Modify ShoreTel Database to Kill “dial 9” requirement?

June 20th, 2009

Fax Machines on ShoreTel?   It is not uncommon for system administrators to create a user named FAX SEVER, then define it as EXTENSION ONLY.    Though I personally have been trying to eliminate all the forest eating fax machines and printers on the planet, it would appear that Fax machines are going to be with us for quite some time.   Even with a fax server, people want to stick a piece of paper into the machine and watch it “go through” after dialing the distant end.  This is an example of  “Experiential compatibility” as the marketing folks like to say.   We are more comfortable with a technology that is compatible with our experience.

Often, there are other analog devices that survive the move to IP telephony.   For example, the credit card machine!  Many company’s will have another ShoreTel user named CREDIT CARD and it also is defined as EXTENSION ONLY.  These devices share one common trait that many clients find very annoying.   If you connect a fax machine or credit card machine to a ShoreTel analog port, the device will now need to know how to “dial 9” to get an outside line, to complete a call.   So these means that you have to reprogram the fax machine and the speed dial lists that most companies have accumulated over the years.  Not an exciting thought and a great waste of human resourcess.

Is there a way to “hack” l the ShoreTel configuration database to just connectthe fax machine  to an outside line without the need to “dial 9”?   The answer is yes, there is a way.   I hope that you have watched enough of my stuff to have loaded a copy of SQLyog on your ShoreTel Server by now?  In the MySQL configuration database for the ShoreWare sever, there is a data table named “USERS”.   In the USERS database, look for the column labeled EXTERNAL DIAL TONE.   Find the USER of interest, in this example FAX MACHINE, and locate this column.  You will find that the existing default value is 0, requiring the user to “dial 9”.   By changing this value to -1, the user is directly connected to an outside line and is able to dial without using an access code.  Be careful changing this configuration database!  If you do not know MySQL or SQLyog, you should probably find someone who does.    The film clip accompanying this blog will walk you throught the configuration change.   Enjoy!

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