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Definitions--"Second line"--not

Started by poplar1, November 05, 2013, 11:55:37 PM

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Call Waiting: You can put the first caller on hold, (technically, "SPLIT" the call) and answer the second caller. (On some phones with CLASS options, you can conference both outside callers with you.)

3-Way Calling: You can dial, then add an additional person to an existing call, whether you initiated the first call or received the first call.

Distinctive Ringing: You can have 1 or 2 additional virtual phone *numbers* assigned to your existing line. Calls to these numbers will ring differently so that you can distinguish them from calls to your listed number. Some fax machines can be programmed to automatically answer only when the correct ring pattern is received. You can also let your kids or roommates give out the "virtual" number instead of the main one so they know the call is for them.

None of the 3 examples above is a real, physical second line. If you have a landline, all this happens on the same pair of wires. Also, if your line is in use, no one else can pick up a phone, get a new dial tone, and make a different call because there is no other line than the one you are on.


If the second line is another physical landline, it will require its own cable pair back to the phone company. It is more costly than the features listed above, but has the advantage of being totally independent of the first line: it can be used for incoming or outgoing calls even when the first line is in use.

Of course, if you're trying to fill up your dance card--sorry, all 6 lines of your Panasonic 616 KSU, you can always add low-cost second and subsequent lines:

1--by using VOIP options like MagicJack, and
2--by adding a Bluetooth gateway such as X-link BTTN, your cell phone service can appear as a line going into your Panasonic system.

You can also purchase (build???) a device that will listen to the first ring of a landline programmed for distinctive ringing feature, and switch the call to one of 3 ports depending on the ring pattern. You can then have each of the 3 outputs connect to 3 line inputs on the Panasonic, then program different extensions to ring or not ring on these virtual numbers.

"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


[VIDEOTRON Website Offers the choice of an additional  line or distinctive ringing on the existing line---Le site Web vous propose soit une deuxième ligne soit une sonnerie personnalisé sur la ligne principale]
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2nd line

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Enjoy the advantages of a second residential line

10,35$  /mois  *    

Sonnerie personnalisée

Personalized ring

Distinguez les appels destinés aux différents membres de votre famille

Distinguish calls meant for other family members.

5,00$  /mois  *    
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


Dave, I just got what I think is a telemarketing robocall--I didn't answer it--and it had a distinctive ringing pattern like you described. A short ring and then a pause and then the short-long-short and then it stopped. I looked at my telco's features and they do mention distinctive ringing comes with the long distance package, so I may have it and not know it. I wonder if that's their attempt at trying to get past call blockers (which I don't use).

So can some outside entity gain access to the codes needed to make my phone ring like that or is this some strange fluke? Or is this my telco trying to alert me to it being a robocall? I've had other calls that began with a short ring and then long rings after that and they were always telemarketing calls. This is the only time it was three--long-short-long--in succession. Your post about it and then it happened made me feel very uneasy. I don't have caller ID, not that it would matter since they regularly fake that anyway. It also says my long distance comes with caller ID, so I need to be talking to my telco about that.

So are telemarketers now imitating distinctive ringing to try and make you pick up the call? Or is that impossible? Anyone else having that happen?


Distinctive ringing -- which BellSouth (now AT&T) marketed here as "Ringmaster" -- requires the assignment of additional DNs (directory numbers), which would normally not be assigned unless the customer asked for it.

I guess is possible that you have additional (virtual) numbers that you don't know about, but it seems unlikely. (My 3rd number goes to a fax machine, so that is the number I give out if I don't want to be bothered.)

I'm not aware of any different ringing cadences for calls from telemarketers. AT&T offers a feature which blocks calls which would show up on caller ID box as "private" or "unknown number. The call is intercepted by the c.o. switch, and caller is told to "unblock" his number -- but it doesn't tell them how to unblock it.  They also have a "Privacy Director" feature, which I think costs extra. Don't recall how that one works, but possibly allows no-number callers to enter their number in order for the call to go through.

Neither of these features do much good now that telemarketers are "spoofing" -- so that a caller ID box will show fake name and fake number -- got one yesterday from "UPS FREIGHT" which proceded to try to sign me up for some back pain relief!
"C'est pas une restauration, c'est une rénovation."--François Martin.


I investigated further and found that my telco does indeed offer distinctive ringing, but it hasn't been enabled for my phone number. It and caller ID and about ten other things should have been enabled on my line when I changed long distance carriers to them six years ago and they never did it. I have a ticket in now for them to change me over and I'll get to see all those spoofed numbers that mean nothing, as long as I put my glasses on.  :)

My mom has caller ID on the TV with TWC/Spectrum cable and that is actually nice to use and so much easier to see. It also has a list you can scroll with the TV remote, to see all the callers and more info on them.

Thank you for the information about it. It made me get what I had been paying for all along and I never knew until now.