Call forward configuration for internal and external calls


Is there any way to have two different call forwards on an extension for internal or external calls. For example if an external call is transfered to the extension and they are on the phone I would like it to return to the switchboard operator if unanswered while if an internal users dial this extension then I would like it to either ring or indicate busy and not forward to the operator.


sounds like you are looking for special functionality for the operator/receptionist vs. internal transfers in general? Is that the case?

This call forwarding feature is available on most simple analogue phone system that I’ve encountered. You want the switchboard operator to be able to transfer the call to the extension and then have it come back to them if unanswered or busy, where as if an internal user dials an extension you don’t want it to forward to the switchboard, it should indicate ringing or busy only.

How do most people who setup Asterisk with Freepbx to handle this type of scenario?

if I understand your response correctly, your answer is ‘yes.’ You want a facility for the operator to transfer a call to any user, and have the call somehow come back to them (no voicemail). However, any other person transfering a call to that user would operate normally - voicemail, busy, or what ever?

Is that a correct summary?

There is another scenario where the operator might passed the call to the wrong person and would like to have the call back to the switchboard where the operator may passed the call again to the proper person. Is there anyway the FreePBX able to do this?

is that scenario any different? If they pass it to the ‘wrong’ person, either that person answers the call (and then there is nothing to do unless the send it back to the operator) or they don’t answer the call (ignore it, busy, voicemail, DND, etc.) in which case it is no different then the first case - it goes back to the operator (or such is your desire). I fail to miss ‘the other scenario’ otherwise, sounds like the same scenario?

Yup, thats look like the scenario i wanted, but what if the operator realized the mistake and would like to have the call back at her side and its not yet been answered by the person? Sorry to bug you guys here by it’s due to my old Lucent PBX was able to do it so i would like to know if FreePBX can do the same?

Hi Philippe

You almost have the summary right.

The first part is correct ‘You want a facility for the operator to transfer a call to any user, and have the call somehow come back to them (no voice mail)’.

The second part ‘any other person transfering a call to that user would operate normally - voicemail, busy, or what ever’ is not quite correct.

If a user transfers an external call to a busy or unanswered extension it must forward to the operator. If they just pick up the phone and dial the user and they are busy or don’t answer then it must indicate busy, voice mail etc.

That’s why I have seen this feature on normal analogue PABX’s being called ‘call-forward-internal-calls’ and cal-forward-external-calls’. It bases it’s forwarding decision on whether the call originated externally or internally.

I hope that clarifies what I’m trying to do.


I understand the operator part well (busy operator needs to send the call over and get off the line and move on). For that one, I’ve actually implemented a dialplan geared at receptionist type phones but have not done anything with it yet. It lets them have one button per user which they can call the user, see the blf of the user, pickup a call for that user and do a blind transfer to the user with that same button. And if they transfer the call and for any reason there is an issue, it auto drops into a parking slot and call them back shortly telling them it did that (and eventually rings them back). An issue means voicemail, busy, etc.

So that all works well for the operator console I think.

Now back to this feature of internal/external transfer handling. How much of that is because of older systems that did not have voicemail, since it is also easy enough to do an attended transfer. I can understand there may be some environments that would like to operate in that mode despite having a voicemail system and not wanting to use attended transfers to gate the call - but that seems to potentially be more of a corner case.

It is possible to modify the dialplan to detect if a call originated from outside and reroute it at the voicemail stage stage back to an operator. There may be some complications with SIP originated transfers vs. ‘#’ originated transfers. However, I really question the need for the latter scenario in a world where voicemail is prevalent and attended transfer is a much more customer friendly way to handle the situation. (vs. them ending unexpectedly back to the operator vs. the back to the person they were talking to if the target is unavailable.)

Quite an old thread, but I also need this solutions as well!

We’ve just installed a Elastix/Asterisk PBX solution at our offices and have been using the Auto Attendant (IVR) to route calls to extensions and would like to have all calls routed from the IVR to forward to a group when not answered, while all the internal calls to simple ring without being forwarded if the user isn’t there.

Any help on this subject would be greatly appreciated!

this article, where i asked for a similar solution.

any help here or there would be really nice.

I haven’t tested this, but what about creating a ring group with the target extension in it and a failover back to the operator. The operator would send calls to the RG and everybody would dial the extension. Probably wouldn’t work right out of the box, but some tweaking with timing, etc. should get it ti simulate most what you want.