Ring Groups

    What they are, and how to use them!
    Virtual Office Manual What is a Ring Group?

A Ring Group is a set of telephones which are all connected to the same inbound number, and will all ring together when that number is dialled. The first phone to be picked up gets the call, at which point the others stop ringing.
    Do I need new dedicated phones?

No, you can add any existing phone to a Ring Group, it will still work normally on its existing number, but will also receive calls placed to the Ring Group number.
    Is this really available free?

Yes, we are offering the Ring Group service free to all Switch customers. If you're already a customer you can enable Ring Groups on any of your existing Switch numbers, if you're new to Switch, all you need to buy is one of our business telephone numbers, which start from just £10 set-up and £6 per month for either a standard 0845, or a geographic 01 or 02 number. You can then use this number to set up your ring group and send calls to all your existing phones.

Note: If you want to include UK mobile numbers in your ring group, you also need to purchase the one-off "Mobile Routing" upgrade on your number, which costs £10.
    What phones can I include in a Ring Group?

You can include almost any phone numbers in your Ring Groups, including UK landlines, UK mobiles, and VoIP phones. Note that you can't currently include international numbers, or numbers starting 08. Ring group targets don't have to be Switch numbers, so you can include all your existing phones, regardless of who provides their service.
    What does it cost?

The basic Ring Group service is free to all Virtual Office and Call Manager customers. Calls made to the Ring Group, and delivered to Switch VoIP phones, are also free of charge for owners of business (0845, etc). VoIP call delivery for owners of geographic numbers will be charged at 1.75 pence per minute. Calls sent to BT landlines wll be charged at 1.75 pence per minute, and calls to mobile networks will be charged between 3p and 9p per minute, depending on the mobile network. All calls are billed per second (so if a call only lasts 20 seconds you only pay 1/3 of a minute for it). And calls are only billed from the point at which a Ring Group phone is picked up.

So for example, suppose you have a Ring Group with four targets, made up of two Switch VoIP phones, plus your mobile phone and a BT landline. When a call arrives at the Ring Group, all four phones will start to ring, but no charge will be made. If one of the VoIP phones is answered, then there will be no charges at all for the call. If the landline is answered, the charge will be just 1.75 pence per minute. Charges are only levied for the single phone that answers the call, so you won't find yourself being billed for four outbound calls, for example.
    Any "gotchas" or things I need to be aware of?

You will probably want to switch off, or at least set a longer time-out on, any voice-mail or other auto-answer service on the phones in a ring group. You probably don't want your mobile voicemail answering calls just as someone in the office is about to answer one of the other phones in the group. We also suggest that you set the "Ring Length" setting here in INS to 120 seconds, to give the group plenty of time to ring and let someone answer the call.
    Can I have more than one Ring Group?

Yes, you can have up to ten Ring Groups, each of which can have up to twenty phones linked to it. You can also use the same Ring Group as a target for more than one Switch number. Example: You might have one Ring Group for your Sales department, and another for Accounts, but want either group to be able to answer the other's phones if no-one in the first group is available. So you could create two Ring Groups, and on your Sales number, set the Sales team's group as the first target, and Accounts' group as the second target. On the Accounts number, you could put the same groups the other way round, Accounts first, Sales second.
    How do I set a Ring Group up?

This is a three stage process.

First, on your number configuration page in INS, underneath your targets, you'll see a link, "Configure Ring Groups". Click this (or right-click and open it in a new window) and it will log you into our Ring Group Control Page. If you've not set up a group before, you'll see a blank entry with a "Ring Group Number" which starts 044, and empty boxes for you to enter the group's name, the target phones, and to specify the "Dialled Number" for the group.

Second, configure the Ring Group itself:

  • You can set the name field to any text value, "Accounts Group" or "Technical Phones", etc. This is just a handy label to describe the group for your own convenience when making changes or adding new groups.
  • In the target boxes you add all the phone numbers you want to include in the group, note these need to be specified in full, with the STD code. You can include all or any UK VoIP, UK Landline, or UK Mobile phones in the group.
  • The "Dialled Number" is where the Group's own public number should go. Normally this will be the number that people will dial to get to the group (i.e. the number for which the group is going to be a target in INS), however you are free to use any of the numbers in your Switch account, so you can use your main office reception number if you wish. This number will then be used as the "incoming from" number displayed on mobiles (and on landline phones with CLI display) when group calls are sent to external phones. This means that mobile users can instantly see that the call is coming from the group and isn't a direct call, and answer appropriately.

    Note that setting the Dialled Number does not set up the group, you still have to perform the final step below to complete the configuration. Note also that internal (Switch-provided) VoIP phones will always show the original caller's number as the CLI.

Third, once you have added all your phones to the group, you need to take a note of the "Internal Group Number", and paste it into the target box in the main INS configuration for the number you are sending to the group. If you've opened the Group Control page in a new window or tab, close it to get back to the main configuration screen, otherwise, use your browser's "Back" function to return to it.

Note that while the Internal Group Number looks like a phone number, you cannot place calls to it externally, it is only used internally, by being placed into target boxes in INS, by our system as a target number to deliver calls to your Ring Group. We generate the Internal Group Numbers automatically from your customer ID number, so you can be sure the group is unique to you.

    Can I have some help setting up my Ring Groups?

Sure! Just call our Support line on 0345 652 2222 and our helpful and knowlegable staff will happily take you through the process and check that everything is set up correctly for you. Support is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5:30 pm.

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