We receive many live chat requests on our website every day and felt it may be useful to our readers to highlight some of the good ones that come in.
Yesterday we received a question on “Shared Line Appearance”. Here was the question:
“I am trying to find a VOIP provider that supports shared line appearance (SLA) for Cisco SPA504G phones”
First of all, what is a Shared Line Appearance, also referred to as SLA. Basically this is a feature that allows one or more phones to hang off the same telephone number. Why would this be useful? Well consider a manager who is fortunate enough to have a personal secretary. It would be very useful for both of them to share the same phone number so the secretary can answer and screen all the phone calls coming in but also see the state of the managers extension at all times.
Another good use-case for SLA is for employees who do not sit at a desk. For example let’s consider a department store. Telephones are located at convenient locations throughout the department store. An incoming call can be placed on hold by a receptionist (or another employee) and the public address sytem could be used to indicate who the call is for. You have probably heard this in a store “James you have a phone call on line 3”. James can simply go the nearest phone and press line 3.
An important point to note here is that the IP phones must be capable of supporting SLA and also the VoIP service provider. As you can see from the datasheet for the Cisco SPA504G it does indeed support SLA. Great, but what about the service provider?
Many hosted VoIP providers now support SLA in their call management software and it can easily be configured using the secure web portal that is provided to you. Focusing on a couple of providers, 8×8 and Nextiva both support the SLA feature: 8×8 can support up to 8 devices and Nextiva can support 5 for their basic service and up to 30 devices for their enterprise plans.