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How can I mimic a key system?

I have spent countless hours trying to make a UC540 work like our client's old basic key system, and still have not found the right approach.  Here are the requirements:

1. When placing an outgoing call, picking up the handset should sieze an outgoing line and the user can dial without dialing "9" first.  The button for the line in use should light up on all phones.

2. The user needs to be able to place a call on hold and pick it up from any other location.

Here are the problems I have encountered:

1. With the incoming lines set up as shared lines, it works fine for incoming calls: the Line button lights up, and when you put the call on hold, the line button flashes and can be picked up at any extension.   With outgoing calls though, only the extension light lights up, and if you put a call on hold, only that extension flashes - it's impossible to get the call on a different phone.

2. I have tried a version using call parking, but it was too confusing for the client (an auto repair shop).

We can probably get them to be OK with dialing "9" first, but the ability to put a call on hold and retrieve it anywhere easily is key. 

Any ideas on how to make this easy to use?  I feel like I am missing something obvious.

Here are the vitals of the install:


4 incoming CO lines

7 phones, all SPA509G

4 buttons on each phone are dedicated to the FXO lines (Line1, Line2 etc)

Auto Attendant and Voicemail needed.

Aside: The UC320 actually seems to handle this better because you can park/unpark a call by pushing a button dedicated to a park slot.  With this I could set up 4 park slots and that would solve the problem.  On the 540 (as far as I can tell) you can't park a call on a specific button.

paolo bevilacqua
Hall of Fame Master

First of all, it's true that is a lot more difficult to configure a small system with analog lines rather than a big one with ISDN, especially when trying to mimic legacy PBX. Anyway:

With shared lines, you should be able to hold and retrieve from any phone. They key concept is that it has to be an octo-line DN and shared on all the needed phones. If you use different DNs for incoming and outgoing calls, then that can cause the problem you describe.

Also, you can use use trunk with port monitor under DN, you should be able to replicate the key system and seize a line without dialing 9. However since that uses a lot of buttons, a compromise could be to use trunk-groups, let the system pick the first available line, using a single 'external line' button.

For call-park, you never park on a button, you park to a DN. But, you can have a button (b, w, of blf-speed-dial) monitor the park-slot DN, and pressing it will retrieve the call.

Note: I have no idea if the above is doable using GUI or CCA, I don't know if it will be in the future, and I will not comment on the position of Cisco about what tool people should use to configure their UC500 systems.

But I know that for sure it can be done with CLI, and everything about is well documented in the CME Administrator Guide.

Paolo - thanks.   We do have shared octal lines set up and they are able to place calls on hold and retrieve from any phone, but ONLY if it was an incoming call (and therefore was on the shared-line button) OR if they selected a shared-line button before dialing out.   If they just pick up the phone and dial out, only their extension button flashes and you cannot retrieve the call from another phone.

If there is a way to make it automatically select a shared-line button (which is essentially the CO line) when you pick up the phone that would be very helpful, since it would fix the hold situation above, and would eliminate the need to dial "9" first.  

Perhaps there is a way to just change the outgoing dial plan?

Intercom is much less important, we can do a dialable intercom button for that if it helps.

Thanks Mario - the trick is, how to I make it sieze one of the CO lines when they pick up the handset, as opposed to having to press the line key.


If there is a way to make it automatically select a shared-line button (which is essentially the CO line) when you pick up the phone that would be very helpful, since it would fix the hold situation above, and would eliminate the need to dial "9" first.    

That is possible, but not a very good idea, because once you have external dialtone, you won;t be able to calling extensions. Otherwisie, you have to disable line-autoselect, then lifting handset you have no dialtone, and have to press a different button, depending if you're going to call internally or externally. It doesn't seem very practical to me.

All in all I think it's matter of reaching a compromise, and teach how to use the it, keeping in mind it's not a key system.

Transfer and conferencing are not requirements.  However, I tried this configuration, and I could be wrong but pretty sure when picking up the handset it only lights up the button for the normal extension for that phone, not a line button.  

I never mentioned transfer and conferencing..

Again, that is because when dedicating buttons to external lines, you introduce the ambiguity between lines that are shared  octo-line, and personal DN's that are not.

If you want outgoing calls to be placed using shared, ocotoc-line, you must makes so that these are automatically, or manually, selectect when dialing out.

Mario Garcia

Instead of using shared lines use CO Lines as the option when setting up the buttons. One Analog line per button.

You lose the transfer ability, conferencing and anything that requires a dual line or higher. If you setup via CLI the you can maintain transfer and conferencing.

Sent from Cisco Technical Support iPhone App


Good morning,

Using CCA 3.2 you can attempt this:

4 incoming CO lines:  Associate each shared line to buttons 1-4 to each phone:  This will allow them to pick up the phone and seize a line, they will still need to dial 9 to get out but at least this will eliminate having to select an available shared line to call out.  This also allows call transfers and place a call on hold and pick it up from another phone.

For VM however this will limit your ability to personal VM for different users.  You can set up a VM for each shared line and each user (via CCA) will need to have VM enabled on it so that all phones will be able to access the General Delivery Mailbox created for each shared line.

This may be an idea for you to work with.


Mike D.

This is how it's currently configured.  Shared lines associated with incoming CO lines.  When picking up a receiver, the extension button lights up, and even if user dials "9" to get out, the extension button is the only one to stay lit up, not the line buttons.  This means you can't put on hold and pick up from another phone.

I had to laugh when I saw the subject. I've replaced quite a few nortel norstar systems with UC boxes and everyone loves the shiny new display phones and hates how they have to do things differently. I tried once to really make it work like thier old key system and everytime they put in an order for changes I pulled my hair out. Yes it can be done but the system is not designed to offer it's best funtionality that way. My advice would be to just tell them no. Get them to pay for some training hours and call it a day.