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A Hunt number/group is not connected to a particular handset, but incoming calls to a particular number (hunt number) are routed to a pre-defined group (hunt group) of extension numbers. The call can be broadcast or rotated through the pool of lines until a free line is found and the caller is connected. There are four ways a call can be distributed amongst the phones in a hunt group.

  1. Broadcast. All the phones in the hunt group ring at the same time.
  2. Top-Down. The call is first sent to the first phone in the list. If that phone is busy (or rings unanswered) the call goes to the second phone, and so on through the list of extensions.
  3. Longest Idle. The call is first sent to the phone which has been idle the longest. If that is busy (or goes unanswered) the next longest idle phone rings, etc.
  4. Circular. The first call rings one phone first. The next call rings the second phone in the group first, etc.

Numbers within the group must be extension numbers on the Call Manager.

Hunt numbers can be set to divert to a voicemail box on no answer, just as a normal extension number can be.

For more complex setups consider an auto attendant instead.

Hunt Group Vs Shared Line

Hunt groups and shared lines both offer the facility for multiple people to deal with calls to one number. The sections below attempt to highlight some of the key differences between hunt groups and shared lines.

Hunt Group Positives

  • No need for new phones to use hunt groups.
  • Users can log in and out of hunt groups, so preventing phones ringing when no-one is around to answer them.
  • The handling of multiple calls is more elegant than with shared lines.

Hunt Group Negatives

  • When you dial internally, you can't dial out as the hunt group, so your direct extension is always displayed
  • When you dial externally, it is possible to set your displayed number as the hunt group number - but this is an all-or-nothing switch. You cannot change between calls.
  • By default, phones will not differentiate between calls to a hunt group and calls to the phone. (The only way to differentiate between calls direct to the phone, and calls to the hunt group, is to put the hunt group in the same pick-up group as the phones.)
  • The only voicemail notification you can have is e-mail alert.
  • The call logger does not give details about calls to hunt groups very well.

Shared Line Positives

  • Clear indication what line/number the call is for.
  • Ability to dial out as the shared line (so call does not appear to come from an individual person)
  • Clear indication of voicemail on shared lined.

Shared Line Negatives

  • Unless you have spare line buttons on your phone, you will have to buy a new phone.
  • The configuration of multiple incoming calls can be difficult to achieve.
  • It may not be possible to configure the divert-all on a shared line from a phone.

Logged in/out of the hunt group

Individuals can opt to 'Log out of the hunt group' from their handset:

  • Select more (soft key)
  • Select HLog (soft key), the message 'Logged out of Hunt Group' will display
  • Repeat the above to log back into the hunt group