About Multi Line Phones
Staples, Best Buy and other retail stores will sell you a "Business phone" that has 1 or two lines. There are phones like the AT&T branded phone available at these stores that have 4 lines.
Mature companies have phone systems that allow calls to be transferred and individual voicemail for every employee. These multiline systems have far more advanced features and often at a cost not much different then the basic phones.
Types of Multiline Systems
Legacy phone systems from Nortel would have line keys on each phone that allowed you to pick up individual lines. Some of the manufacturer of earlier phone systems still follow this model. These systems are often called "Key" systems and are becoming less and less popular.
A more common type of phone system is called a PBX or a private branch exchange. These were designed for much larger companies but over time their advanced features have been brought down to small business.
Imagine a large company with hundreds of phone lines. Now imagine a phone that had a button for each line. It is just not possible and so a better way is needed to manage lines. With a PBX, call buttons are placed on each phone so users can choose an outside line or handle more than one call. Calls can be transferred, parked or pulled between phones making easy to manage large volumes of calls in a company. This is how modern phone systems are structured.
A multiline system can have one or hundreds of lines and operates the same way.
In most businesses there are at least 3 phone lines. This allows calls to be put on hold, transferred to cell phones and still leave a line for outbound calls. If there are not enough lines, then the caller will often get a busy tone and for most businesses, thats a worst case scenario. Best always to allocate enough phone lines.
Call our Specialist. He can be reached at:Dar ZuchBusiness IT Specialist - CalgaryHelia Technologies