Why register multiple lines on same phone to same extension?

We just picked up a client that for some reason the phones have 3 lines/accounts (yealink phones) all registered with the same extension. This is on all their phones, is there a reason to have multiple lines registered to the same account?

Also this is an Elastix system they just recently setup so pretty certain they were winging the whole thing, we’ll be upgrading them to Freepbx very soon.

In general, that is not possible, you can’t have the same extension registered to the same sip server more than once. The last registration of the extension will be the one that works. What might be possible, depending on the phone, is to register only one extension on a phone that has mutiple line keys, and all the line keys will be associated to the same extension, but the extension is registered only once. For example Linksys/Cisco SPA942 and SPA504g phones have 4 line keys and, provided the default configuration hasn’t been changed, if you register only one extension, the four line keys will be associated to the same extension, but that doesn’t translate into 4 registrations.

That’s exactly what I thought, but 3 of the 6 lines were registered to the same extension on all the phones. I know with pjsip you can have multiple phones registered to same extension but not sip and everything seems to use sip. Only 1 of 20+ phones are having any issues. We’ve noticed a few red flags on their network config

Definitely just something setup by someone that has no idea what they were doing.

They probably wanted to have the line keys available and thought you had to program them as actual lines.

This isn’t out of the ordinary to have multiple phones ring to the same when a particular number is called. As to why they did it the particular way they did is probably either a business question to company, or to the people who installed it.
Additionally, most voip phones support multiple calls to the same line. Polycom as an example you set the number of lines instances in the config. It makes one registration to the server, but might show 3 line instances of that number. Someone calls that extension, the first line will ring. Someone else calls it again, this gives called party the option to answer the call, or let it ring out and just go to voicemail.

We use PJSIP all the time for our users to allow multiple registrations to the same SIP account. Lets our employees run a softphone and hardset simultaneously without worrying about a registration battle.

Also, the conversion from Elastix (2.5 at least in my experience) to FreePBX is a breeze. The conversion utility that FreePBX provides is fantastic.

I think I know why they did it. They are emulating a setup I saw on an old Panasonic System once.

Say you’re on a call and a second call comes in. You want to be able to put the first call on hold and answer the second one. The third one is there in case it happens again.

With our experiences using FreePBX, it would be natural to want to say “There are easier ways” but not everyone has that kind of experience. The customer has a certain set of expectations and we can support that expectation or lose the job. I say “Viva la difference”.

There are certainly ways to make the appear to work with PJ-SIP and Chan-SIP. At this point, we’ll need more info to help the OP get where he wants to go.

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They have 1 user having issues you’d expect with multiple registrations on the same phone, ringing after she answers and isn’t able to answer the phone or has a long delay before able to answer, sometimes unable to dial out. But its odd because she’s the only one having these issues and everyone has the same phone with same setup. I’m almost positive its because they wanted the softkeys to show the extension so she can easily put a call on hold and answer another call, or call out while on hold, but didn’t know you can set the softkeys all to the primary account. I changed her phone only and we’ll see if it fixes her issues then will fix all the others. Just wanted to make certain this was incorrect and there wasn’t some odd reason they might need it like this.

Most IP Phones will show multiple “lines” registered to the same extension on their web interfaces even though there’s actually only one registration.

So, for example, if you configure a Mitel 6737i to connect to a single FreePBX extension, the phone will show that Line 1, Line 2, Line 3, and Line 4 are all registered to that extension. There’s actually only one registration, but this is how the phone shows the user that all four line buttons can be used to make and receive calls from that extension. It’s true even if you actually go into the web interface and configure line 1 and line 2 with the same information. The phone knows that what you’re trying to do is allow both line buttons to manage the extension. It doesn’t actually perform the registration twice.

I suspect that’s what you’re seeing. There aren’t actually three lines registered with the same extension. If there were, I’d expect problems, i.e. inbound calls would show up on line 1 at times, on line 2 at other times, and on line 3 at other times, seemingly randomly.

No these were Polycom phones and the guys used accounts 1-3 with the same logins (user pass and all), then 4-6 wasn’t setup. We changed it to use 1 account and have the line labels for 1-6 to show account 1. It fixed all her issues and everything is good. She was having issues with phone ringing after she answered and unable to answer some calls and stuff. All the phones are setup this way and only 1 user having this issue.

Yes, you can register multi-times. change the " Max Contacts " in ext > advance … Why multiple on one phone…well; any incoming call will ring the not-in-use phone/line .You do get the CID of the next caller. You hang up the first and grab the 2nd if it’s an important call, else you let it go to voice mail.

I am doing this on my installs now. If I am doing something wrong or not using best practice, i would like to know.
The reason i have the phones configured for 2 accounts to the same extension is because when I do that, the user can be on the phone, get a second incoming call and either conference it in or switch to it if it is more important.
When I just have one account to one extension, the second call goes to voicemail.

so, is this wrong? or is there a better way?

With Chan-SIP, this setup (Shared Line Appearance, IIRC) wasn’t possible since the registration was unique - you couldn’t have two sessions on the same extension. To accomplish this kind of “multi-line” exposure, you needed to set up multiple extensions and mark then as “the original” extension. Not challenging and it supported your “two calls at a time” thing.

With the advent of PJ-SIP, it’s now possible to register more than one line to an extension. You need to set up the extension so that it supports multiple appearances.

I don’t think there’s a “best practice” involved - it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. I prefer people calling get VM if I’m busy. Telephones are already an incredibly rude system of communication, so dropping someone onto hold while I talk to this new caller that’s more important than your last caller is just worse.

I am using pjsip and this is not multiple appearances as it is only one phone (this works if max endpoints is 1) however, i hear what you are saying, but in the end, we set it up the way the customer wants.

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Also remember that some phones will simulate multiple connections for you since Chan-SIP couldn’t do it and that’s what we’ve been using for years.

humm, interesting, i am using grandstream and i guess it does not…unless there is a config parm that i am not aware of

I’m also using Grandstream and chansip. If I want a second call to come through I just turn on CW call waiting on the extension, the second call comes right through.

Yes, you are doing it all wrong.

In the phone:
You program 1 account per extension only.
You program multiple Line buttons to account 1.

In FreePBX
You enable call waiting

This gives you everything you just said you needed.

Here is my phone. Line 2 and Line 4 are two completely separate PBX systems from Line 1.
If I get a call on the Line 1 extension, DSS key 14 lights up with it.
If I get a call on the Line 1 extension while already on a call, DSS key 15 lights up with it.
I can conference, put on hold, transfer, etc.
All from a single account registration.
This is the “normal” way to do it.

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Agree with Jared. Thats the exact same we we setup our phones and it works flawlessly. with our client we inherited with the multiple accounts to same extension had the line keys using account 1, account 2, account 3 all with same chan_sip settings and this caused issues for only 1 phone (of 25) We changed all phones to Jareds way so the three line keys all have the same account 1 and functions just how they wanted.

Jared, after reading your comments, I reviewed my base file. I realized that I am doing it in a similar way. I was configuring both account 1 and 2 on the phone, but i was assigning 2 line keys to account 1. so, the account 2 config was never used. I am going back now and cleaning that up.