Transitioning from Shared Lines to Ring Groups: A How-To Guide for Streamlining Business Communication

Published on:

May 23, 2024

Business communication has evolved from manual switchboards and traditional shared lines to modern solutions like ring groups, which distribute incoming calls to multiple extensions simultaneously, ensuring no call goes unanswered. This enhances call handling, customer experience and resource utilization. To set up a ring group, identify group members, configure settings, adjust behaviors, and conduct test calls. Vodia Networks offers advanced cloud phone systems that streamline business communication with features like automatic call distribution and voicemail.

The history of business communication is a story of evolution, an evolution driven by innovation. In the era before highly sophisticated cloud PBX systems, such as the Vodia Phone System,  businesses relied on traditional shared lines to manage their incoming calls. While effective to some extent, these systems often faced limitations in efficiently distributing calls and ensuring prompt responses. With the advent of modern technology, however, a new solution has emerged: ring groups.

The Era of Manual Switchboards and the Transition from Traditional Shared Lines

Throughout the 20th century, manual switchboards connected telephone circuits for calls between other switchboards and between individual callers and call recipients. The operations of these complex systems required a considerable number of operators and many man-hours. 

The introduction of automated systems marked a significant advancement in business communication. In 1888, just 13 years after Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call, Alman Strowger invented the electromechanical automatic telephone exchange, which gradually replaced manual switchboards during the postwar period of the 20th century.

One of the first technologies to replace manual switchboards was traditional shared lines, such as those found in the NEC phone system. As singular platforms for unified communications, they comprise unified voice, video, unified messaging and other communications mediums. They enable multiple endpoints to share a single telephone line, thus improving efficiency and reducing costs, as multiple users can answer calls simultaneously. As businesses grew and communication needs became more complex, however, these systems struggled to keep pace. Issues such as call congestion, missed calls and inefficient call routing underlined the need for a more sophisticated solution.

Introducing Ring Groups

Enter ring groups, also known as hunt groups —a feature of modern phone systems designed to address the shortcomings of traditional shared lines. At its core, a ring group is a tool that allows incoming calls to be routed to multiple extensions simultaneously. Instead of relying on a single recipient to answer the call, ring groups distribute the call to a predefined group of recipients known as agents or members. This feature significantly improves accessibility and flexibility, allowing businesses to manage calls more effectively and ensure no call goes unanswered.

How Do Ring Groups Work?

Consider a scenario where a customer calls your business with a query. Instead of relying on a single employee to answer the call, the call is directed to a ring group comprising multiple stages, each equipped to address the customer's needs. Initially, the call rings simultaneously on all members’ phones - this is stage 1, and it gives the group the  opportunity to respond promptly. If no one in stage 1 answers the call within a specified timeframe, it automatically forwards to stage 2. If none of the agents respond in stage 2, the call is redirected to stage 3, which is typically staffed with highly-responsive agents. If none of the agents across all three stages answer the call, it is then directed to the final stage, where an internal or external phone number can be utilized.

Benefits of Ring Groups

  • Improved Call Handling: By distributing incoming calls to multiple recipients simultaneously, ring groups reduce the likelihood of missed calls and ensure customers receive prompt assistance.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Prompt call resolution leads to higher customer satisfaction levels, fostering loyalty and repeat business.
  • Efficient Resource Utilization: Ring groups allow organizations to make the most of their available resources by efficiently distributing call volume among team members.
  • Flexibility and Scalability: Ring groups can be easily configured and customized to meet the unique needs of any organization, making them suitable for businesses of all sizes and industries.

How to Set Up a Ring Group

Setting up a ring group is a straightforward process that follows the following steps:

  • Identify Group Members: Determine the individuals or teams who will be part of each stage of the Ring Group.
  • Configure Ring Group Settings: Access the ring group settings under “Tenant > Accounts > Ring Groups” and define the settings for the ring group, including member extensions for each stage, ring duration and call forwarding options.
  • Adjust Behavior Settings: Control number account behaviors for each stage and ring group including ring melody, music on hold, recordings and diversion of incoming calls. 
  • Test and Optimize: Conduct test calls to ensure the ring group is functioning as intended. Make any necessary adjustments to settings or configurations based on feedback and performance.


From the early days of manual switchboards to cutting-edge virtual PBX systems such as the Vodia phone system, business communication has truly evolved and it continues to do so at a dizzying pace. Ring groups are a powerful tool for optimizing business communication and enhancing customer service. By distributing incoming calls to multiple recipients simultaneously, ring groups ensure no call goes unanswered and that customers receive prompt, efficient assistance. Our PBX, by utilizing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology, has emerged as a pioneer in business communication and offers a plethora of features, including automatic call distribution, call recording, voicemail and more. Whether you're a small startup or a large enterprise, incorporating ring groups into your communication strategy can unlock new levels of efficiency and productivity for your organization.

Ready to experience the benefits of ring groups for yourself? Contact us today at or +1 (617) 861-3490 to learn more about how our cloud phone systems can help streamline your organization's communication processes. Alternatively, explore our comprehensive documentation for further information and detailed instructions on setting up and configuring ring groups.

About Vodia Networks, Inc. 

Vodia Networks, Inc. is a pioneering provider of B2B Cloud Communications Solutions catering to enterprises, contact centers and service providers. Vodia's PBX software boasts an extensive suite of business telephony features for on-premise and cloud-based systems and operates seamlessly across Windows, Linux or Mac platforms. Fully compliant with SIP industry standards, the Vodia phone system integrates effortlessly with a wide range of SIP-based devices and trunking providers, granting ultimate freedom in telephony. Vodia’s multi-tenancy platforms are compatible with an unprecedented number of technologies, including desk phones, softphones and APIs, for myriad third-party software and CRM systems. Our mission is to empower our partners and end-users with the world's best cloud PBX and personalized support to ensure their success at every turn. Visit Vodia on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube

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