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How to Avoid Busy Signals
with Phone Line Rollover

Phone Line Rollover Telephone line rollover is the method used to allow more than one caller to get through without getting a busy signal.

Call waiting will also avoid busy signals. But it won't work with phone systems. If you want a phone system, such as an automated attendant PBX, to handle multiple callers, then you need multiple phone lines with rollover.

It's important to understand that rollover is not a function of your in-house phone equipment. It must be done by your phone service provider. You need to ask the phone company to roll the additional callers over to the next higher line. This is also known as a hunt group.

All your callers will dial your main number, but if the first line is in use, the next caller rings in on the next line. If all lines are in use, then the next caller will get a busy signal.

Your phone system, such as our VoicePro PBX, will answer any phone lines that are ringing. If your phone service provider does not roll busy lines over to the next line, then there is no way that your phone system can answer those callers.

How many lines do you need?

Simple answer...one line for each simultaneous caller. Say you want to allow four callers simultaneously without busy signals. Then you need four individual phone lines coming into your premises. You still use just one phone number.

The method to accept multiple callers who dial the same number is to let the incoming calls hunt for an available line. This is known as a hunt group or telephone line rollover. The first caller rings through on the first physical line and the next caller "rolls over" to the next physical line that is available.

If all the lines are in use, then the next caller will get a busy signal. So if you want to support a high call volume for your business, you need to get additional lines from your phone company and request these lines to be configured with rollover to the next in the group if busy.

You may be given actual phone numbers for each line, but only the number of the first line in the group is the number you give out for people to call you. So make sure your main business number is the one coming in on the first line in the group.

The rollover service is usually provided at no additional charge. After all, the phone company is charging you for the additional lines anyway.

Is Call-Waiting Necessary?

When you use rollover you don't need call waiting. The proper configuration is to let the next caller ring through on the next higher phone line.

If you have call waiting on any of your lines then the next caller will NOT rollover to the next line. They will be stuck there waiting for you to respond to the call waiting tone. So when you begin to use rollover to additional lines, it's best to remove call waiting if you have it.

How does the VoicePro work with rollover?

All your incoming lines that are organized in a rollover hunt group are connected to the back of the VoicePro and all your in-house phones are connected to the extension jacks.

All your callers dial the same main number. The first caller will ring through to the VoicePro on the first line. The next caller will come through on the second line, and so forth.

It makes no difference which line a caller comes in on. The VoicePro, or any phone system, will handle all callers the same way. If you enable the automated attendant, it will help the caller get to their desired destination.

All phones should be single-line phones. Each phone is assigned an extension number. You don't need multi-line phones when using an automated phone system. The VoicePro handles multiple callers and sends each caller to the desired extension.

If two people want to talk with the same department or person, the VoicePro puts the second one into the voice mail of the busy extension. But if you want all the simultaneous callers to ring through, you can program the VoicePro to ring multiple extensions no matter what line the call came in on.

When one picks up any extension, the VoicePro will give dialtone from any available outside line. So calls can be made without thinking which line to use.

Do you have a well thought-out plan?

Do you know how you will handle all your callers simultaneously? Do you have enough personnel to answer all the calls? If not, then why not just have one line and let the overflow go to voice mail provided by your phone company.

If your business requires all the calls to come into your premises, have you decided on how you'll route all the calls? Of course you can simply have a telephone connected to each line. But then you have no way of transferring the calls from one to another. You also don't have a smooth transition to route callers to personnel or departments.

To route your callers you need to consider acquiring a PBX. That's a phone system that allows a live receptionist to answer all the incoming calls and transfer them to the proper locations.

If you don't have a full-time receptionist to answer all the calls, then you also need an automated attendant controlling the PBX. This lets you provide a welcome greeting to all your callers along with a menu of options they can select to route themselves to the desired personnel or departments.

A complete phone system should also include voice mail for each extension that will play a personal greeting for each of your personnel, and take messages for unanswered calls.

Phone systems that use standard phones will save you money since you can use your existing non-propietary phones.

The VoicePro has all the features mentioned above in a self-contained unit to support up to four phone lines and up to 12 extensions.


Stok Software, Inc. (STOK.COM) designs and supports automated phone systems for home-based and small businesses. Our products and services improve company image and customer interactions. See our Quick Reference Guide for a list of cost-saving products.