How many Line Keys to Set to "Line"

Hello! My subject line pretty much speaks for itself. My reception team of four has two outside lines to dial out on. I think I’m missing the point of setting more than one line key to “Line.” What are some situations that may require more than one key set to this?

Thank you for looking at this!


Line keys are associated with extensions.

Your question begs one answer that you might not be expecting: all calls from your extensions are “to and through” the PBX. Asteriks (and by extension FreePBX) is a back-to-back user agent, so there’s no such thing as a “Line 1/Line 2” configuration like in an old Key System.

This difference makes things like your question kind of hard to answer. Some phones will apply all of your “line” settings to unset keys on your phone. Others require you to set up each button to point to a line (SCCP Phones that I use, for example, are set up with a “one extension per line” config).

Adding PJ-SIP in confounds the situation even more - with multiple instruments per line, you can have four (for example) “lines” that are all associated with one extension. This allows you to be on a call and have another call that’s inbound to ring your phone.

So, your reception team doesn’t have two lines they can dial out on - the PBX has two lines (trunks) that it can dial out on. Your reception team can access these trunks by dialing an outside number. This number is processed by the PBX, and if it’s valid based on the configuration of your Outbound Routes and Trunks, a new call will be established by the PBX which is then bridged into the original outbound call.

Why would you want to have multiple “lines” then? Each line can set its outbound Caller ID. The process is unchanged - you press the ‘line’ button to dial out and make your call “to” the PBX. The PBX then dials the number on your behalf and connects the two calls. The difference is that your PBX can be configured to honor the Outbound Caller ID of the extension so that call-backs to that DID (your inbound number) can be routed to the right extensions when the customer calls back.

Thank you for your response. We are moving from an older AVAYA Partner system to FreePBX and the learning curve is steep, but I am willing to climb, learn, and adapt.

I understand the concept that the phones dial FreePBX, which then dials our outbound POTS line. At this time, all reception extensions will ring anytime one of our two inbound numbers rings, so I don’t really have a need to set up a separate route for callbacks - though that idea is intriguing.

If it is any help at all, I am using the Sangoma s505 phones for my receptionists.

If I understand your reply correctly, I think what I’m reading at is that at this time, only one of my line keys needs to be set to “line” right now. I might wish to change that if / when I want to setup a situation where a receptionist can choose to use the business inbound DID or the inbound DID that routes the call to the workspace w/ the extension there when a callback is made. Or if I want a phone to ring while it is in use (which I don’t right now because there should be someone available at one of the other extensions to answer). Right?

As noted a “line” on an phone is simply your extension. It is not a phone number, or anything else.

As for using a line key, it really depends on the phone. I’ve had sluggish response to dialing on some Yealink phones a few year back if there was no “Line” key assigned. But when I tried it again more recently, no issues.

Mostly I always use 2 line keys assigned to the extension to make it easier for the user to do things. Not for any technical reason.

Like this.

That’s from the phone on my desk. Line 1 is my company PBX. ll the other lines are extensions on various client PBX systems that are normally disabled. I use them when I need to test things for the client.

Now, I never actually use the “line” keys. I just take and make my calls without ever touching them. That is what I mean about no technical need for them. But some users, out of years of habit on older systems, like to use their line keys.

Not exactly. The dialing out and using a specific outbound CID is best accomplished with a prefix code (aka old school dial 8 first). Then you have the outbound route that catches that dial pattern force the outbound CID.

Can you do it by having another extension registered as another line? Sure, but that is annoying at scale. Dial codes are global (unless restrcted int he outbound route dial pattern match).

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