How to Ring more than 16 phones in a ShoreTel Hunt Group?

August 13th, 2012

How to ring more than 16 phones in a ShoreTel Hunt Group? Can’t say that we recommend this strategy, but none the less, we continue to see business applications in which the client insists on ringing a group of 16+ phones simultaneously! In ShoreTel, HUNT groups and WorkGroups have a limitation of 16 members per group if you want to ring them simultaneously. You can configure some 300 group members, but you can only ring 16 of them simultaneously. Why? Because call setup and feature processing (winking and blinking phone buttons) is not only processor intensive, it is done on the general purpose processor of a ShoreGear Switch not by the server. Basically, you are setting up 16 simultaneous phone calls and it takes lots of computer work, thus the limit of 16 phones per group.

So how do you ring more than 16 phones at a time? Well, there are two solutions that you can consider. One solution is to purchase an additional cost software package appropriately named “Super Group” that will ring upwards of 100 phones at the same time. The software package has the additional benefit of being shunupported by ShoreTel. The other solution, is to configure creatively and to push ShoreTel to do things it really was not designed to do. This option will work, but it is not supported and if you really cause your ShoreGear switch to overwork, strange and unpredictable results will be observed!

First, configure a new Hunt Group as you would normally do and give it an appropriate name (i.e. Customer Support). Configure the Hunt Group with a call stack of 16. Make sure that “skip a member if already on a call” is NOT selected. The Hunt group will support 16 phone calls before searching for the call stack full destination. You can also configure the “no answer” destination and even assign a schedule. So far, the configuration of this Hunt group is the same as any other, the only difference is that we are only going to add a single member to this hunt group!

Though you can use an existing User, you might even find it useful to burn another extension only mailbox license and create a new user expressly for this purpose. The trick here, is that this User will be the only member of the Hunt group and you will then configure your member phones to MONITOR this user extension. You should be able to configure a master user and then copy this users custom buttons to the other members of the group.

Here is what you will need to configure:

  1. In ShoreWare Director, select “Administration > Users > Individual Users”
  2. Edit the user you wish to include in the simultaneous ring group
  3. Click on the “Personal Options” tab
  4. Click on the “Program IP Phone Buttons” button
  5. For the appropriate button: Select “Monitored Extension”
  6. Enter a Label such as “SUPPORT”
  7. Choose the “SUPPORT” user’s extension
  8. Set “Ring Delay” to “None” (This will cause the phone to ring immediately)
  9. Set “Show Caller ID” to “Only when ringing”
  10. Set “No Connected Call Action” to “Unused”
  11. Set “With Connected Call Action” to “Unused

It would be wise to distribute the phones representing the member extensions across several ShoreGear switches. Don’t have all the group members be registered to the same ShoreGear switch if it can be avoided. This combination of Hunt group and extension monitoring will enable you to exceed the 16 member limitation when ringing phone simultaneously. Use it cautiously, but it will work!

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