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Distinctive Ring - Definition and Use

Most local telephone companies throughout the US and Canada offer an inexpensive service generically called "distinctive ring" that lets businesses and homes to have two or three different phone numbers on one phone line.

What distinguishes the different telephone numbers coming in on the same line is their signature ring, a pattern of long and/or short rings. In short, you can have up to three numbers on one line, each number has its own special ring.

You must subscribe to distinctive ring service from your local phone company. Distinctive Ring is one of the many other services that local phone companies offer such as call waiting, caller id, voice mail, call forwarding, three-way calling or any of the other features. The phone companies charge between $2.50 to $5.00 a month for the distinctive ring service.

Phone companies have different trade names for distinctive ring such as "ring master", "personalized ring", "smart ring", "selective ringing" and similar names but generically it is called Distinctive Ring.

This service was originally called "Selective Ringing" and used in a party line, for ringing only the desired user instrument. Note: Without selective ringing, all the instruments on the party line will ring at the same time, selection being made by the number of rings.

When you subscribe to distinctive ring, the phone company issues you another phone number but not another phone line. It is like a party line for your home or business.

These "Distinctive Ring" services go by different names depending on your local phone company. For example, Distinctive Ring at SBC is referred to as Multi Ring User Guide for details and instructions on how to use their service. The service may not be available in all states so call about availability in your specific area. SBC (home or business) callers their service Multi Ring (one additional number) or Multi Ring 2 (two additional numbers). SBC has different rates, depending on what state you live in. Distinctive Ringing from SBC is available for residential with the name of "Personalized Ring" in California, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Arkansas , as Priority Ringing in Connecticut, and Nevada, MultiRing in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, or Wisconsin and by the name of Personalized Ring for business in Arkansas, California, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, and Kansas, Priority Ringing in Connecticut, and Nevada, MultiRing in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, or Wisconsin. GTE calls it SmartRing, RingMaster at Bell South, RingMate from NYNEX, Personalized Ringing by Southwestern Bell, Multi-Ring by Ameritech, and IdentaRing by Bell Atlantic. This list is by no means conclusive.

The most confusing thing about "distinctive ring" is not only the many names that it goes by but also there is another similar service that some of the phone companies also call "distinctive ring" where you are issued a different ring pattern for specific phone numbers that call you. For instance, you could assign a double ring to any calls that come from your mother's phone number and a triple ring for any calls that come from your daughter's phone number. When you mom calls you, your phone rings with a double ring pattern, When your daughter calls from here home phone number, it rings with a triple ring pattern and when anyone else calls, the phones ring like normal.

For Cell Phone users, most likely your call phone provider will refer to distinctive ringing in this respect ,earning that the phone can be programmed to use a different ring tone or melody, depending on who is calling.

There is a common confusion between these two products being referred to as "distinctive ring" and understandably so.

For example, TelAlaska calls their distinctive ring service Smart Ring (Teen Service): Gives you two phone numbers for your single phone line and each number has its own special ring. You can assign one number to yourself and the other to your children, spouse, etc. The special ring will tell you who the call is for before you answer.

But TelAlaska also has another service which they call Distinctive ring for when you want to know if your kids, spouse or the boss is calling. With this feature all the people you need to talk to will be identified by the distinctive ring or tone and you will know to answer their call. If you have the TelAlaska Service and want to have two separate phone numbers each with its own distinctive ring pattern on one line, in this case "distinctive ring" is NOT what you want. You will need to subscribe to "Smart Ring" instead.

The moral of the story is, when you call the phone company and sign up for distinctive ring, explain it like this and they will get it...

The service is normally for mom and dad and the teenagers. Mom and Dad get the old phone number and that number rings like always. The kids get a new phone number and their calls ring with a double ring. Grandma gets a third number and heir's has a triple ring. Mom answers the normal ring. The kids answer the double ring. And grandma answers the triple ring.

If you explain it this way, you will get the right "distinctive ring" service for you even if it has a different name.

If you want to direct the specific phone numbers to a specific device then you will need a distinctive ring call processor. The "Distinctive Ring Call Processor" takes this one stage further and routes the calls to the proper device so in our example...mom and dad's calls ring on their phones. The kid's number rings on their phones in their rooms. And grandma's number rings in her room. In a business application, you have one phone number for business calls, another for personal calls and another for your fax number.

