About Phone Line Extensions

by Jennifer Garcia

Today's telephones have features that we could never have dreamed of 100 years ago. One of the most innovative phone evolutions is the inception of the phone line extension. Telephone extension lines allow more than one telephone to operate in a household or business without having to wait for the phone to be freed up in order to place a call.

History

Telephones have become increasingly popular since their invention in the 1870s by Alexander Graham Bell. Since then, telephones have evolved from very primal devices to portable, cordless devices that just about everyone in America relies on in one way or another. The evolution of the telephone has made keeping in touch with friends and family simple for Americans and people in other countries, as well. Conducting business changed with the invention of the telephone and continues to change as telecommunications continue to evolve.

Function

The extension will function off of a common phone number, such as the case in most places of business. The same can be said for some homes, as well. Phone line extensions can be run to different rooms in a house, which enable the residents to hook telephones up and talk on the phone in the kitchen, living room, den or bedrooms. Some people even run extension lines out to their garage so that they can hear the telephone if they are working outside.

Significance

Telephone extensions have become a significant part of the business world. Working off of a common phone number enables businesses to have one phone number with one bill, yet at the same time, allow the business to set up multiple lines within the building. Phone line extensions can also be set up in businesses that enable the user to have their own phone number, yet be hooked up to the business' main phone line. For example, when receiving calls, some extensions are hooked up so that the caller must first go through a receptionist, who then transfers the call to the appropriate line. Other extensions are set up so that the caller can either call the receptionist and ask to be transferred, or dial the number directly and bypass the receptionist.

Considerations

The number of extensions that a business has is usually dependent upon their needs and how many employees they have. Each employee usually has their own extension number. The phone number is the same for all employees of that particular business, unless the system is set up to individually assign each extension their own number. Tracking long distance charges can be difficult if the line is set up to go through a receptionist. Typically in these cases, there is no long distance security code required for dialing a long distance number, so there's really no way to tell who made what call. If a company is set up with extensions that have their own phone number, then it's easier to track long distance calls because the bills are usually itemized, according to phone number. In these cases, the user must normally have a long distance code in order to dial out, thus making tracking long distance charges easier.

Misconceptions

Just because a home has multiple phones does not mean that the home is able to handle more than one call at a time. People will usually have more than one phone jack and more than one phone line capable of handling calls, however, because these lines are hooked to the same phone number, unless the homeowner has call waiting, only one call at a time can be taken. When a person tries to call a number that is in use, they will receive a busy signal unless call waiting is in place. If the phone has call waiting on it, then the caller will hear the line ring until the user picks up the second line. Call waiting is not a sure-fire way to ensure that callers are able to get through, though. If a third caller is trying to get place a call to a number with call waiting and the person already has two people on the line, the third caller will get a busy signal.

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