Support ring groups w/o a need for additional trunks

As of this writing, ooma office consumes a trunk when ringing a remote phone (either through call forwarding
or a virtual extension). This causes problems when combined with a ring group.

In a ring group, multiple phones (some might be forwarded or virtual extensions) ring simultaneously but
only one can pickup and establish the conversation. It stands to reason that this should require only
one trunck (or two if the line that picks up is forwarded or a virtual extension).

Unfortunately this is not the case.
If you have a ring group with forwarded extensions and/or virtual extensions, the ring group requires
that you have at least as many free trunks as there are forwarded & virtual extensions in the group
in order to even ring the phones.

EX: 1 office phone, 1 forwarded phone, 3 virtual extensions all on a ring group would consume:

  • 1 trunk for the incoming call
  • 1 trunk to ring the forwarded phone
  • 3 trunks to ring the 3 virtual extensions
    Min number of free trunks to ring this ring group: 5
    Once the call is picked up: 1 or 2 (1 if picked-up by office phone, 2 otherwise)

Feature Request: (I really think of it as a bug fix)

One of:

  • Temporary suspension of trunk metering for the duration of the ring IF there is at lease one free trunk (after counting the incoming trunk) when the ring group is about to be activated. This would simply result in all phones ringing and only one phone (either local, forwarded or virtual extension) can pickup, resulting in 0 or 1 additional trunk being used.


  • A more sophisticated metering that distinguishes between ringing a phone and establishing a connection/conversation (i.e. actually really truly consuming a trunk).


  • And this one is the ideal scenario, it would be a first class business solution: Do NOT cap the number of incoming/outgoing trunks, simply meter them and BILL us for our usage. You can bill us for the maximum simultaneous number of trunks used at any point (for more than 1-2 min) during the month. The 1-2 min takes care of filtering out any call forward/virtual extension ringing and you just pay for true blue trunk usage. As a customer, I would feel good to know that my clients will never get a busy signal… it brings a peace of mind and I’m glad to pay for my usage.

I’m sure there are other creative solutions to this problem.
I believe it’s important to:

  1. Simplify the calculation of necessary trunk capacity
  2. Help small business people feel SAFE that their Ooma system has their back and they can focus their time on business instead of worrying about the phone system.
  • Christian

I emphatically second the “ideal scenario” here - would love a solution that would bill us the metered amount for the actual number of trunks used. Brilliant idea.

Thanks!

Unfortunately, Ooma doesn’t seem to be anywhere near that scenario.
They were gracious enough to refund me my ooma office and I ended up going with a real, generic VOIP solution.
Ooma (and Vonage) really create a closed and to some extent proprietary solution by forcing us to use their
own ATA adapters (i.e. the ooma telos or ooma office box). The ATA adapter takes the incoming VOIP
traffic and transforms it into a signal compatible with your old/traditional phone set.

With a regular VOIP provider, you can purchase your own ATA (Google Cisco SPA122) or you can just purchase
standard SIP phones. Those phones that natively connect to your ethernet network and understand the standard VOIP protocol. (Google Cisco SPA303 or Panasonic KX-TGP500). As you can see, these phones are a bit more expensive
than your traditional phones but they are REAL office phones.

Ooma and Vonage provide a good service by making the transition to VOIP very easy for the new user (you keep your old
phones). But in the case of Ooma Office, I found the product much too limiting for my little office’s needs (one biggie
for me was the distinction between real extension and a virtual extension where /I would have to pay for both an incoming trunk and outgoing trunk. With those restrictions, what originally seemed like a very sweet deal ($20/mo for a “big office sounding” phone system) was turning out to be closer to $80/mo.

With a “regular” VOIP provider, the pbx is literally in the cloud and has LOTS of features.
There is no double pay for a virtual extension requiring two trunks etc… since every extension is a
virtual entity on the internet (it connects to your SIP phone). So it doesn’t matter if I have 10 employees
in 10 different countries. It all looks local, have both individual phone number (from the same area code if I choose)
and share a central number with extension numbers. You get free inter-office calls and tons of features.

Be aware that you have to do some research as each provider has slightly different feature set and billing mode.
I went with phone dot com and my bill is now $37/mo with one local office (unlimited minutes) and an employee
in Mexico with 300min/mo (I can add more minutes or switch her to a $25/mo unlimited when I need to but
calls to extensions under the same account are free). I also considered ringCentral, phonebooth, onSip and a
few others.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the Ooma telos is a fantastic deaal. Ooma office however is only a “fair” deal.
It looks economical but in the end, it’s more expensive and much more restrictive.
I DO hope that they see the error of their ways (or that the market inclines them to) because I like the company
and the voice quality is good.

Good luck!

  • Christian