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Pbx system features and meaning: beginners guide

Imagine! You want to buy a gadget which everyone has. Even though everyone has it but you don’t know how is works. And you don’t even know the features and use. Or you know some of the features and uses. What it means is you won’t use the functions and features you are not aware of. Or you will have difficulties in choosing the best pbx system for your business because you don’t understand the jargon. That is why I have decided to take my time and study the Ecotel pbx system as the best pbx provider in South Africa.

I chose Ecotel based on their useful features, call quality, reliability, and innovative ways they are using to save their clients money and downtime. Before I go any further some maybe asking. What is the difference between a hosted pbx system and onsite pbx system. A hosted pbx is a pbx system that is hosted in the cloud while an onsite pbx is a device with inbuilt pbx system. Both have the same features. Here are the pbx system features and meaning.


  • Attended Transfer – The call will be transferred after hanging up.
  • Auto Attendant – When calls are routed to an auto Attendant, you pbx will play a recording prompting them what options the callers can enter such as “Welcome to Ecotel, press 1 for Sales and press 2 for Technical Support etc”


  • Blacklist number – to blacklist from receiving or making calls to a specific number
  • Blind Transfer – The call will be transferred after the number is dialed.
  • BLF Support – is a light on a phone which tells you whether another extension connected to the same PBX is busy or not


  • Call Detail Records – The call Log captures all call details, including call time, caller number, callee number, call type, call duration, etc
  • Call Forwarding – manual or automatic call forwarding
  • Call Routing – route calls to individual agents or queues based on preestablished criteria such as the time of day that a caller dials a business.


  • Call by name – E.g Trevoh Noah
  • Call Waiting – if busy on another call and you want the person to wait for you
  • Caller ID – identifies and displays the telephone numbers of incoming calls


  • Define Business Hours – Define business hours and holidays and set calls to be answered by auto attender, leave voice mail etc
  • Dial by Name – E.g Trevoh Noah
  • DISA (Direct Inward System Access) – allows someone calling in from outside you PBX to obtain an “internal” system dial tone and make calls as if they were using one of the extensions of your PBX. To use DISA, a user calls a DISA number, which invokes the DISA application. The DISA application in turn requires the user to enter a PIN number, followed by the pound sign (#).
  • Distinctive Ringtone – establishes additional telephone numbers on the same line as an existing number, each number ringing with a distinctive ringing pattern


  • DNIS – DNIS (Dialed Number Identification Service)
  • Do Not Disturb when busy in an important meeting just turn on DND and your extension will be unavailable
  • Fax to Email – supports fax to email
  • Firewall – to secure your system


  • Follow me – to forward incoming calls to your mobile number etc
  • IP Blacklist – blacklisting using ip
  • LDAP – used as a phone book on your PBX system so that you can search a key word from your IP phone. The key word can be a name, a mobile number, an email or other key words in the phonebook
  • IVR (Interactive Voice Response) – auto attendant


  • Mobility Extension – when you are not available you can use your mobile phone as an extension etc
  • Music on Hold – music playing when a caller is put on hold
  • Phone Provisioning – help users to configure the phones and gateways in bulk and easy, which saves time substantially


  • PIN User code – to avoid unauthorized users and system abuse and encourage responsible use since all activities and performance are on records
  • Call queue – A queue is like a virtual waiting room, in which callers wait in a queue to talk with the available agent. Once the caller reached the queue, he/she will hear hold music/ adverts and prompts, while the queue sends out the call to the logged-in and available agents.


