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Asterisk Tutorial 20 - Asterisk Call Distribution

Asterisk Tutorial 20 - Asterisk Call Distribution

Introducing Asterisk Phone Systems – Asterisk Call Distribution

So after last week’s little detour into the world of Contact Centre solutions, here we are with yet another Asterisk tutorial. In today’s session we start taking a look at how to configure Asterisk call distribution within our setup.

As Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) is a complex yet essential topic, we have broken down our tutorials in to a step-by-step guide over a few tutorials. Thus providing a clear overview of the configuration process when setting up your call distribution strategies. Today’s episode concentrates on the basics – how to do it and the drawbacks of using just the basics. We also take a look at some of the more advanced concepts and applications that we will cover later on.

Often referred to as Line Hunting or a Hunt Group, ACD enables you to distribute incoming calls from one number to multiple peers (users) simultaneously. Obviously, this is a handy tool when you want incoming calls to be directed to a team of agents. However, ACD in Asterisk is much more than that. It allows you to configure call strategies which effect how the distribution will be handled. Or more accurately, the order or sequence in which your peers / agents will be call but we will get into more detail later on.

Starting with the bare basics, today’s tutorial demonstrates how to configure your dialplans with a new extension on which all your team personnel can be reached. This solution could well be ideal for a Small Office Home Office (SOHO) scenario. If this is what you are looking for or just starting out, then the steps to follow are outlined in the following.

The first step will be to add an incoming number to dial which will simulate an incoming call to distributed to your call group. We did this under the context incoming, which we configured in an earlier tutorial, as shown below:

    exten => 99123123,1,GptoIfTime(8:00-17:00,mon-fri,*,*,*?phones,100,1)
    exten => 99123123,n,Playback)tt-monkeys)
    exten => 99123123,n,Hangup

    exten => 99123124,1,GoSub(timecheck,s,1)
    exten => 99123124,n,Goto(phones,200,1)
    exten => 99123300,1,GoSub(timecheck,s,1)
    exten => 99123300,n,Goto(phones,300,1)

Next up, within the phones context (or your preferred context) we need add a new extension and use the Dial command but this time include all the agents you wish to be called with the command arguments as illustrated below:

    exten => 300,1,NoOp(Support Team)
    same => n,Dial(SIP/james&SIP/Mathias,120)
    same => n,Hangup

Tip to remember here: don’t forget to include the Hangup Command. Once you have completed these steps, save everything, reload the dialplan and you are ready to get testing. Stay tuned for next week when we start solving some of those downsides to the basic configuration set that we talked about at the end of this tutorial.

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Final Word

A well-configured business phone system that oozes useful tools, delivers excellent audio quality and intuitive call flows will leave callers with a highly professional impression. The configuration options and application availability and how well they are utilized will have a decisive impact on how professionally you manage your calls and therefore how your customers view your company. The switch to a pascom VoIP phone system solution provides the opportunity to not only upgrade your internal collaboration but also to redefine telephony in your company.

If you would like more information regarding pascom and our Asterisk based PBX software, please visit our website or give the pascom team a call on +49 991 29691 0 to discuss your requirements and get started within minutes using our free hosted business VoIP phone system edition.

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Markus Gerlitzki, Managing Director
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