Using Global-Region-Based Connecting of Calls
VoIP phone numbers are provisioned differently compared to traditional phone numbers. In fact, the global-region-based connecting of calls — it uses a special number and similar identification features found in VoIP systems — allow companies and call centers to determine how to serve incoming calls appropriately.
In this article, you can read more about how these technologies work.
What is Global-Region-Based Connecting of Calls Using a Special Telephone Number?
Phone numbers are provisioned by voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services to their subscribers, which are typically regional numbers. However, there are instances where numbers are not assigned for region-based reasons.
Sometimes particular numbers may all connect callers to the same call center. In these instances, a special number code may be needed to tell the system which number the caller intended to reach. These numerical codes may be used to assign special geographic significance or service based on the provided code.
In order to explain this concept, it's helpful to know these terms:
- ANI (Automatic Number Identification): ANI is a feature that allows telecommunications companies to determine a caller's identity in order to assign the right billing information. When a caller dials a number, the number can be determined by the recipient of the call. This technology also enables toll calls to occur.
- DNIS (Dialed Number Identification Service): With DNIS, a single call center can handle incoming calls for different purposes and determine, based on the requested number, what the caller needs. For instance, a company that offers various products for disparate industries may have a different number for each product line. If the company sells software to restaurants and hotels, for example, then restaurateurs may have a unique number to dial when they order so the call center agent knows they're talking to someone who needs restaurant software — not hotel software.
While this is commonly used in the corporate world by call centers, it can also be used by 911 and other emergency dispatchers to help them determine information, including the purpose of the call or from the location where the call is originating.
How are Phone Numbers Provisioned in VoIP?
Typically, phone numbers are provisioned based on requests from phone subscribers for a particular number, area code or for digits corresponding to particular alphabetical letters when dialed as a number. How phone numbers are provisioned depends on where the number geographically corresponds to, even if the user doesn't actually live or do business in that area.
For instance, the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) governs how numbers in the U.S. and Canada are distributed and what they can look like, including the number of digits allowed and how area codes work. Telecommunications companies have to follow the rules set by this plan, which was originally developed by Bell Labs in the 1940s and is still in practice today.
How Do Emergency First Responders Take VoIP Calls?
Emergency and 911 dispatchers generally have systems allowing them to determine the location of a particular caller so they can accurately respond to emergencies efficiently. But since VoIP users can call from anywhere and don't necessarily have a number tied to a specific location, these systems can't always help emergency responders find the caller's location.
Most phone companies solve this problem by having subscribers submit information about their personal or business location so responders can find them. By keeping a database linking numbers to addresses, 911 call centers can quickly and safely provide emergency services. Meantime, VoIP vendors have to regularly update this information and provide it to 911 centers in order for the system to work properly.
Getting Started with VoIP Number Provisioning
Generally speaking, your business can get any VoIP area code you request, even an international phone number. Depending on how you plan to use your numbers, however, you may also need special digits added or a special code to provide to your callers. You may also want to register your address since first responders aren't able to see where you're calling from with a VoIP phone number.
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