Difference between follow-me and ring groups =?

Is there really a functional difference between a follow-me group and a ring group?

Seems like both are intended to ring two or more extensions, either simultaneously or sequentially, when a number is dialed. The structural difference is that a ring group uses up an extension number (the ring group number) whereas a follow-me group does not.

I have several ring groups that look like they could as well be follow-me groups and save a few extensions (which we’re running a bit low on). Am I missing something that could cause an issue?


From a functional perspective, there are few differences.

From a conceptual framework, on the other hand, there are huge differences.

Find Me/Follow Me (FMFM) is a feature of an extension. If the extension is busy, the FMFM is enabled. It is configured “per extension” though, so each extension has its own. FMFM isn’t about ringing a lot of phones, it’s about forwarding a phone to a second extension (usually a cell phone or secretary) so that the phone can be answered by a human before going to voicemail.

Ring Groups are extensions. They ring a group of phones. If no one picks up, the call goes to the error extension.

Having said that, I can see why you might comingle these. You can, in fact, have FMFM with a group of phones. You can also have it ring a ring-group (since it has an extension number). You can also have a ring-group with just one phone in it, so you can do programmatically cool things when the call fails.

From an operational perspective, there are few differences. In fact, functionally, the differences are slight and pretty specific. FMFM cannot exist in a vacuum; it has to have an extension fronting it. Also, you can’t really (easily) refer to a FMFM destination. With the flexibility that voice mail has recently developed, it would be possible to simulate FMFM.

Dave gave a good explanation.

But I’m puzzled, how can you be “running out” of extensions??

In a nutshell, you can think of Followme as an Extension’s ring group IF the called extension does not answer/busy.

cynjut gave a very good explaination though.

Not really running out, per se, just have the potential for running a little low in the foreseeable future. All of our extensions are three digits. Four-digit extensions are all reserved for reasons that go far beyond the scope of this discussion, and anyway there’s nothing we can do about it. Five-digit extensions are reserved in case the national organization (the Civil Air Patrol) ever gets all impressed with what we have done :slight_smile: and wants to expand this system to other state Wings.

About half of the three-digit extension pool is reserved in 100-extension blocks for special purposes, also well beyond the scope of this discussion. That leaves 500 extensions that can be allocated more or less freely. We are nowhere near that number now, but I can imagine a time when we might begin to crowd it a bit, especially with the way they want to organize things (reserved blocks for incident commanders, air branch directors, squadrons, etc.). So, I’d like to economize a bit where it’s easy to do so.

Good afternoon, Dave.

But, Follow Me can be configured to “ringall”, so it rings all extensions in the specified list at the same time, right?

I set one up as “ringall” and it seems to work that way.

Yes, you can set up a FMFM configuration to do this, but that’s not what it’s intended for. The point of FMFM is to send a call to you where you went or to someone that can solve a problem a caller has. If you want to set it up to call a group of extensions or a ring-group (or a queue), you can certainly do that.

The fact that it can be configured to do that doesn’t change the fact that the point of it is to extend the range of a single extension to another location.

You can drive a screw with a hammer, but that doesn’t make it the right tool for the job.