, that people forward calls to other phones by themselves. We would need easys self-serving parallel forwarding, which is not supported as fas as I know.

    I totally agree. I is really important how to organise things. I really liked the idea of "one person one number" and multiple accounts per phone. But as multiple account management imho is not supported in an efficient way (using webinterfaces of the phones) we have to go with a new strategy.

    best regads Frank
     
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