 

Distinctive Ring Call Processors

You can direct your distinctive ring calls to the phone(s) or device(s) you designate with any product from Multi-Link's SR ™ Distinctive Ring Call Processor series.

Once installed on your home or office telephone line, the SR Call Processor "listens" to incoming calls to determine ring pattern and automatically routes the call to the device associated with that phone number.

The SR series is perfect for separating business from personal calls, fax from voice calls, TDD from voice calls, etc... Your fax number rings the fax, your voice number rings your phones, etc...on a SINGLE phone line.

The SR2 is designed for the usual two distinctive ring services offered by most phone companies. The SR3 can process three separate distinctive rings as offered in some enhanced phone services. Both the SR2 and SR3 offer a barge-in protection function.

All SR products feature the Smartware™ embedded software that "learns" your phone company's specific distinctive ring patterns so it works whatever phone company you choose.

With the SR Distinctive Call Processors, voice calls are immediately directed to your phone, FAX calls are directed to your FAX, MODEM calls are directed directly to your computer. Each piece of office communications equipment, including dictation, TDD phones and answering machines are assigned individual phone numbers! Call routing is automatic. Never answer a FAX or MODEM call on your phone again.

Both SR models are compatible with TDD phones. Route TDD phone numbers directly to TDD phones or MODEMS. The most common application is a fax and a phone number.

With a SR Series Distinctive Ring Call Processor, it's as if each phone device has it's own dedicated telephone line ....without the dedicated line cost! Save hundreds of dollars a year in phone bills, without sacrificing privacy and efficiency.

See: Automatic Line Sharing Device . Fax Switch , Automatic Fax Switch.

How much is it worth to you?

What's it worth to your BOTTOM LINE to eliminate 1 phone line?
Monthly Line Cost 1st Year Cost/Savings 3rd Year Cost/Savings 5th Year Cost/Savings 10th Year Cost/Savings
$ 20.00 $ 240.00 $ 720.00 $ 1200.00 $ 2400.00
$ 30.00 $ 360.00 $ 1080.00 $ 1800.00 $ 3600.00
$ 40.00 $ 480.00 $ 1440.00 $ 2400.00 $ 4800.00
$ 50.00 $ 600.00 $ 1800.00 $ 3000.00 $ 6000.00
$ 60.00 $ 720.00 $ 2160.00 $ 3600.00 $ 7200.00

How much is it worth to you?
What's eliminating 2 phone lines worth to your BOTTOM LINE?
Monthly Line Cost 1st Year Cost/Savings 3rd Year Cost/Savings 5th Year Cost/Savings 10th Year Cost/Savings
$ 20.00 $ 480.00 $ 1440.00 $ 2400.00 $ 4800.00
$ 30.00 $ 720.00 $ 2160.00 $ 3600.00 $ 7200.00
$ 40.00 $ 960.00 $ 2880.00 $ 4800.00 $ 9600.00
$ 50.00 $ 1200.00 $ 3600.00 $ 6000.00 $ 12000.00
$ 60.00 $ 1440.00 $ 4320.00 $ 7200.00 $ 14400.00

Commonly Asked questions:

I use phone company voice mail. How do these products work with voice mail?

I use call forwarding to forward my business calls to my cell phone.
Which type of device will be best for me?

ANSWER: The SR Series is the best for use with phone company call forwarding. If you forward your main number, your fax number (which shares the same single line) won't be transferred. All calls to your fax number will be automatically routed to your fax. Click for a more detailed description of how to forward your calls to your cell phone..

If I have one line, can I receive more than one call?

ANSWER: Unless you have DSL, Cable modem, two lines, VOIP, or call forwarding, you won't be able have two or more devices connected at the same time. These devices are automatic line sharing devices. They share one line transparently to several devices. They are like an automatic secretary. If the incoming call comes in on the fax number, it is transparently routed to the fax. If the call is the voice number, it transparently rings the phones, phone system, answering machine or phone company voice mail. If the call is a modem number, the call is automatically routed to the correct modem. If more than one device tries to access the line, the first one to get there would go through. Additional calls would receive a busy signal until the call is completed.

If you have call waiting and are on a voice call when call waiting beeps, you can flash over to the calling party like normal. If the call his a fax call (you hear the fax tones), you can flash back to your voice call and say "please wait a minute I have a fax coming in", then flash back to the call waiting and then just hang up the phone. The fax call will go through to the fax and when it is done receiving, the phone will ring again and your calling party will be on the phone.

