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Direct Inward Dialing (DID)

Direct Inward Dialing (DID) is a service of a local phone company (or local exchange carrier) that provides a block of telephone numbers for calling into a company's private branch exchange (PBX) system. Using DID, a company can offer its customers individual phone numbers for each person or workstation within the company without requiring a physical line into the PBX for each possible connection.

For example, a company might rent 100 phone numbers from the phone company that could be called over eight physical telephone lines (these are called "trunk lines"). This would allow up to eight ongoing calls at a time; additional inbound calls would get a busy signal until one of the calls completed or be able to leave a voice mail message. The PBX automatically switches a call for a given phone number to the appropriate workstation in the company. A PBX switchboard operator is not involved.

A DID system can be used for fax and voice mail as well as for live voice connections. Compared to regular PBX service, DID saves the cost of a switchboard operator, calls go through faster, and callers feel they are calling a person rather than a company.

This was last updated in September 2005

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