A question that I often field from customers during our Hosted PBX deployments is: "Can the phone ring differently when receiving an internal call?" This is called distinctive ring, a feature that is available for most premise based systems. For our typical deployments we use Yealink T4X series phones because of their durability and feature set. Yealink T4X phones allow for distinctive ring not just for internal calls but distinctive ring based on a local directory. This directory can be configured through the phone itself or it can be provisioned to each phone being deployed. Typically we use the second option -- this allows for a consistent user experience, all the phones on the site work the exact same way. In this post I will explain how to add numbers to this directory from your phone as well as detail the process for provisioning a directory to all phones for other VOIP installation professionals.
Option One: Adding Numbers Manually to your Phone Directory
If you are one of our customers and already have internal distinctive ring set up please let us know before using this method. Your changes may not be permanently saved to the local directory if you follow this method. If you do not have distinctive ring set up and would like it set up company wide for internal calls please contact us using the contact form on this website or by giving us a call. Otherwise, follow this guide to set up distinctive ring for contacts!
1. Press the Directory soft key on your phone's main screen (T46G pictured, if you do not have a Directory soft key you can access it via Menu -> Directory -> Local Directory)
2. Select All Contacts and press the Enter soft key
3. Press the Add soft key
4. Enter the contact information in the Add Contact form -- for Office Number you can enter the person's extension number to set up distinctive ring for an internal caller
5. Make sure to leave the Account line set to "Auto"
6. Select the distinctive ring that you wish to use on the Ring line
7. Press the Save soft key
Your contact has been configured! Have your new contact call you to test it out!
Option Two: Provisioning a Directory to All Phones
If you are a non-technical user (and one of our customers!) that would like to have distinctive ring for a list of callers and internal calls, please use the contact form on this website or call our office to have this configured on your Hosted PBX setup. If you administer Yealink phones and are wondering how this provisioning works, read on!
Step One: Create an XML Directory File
See example below. The distinctive ring to use is specified by the ring attribute of the contact tag. There are 8 different ring files (Ring1.wav to Ring8.wav) included by default on Yealink T4X series phones. It is also possible to provision custom ring tones using ringtone.url = http://[server]/[ringtone].wav, but that is a post for another day.
Step Two: Upload The Directory To a File Server
Your setup may vary. The bottom line is this: you need an FTP or HTTP accessible file server that can server the directory file to the phones. For our customers we use a single provisioning server with multiple customer contexts stored separately to quickly and reliably facilitate configuration changes. For each customer that is set up with distinctive ring we upload a directory file to their context so that their phones know where to find it.
Step Three: Edit Your Autoprovisioned Configurations
For our customers we generate a custom configuration file per phone based on the MAC address and phone model entered in our portal. However you set this provisioning up, you will need to add the following line to your configurations:
There are several factors to consider when taking this approach to provisioning the local directory. If you have your phones set up to periodically check for updated configuration files from the provisioning server (which you should) this setup will wipe out any user additions to the directory every time the phone autoprovisions. In my experience, not many users use the local directory. They tend to store their contacts in a CRM or just use the contacts on their smartphone. Our solution to this as a Hosted PBX provider is to maintain the directory for our customers. If a specific user wants a different directory than others in their company that can easily be set in their phone's individual configuration, we just have to upload and maintain a separate directory for them. Take this into consideration when you decide how to handle your setup.