Usually people use their fax machine, four or five times a day for about a minute each. It's a lot smarter to get a call processor than pay for installation (this morning a guy told me that the phone company quoted a $250 installation charge to install an additional line in his home), the monthly charges of the line, and the phone taxes for just using the fax five minutes a day. These products pay for themselves in no time.

Is there an alternative if I want to share a fax and phone one one line and don't want to subscribe to distinctive ring or if it is not available in my area?

Yes, If you want to share voice with a fax, share 2 or 3 modems, a fax and a modem, voice, fax and modem on a single phone number, their is an alternative,

Basically we have two types of products. Both types do the same things but each has a different way of doing it. Tone Detection Devices don't require that you subscribe to any additional phone company features and with the Distinctive Ring Devices you get multiple phone numbers but you must subscribe to the phone company distinctive rig service in order for it to work. The other type of device is called a "tone detection." device.

1.) Tone Detection
Tone detection products like the Stick, ATX and ACP all answer the phone and then route calls by "tones." The way it works it this...the call comes into your home or business. The caller (if it's a human) hears the phone ring. What has really happened though is the box has answered the phone and is generating the ring back tone that the phone company normally generates when the phone is ringing to fool the caller party into thinking the phone has just begun to ring.

During this time (1.8 seconds) the box is listening for one of three things. It listens for "cng tones" which are the tones that fax machines use to identify themselves with. When it hears the "fax tones", it automatically routes the call to the fax machine (and does not ring your other phones).

It also listens for "dtmf tones" which are the same as touch tones. You can manually route calls if you wish from any touchtone phone but commonly dtmf is used for transferring incoming modem calls. The way you do it is you put your phone number in the sending modem like you always do except at the end of the phone number you add three commas (commas represent a half second pause in computer language) and a security access code.

You can change the security access code to any number you wish up to four digits with the Stick but the factory default codes are *1 for port one, *2 for port two and *3 for port 3. So without any programming changes you would access the third port by using your phone number plus three commas plus *3 (1-217-337-0965,,,*3 for example). If you require additional security, the ATX and ACP series allow up to six digit security access codes.

The third thing it listens for is actually nothing. When it hears no sounds, it routes the call to the default port which would normally be a voice, phone system or answering machine. On the outgoing call, any connected device will be able to dial out. If the line is in use, you would not be able to barge in on the call with barge-in protection enabled (factory default) on an outgoing call and incoming calls would get a busy signal like normal when the line is busy.

To review, the Tone Detection Devices require no additional phone company features to operate. The only restrictions are unless you require more than one voice device sharing the line (business and personal voice for example), prefer two or three phone numbers instead of one, need to use call forwarding or need to use the phone company voice mail a tone detection device should work fine otherwise you will need a distinctive ring device.

To review...

2. Distinctive Ring Service
This type of product uses the distinctive ring service from your local phone company to route the calls. This service is offered by local phone companies under different names but basically it allows you to have more than one phone number (up to three) on a single line.

They sell it for mom and dad and the teenagers. Mom and Dad get the old phone number and that number rings like always. The kids get a new phone number and their calls ring with a double ring. Grandma gets a third number and heir's has a triple ring. Mom answers the normal ring. The kids answer the double ring. And grandma answers the triple ring. Our box takes this one stage further and routes the calls to the proper device so in our example...mom and dad's calls ring on their phones. The kid's number rings on their phones in their rooms. And grandma's number rings in her room. In a business application, you have one phone number for business calls, another for personal calls and another for your fax number.

The service cost about $5.00 a month for two extra numbers and less for one from your local phone company. They just add it to your bill like call waiting or any other features you may have. Outgoing calls will go out on any device. If the line is busy, again you would not be able to barge-in on the call (unless barge-in protection is turned off) and you would hear a busy signal so you know the phone is in use. Incoming calls would hear a busy signal like normal if the line is busy.

This product is called the SR Series. We also have a four line - twelve device product called the Line Hunter. Our products take the distinctive ring to the next level. With an SR, each device gets its own phone number. You have a fax number, a voice number and possibly a third number that all share one line and one low phone bill. Whichever device is plugged into that port gets the signal and no other devices ring.