  • Ring Group – helps define a group of extensions eg accounts department and set features for each group e.g group auto attendant, intercom, paging announcements, calls ringing at once,
  • Skype Integration – connect your pbx system with skype to make/receive video/audio calls using skype
  • Spy Functions – for you to monitor your team’s conversation or check if they are answering calls correctly
  • Three-way Calling – enables 3 people to chat using voice calls


  • Video Calls – supports video calls
  • Voicemail – allows callers to leave a voicemail
  • Extension name – e.g Taylor Pretorias
  • Group name – e.g accounts department
  • Voicemail to email – allows voicemail to be sent to email as an attachment


  • Web-based control panel – easy adminstration on web just like a facebook account
  • Unlimited phone calls between between extensions irregardless of location/ country
  • GSM/UMTS/CDMA trunk – to make and receive calls using a sim card as a backup or added feature
    Automatically route all calls to IVR (the “welcome” prompt) so that a caller can select a department to speak to or get help


  • Voicemail Access PIN – to stop unauthorized access
  • The voicemail password – for the user to access the voicemail box
  • CDR Administrator has the permission to manage call logs and permissions
  • Ability to receive and sent voicemail to email


  • Pickup Group – enables the whole group’s phones to ring once and any of the group member can pick it
  • Max Call Duration – allows admin to set up the maximum call duration for each extension
  • Remote user – allows access for users who are on the move or in the field not at the premises
  • Unlimited phone book – to store and easy company phone access and use


  • Phone book form – Organization, Title, Email, Birthday, First Name, Surname, Sub Number, Notes
  • User Web Interface – for call recordings etc
  • Direct Dial – enables callers to call extensions directly if they know them

Queue Ring Strategy by-

  • Ring All: ring all available agents simultaneously until one answers.
  • Least, Recent: ring the agent which was least recently called.
  • Fewest Calls: ring the agent with the fewest completed calls.
  • Randoml: ring a random Agent.
  • RRmemory: Round Robin with Memory, remembers where it left off in the last ring pass.
  • Linear: rings agents in the order they are listed in the configuration file
  • Failover Destination – Define the failover action. A failover occurs after the user reach the Queue maximum waiting time.


  • Intercom – is a feature that allows you to make an announcement to one extension via a phone speaker. The called person does not need to pick up the call
  • Paging group – used to make an announcement over the speakerphone to a phone or group of phones. if set to duplex mode all users in the group can talk and be heard by all.


  • Conference Calls – increases employee efficiency and productivity, and provide a more cost-effective way to hold meetings
  • Voicemail to Email
  • One Touch Record – A user may initiate or stop call recording by dialing the code during a call.
  • Call Pickup – is a feature that allows one to answer someone else’s call without walking to someone’s desk to pick up the call


  • Call Parking – If the called party is not the person who picked up the call, and the desired called person is at an unknown location, the person who picked up the call may park the call and then use the public address system to page the desired called person to pick up the call. Or during a conversation, a person may need to go to another office for some reason (for example, to retrieve an important file); parking the call allows this person to continue the conversation after arriving at the other office.


  • Speed Dialing – simply define a shortcut number
  • PIN User – A company’s manager visits the warehouse and needs to make an international call to confirm something important with a foreign customer. However, all the extensions assigned to users in factory have no permission to make international calls/ outgoing calls (factory extensions are not selected in the international outbound route). In this case, PIN User feature can help the manager to make international calls from an extension which is not selected on the international outbound route.


  • Callback – Callback requires you to enable it on an inbound route. When you call through the inbound route and hang up the call. Ecotel pbx will call you back and direct you to the selected destination on the inbound route. Callback feature could reduces the cost for the users who work out of the office using their own mobile phones. And increases potential customers to call you for business. Business Hours –
  • Day/Night Control – This feature enables designated users (usually the company operator or receptionist) to override the normal routing of calls based on the time of day


  • Using the day/night control – the receptionist can override this time settings and force all calls to follow the setting as if the office were closed.
  • Holidays – You can set up the holidays here. If a time period is configured as both Holidays and office hours, it will be treated as Holiday.


  • Security Center – All the security settings including Firewall, Service, Port Settings in your PBX are displayed in Security Center. Users could rapidly check and configure the relevant security settings here.
  • Hot Standby – Two PBX could be optimized for use as a failover system which could provide rapid failover in the event of system failure. Once the active server failure is detected, all the telephony would be switched to the standby server automatically

Let me know if you have any other features I may have left out in the comments. Until next time…bye

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