Everyone is busy/congested at this time

I have 12 Sip Channels mainly used for incoming calls. The calls originally rang on an receptionist extension with 12 line appearances. The calls rang on a SNOM 320. The receptionist would then redirect the call to the correct person. Even though I have 12 sip channels after 5 or 6 simutanious calls, the 7th callers would get the message that the call could not be completed as dialed. On the asterisk CLI it says “Everyone is busy/congested at this time” and the call is rejected.
I changed the dial plan to ring multiple extensions at the same time but I still have the same problem. What should I do?


RINGEVERYONE=SIP/2000&SIP/2005&SIP/2010&SIP/20015,500 ; 4 phones
; Incoming DID’s
exten => _99988870XX,1,Dial(${RINGEVERYONE})

Not everyone is on the phone when these calls are ringing. Basically I need the calls to ring until someone answeres them. I tried changing the dial plan to have the calls answered and to play back ringing sound as suggested in a different forum, but the call skipped past the ringing and went to hangup.

Thanks for any help.

This is a silly shot in the dark, but what is maxcalls set to in asterisk.conf? I believe the default is 10. This, coupled with the fact that transfers and whatnot could potentially be using multiple channels (E.g. call on hold plus outbound call to destination), you may be chewing up all of the “available” channels earlier than you’re expecting?

I looked in the asterisk.conf file and the maxcalls is commented out. Everything in the options context is commented out.

I had 18 simutanious calls on Sunday morning.

Thanks for you help. I didn’t know about maxcalls.


Well I think I made some progress with this after much research. I am adding notes to this posting for the next person struggling with this problem.

Here is the cause:
Dial() returns DIALSTATUS=CONGESTION for pretty much every call setup problem.
voip-info.org/wiki/view/Aste … DIALSTATUS

If for some reason a call cannot be delivered to an extension, such as in my case where I was doing a ring all and everyone one was busy. Then the dial status returns CONGESTION and the caller hears a message like - were sorry the number cannot be completed as dialed etc. Or even worse, the number you are dialing is no longer in service etc.

The problem is well known, once you know what to search for. The solution is not that difficult and I am surprised no one offered any assistance. In the dialplan you need to add another priority after Dial(), which checks DIALSTATUS. Dial Status can be one of 5 values "CHANUNAVAIL,CONGESTION,BUSY, NOANSWER, ANSWER, CANCEL, HANGUP"
If the status is congestion, you can use the Busy() command to return a nice caller friendly busy signal.

exten => _123,1,Dial(${RINGEVERYONE})
exten => _123,n,GotoIf($[$["${DIALSTATUS}" = “BUSY”] | $["${DIALSTATUS}" = “CONGESTION”]]?busy)
exten => _123,n,Hangup()
exten => _123,n(busy),Verbose(DailStatus: is ${DIALSTATUS} )
exten => _123,n(busy),busy()
exten => _123,n(busy),Hangup()

The Macro version:
exten => s,1,Dial(${RINGEVERYONE})
exten => s,n,GotoIf($[$["${DIALSTATUS}" = “BUSY”] | $["${DIALSTATUS}" = “CONGESTION”]]?busy)
exten => s,n,Hangup()
exten => s,n(busy),Verbose(${MACRO_EXTEN}: DailStatus: is ${DIALSTATUS} )
exten => s,n(busy),busy()
exten => s,n(busy),Hangup()

I hope this helps someone, some where.


Whether it returns ENGAGED or EQUIPMENT ENGAGED is very different from whether it fails a call whilst there is still an available circuit. If you had asked about the tone generated, you might have got a quick answer to that question.

And just for completeness, it says Everyone, because you can specify multiple devices, separated by &. It actually has an order of priority amongs BUSY, CONGESTION and UNAVAILABLE, but it also displays the counts for all three.

Thanks David. I tried to use the key words from the CLI to describe what was happening. I am a programmer and new to phone systems and asterisk. Until I tried to fix this problem I didn’t know enough to ask about tones. Your right, if I had added the message that the caller was hearing, I might have gotten a quick reply. After all it was the message the caller was hearing that I was trying to get rid of.

As usual knowing what question to ask and how to word it in a concise way is the challenge.


I should add that I found lots of posting regarding the problem. As expect other have had the same problem but no one posted a solution that I could find. So I posted my solution hoping to help the next bewildered person.