This product can also be used with call forwarding (tell the phone company to set it up to only forward the main number) to forward your voice calls to your cell phone when you are out and still get your faxes on your fax machine. If the calls are forwarded, you can receive voice calls and use the line at the same time (two calls over one number).

The main question is whether you want one phone number for all of your devices (automatic tone detection) or whether you want one phone number for each device (distinctive ring) on the same line.

Click on one of the links above for your application or review the products below and click on the link that suits you best. Whether you prefer "distinctive ring" or "tone detection:, chances are you will find a switch that will meet your needs. Line sharing technology could save you thousands over the next few years by reducing your local phone bill.

Most companies already use this technology, don't you think you should too?

Order securely by clicking on one of the "order" buttons on any of the following pages:

Single Line Distinctive Ring Automatic Call Processors

SR Series - 2 or 3 different phone numbers on 1 phone line.

 

The Selective Ring call processor for distinctive ring customers. Only ring the device intended for that call. Choose from 2 or 3 selective ring lines.

SR-2 (Two Devices)  - Two phone numbers sharing a single phone line.
- Have a fax number and a voice number. Pay only for one line.
Your Price only $139.00 Delivered*

SR-3 (Three Devices) - Three phone numbers sharing a single phone line.
- Have a fax number, business number and personal number. Pay only for one line.
Your Price only $149.00 Delivered*

Multi- Line Distinctive Ring Automatic Call Processors

Line Hunter
 

Rack Mounted 4/12 Automatic Distinctive Ringing Processor Processor eliminates dedicated phone lines by expanding the number of devices to twelve on up to 4 phone lines. Either have up to 12 unique phone numbers on 4 lines using your local phone companies distinctive ringing service or up to 1-4 incoming phone numbers on 1-4 lines with up to 12 outgoing devices without ordering distinctive ringing. You get up to 3 incoming phone numbers on each phone line and it hunts for an open line on outgoing calls so you never get a busy signal.

Use the Line Hunter for private phone numbers, business numbers, personal numbers, modems, data and credit card terminals, storage and monitor systems, and more!
Click here to find out more about LineHunter

Line Hunter (Up to 12 phone numbers on up to 4 phone lines)
Your Price only $669.00 Delivered*

Tone Detection Automatic Call Processors

 
The Stick™ - Up to 3 phone connected devices plus an answering machine on 1 line.
Note: All extensions connected to one line count as 1 phone connected device.
 

The highest quality Voice/Fax/Modem call processor on the market today for small business. Automatically routes calls to the right device every time!

Saves you the monthly bill for up to 2 phone lines.

Your Price only $139.00 Delivered*


The Stick II - Up to 5 phone connected devices on your 2 phone lines.
Note: All extensions connected to one line count as 1 phone connected device.
 

A true two-line Voice/Fax/Modem/Data call processor.
Unique Features include:
• Call In/Dial Out Long Distance Saver
• Port-to-Port Communication and Data Transfer


  Your Price only $459.00 Delivered*



Versa-Link - 2 to 6 devices sharing a single phone line.
 

Offering two models that, in addition to functionality similar to The Stick (voice/fax/modem call processor), can process selective ring detection, DIP switch programmability, phone line surge protection, and an internal busy signal.

ATX-250 (Two Devices)  
Your Price only $196.00 Delivered*


ATX-300 (Three Devices)  
Your Price only $299.00 Delivered*

ATX-300/6 (Six Devices)  
Your Price only $479.00 Delivered*


Polnet® ACP - 3 to 5 devices (modems) sharing a single line.
 

An Industrial Grade Automatic Call Processor eliminates dedicated phone lines by expanding the number of devices you can connect to a single line. Use the Polnet for modems, data and credit card terminals, storage and monitor systems, and more!

ACP-3 (Three Devices)  
Your Price only $249.00 Delivered*

ACP-5 (Five Devices)  
Your Price only $309.00 Delivered*

*Note: All prices include shipping and handling in the US and most of Canada. We reserve the right to charge up to the actual price of shipping on all orders outside the continental United States. All orders shipped UPS Ground unless specified. For air and express shipments, appropriate charges will be applied to your order.

All products are made in the USA.


Additional assistance email or call (866) 337-0965.

Call 1-866-337-0965 for a free consultation. We are happy to help you.

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