To Queue or not to Queue? (or do something else entirely)

Hi- Brand new Asterisk admin here with zero platform experience (lots of other PBX/ACD experience, just no Asterisk…). I’m looking for some assistance- first, I’d like a general opinion on whether queuing is the best asterisk solution for the situation I’ll describe below. If it is, I’m looking for a couple of details about queue members that I can’t pin down.

I need to find a solution for a 3 member team; 2 workers and one PHBoss. Right now all are configured as straight extensions with the two workers answering calls dialed to 0 and the PHB only getting calls dialed directly to his number. Call volume to “0” often exceeds the two available workers and the excess calls are lost. The Boss wants to have the option of taking these calls from his desk to assist the workers. He doesn’t want his phone to ring the rest of the time. After digging through call groups and other ideas ranging from decent to flat dumb, it looks to me like queuing might be the best solution.

If I go with queuing, I’m trying to find out:

  1. Can a device can be in the queue and receiving calls at the extension level without an agent login? I want the two worker phones to always ring, 24x7 and not take a chance on someone logging one out between shifts and the next worker not knowing how to log back in.

  2. If 1 is possible how can I make the PHBoss extension optional?
    2a. Can the Boss be given an agent ID and added to the queue only when he logs in?
    2b. Will the same queue accept both extensions and agents as valid destinations?

  3. If 1 is not possible, could I look at cascading queues with queue 1 always ringing the worker extensions and queue 2 only available as an overflow when the PH Boss logs in as an agent?


  1. Am I completely out of my tree and missing some blatantly obvious solution that would avoid all of this?

Thanks in advance for your time,consideration and pity taken on a newbie.

Yes you can do this.

You can add your two techs as static members to the queue and then create an extension that dynamically adds and removes the boss to the queue.

You can also play with things like queue rules to only ring the boss’s phone if the callers have been in the queue longer than a duration of your choice by increasing the priority of the callers.

@johnkiniston- Thank you, Sir. Just what I was hoping to hear.

This is a rapidly ascending learning curve for me. I’m glad this community is here and, from what I see in the postings, so willing to be helpful. I’m clinging firmly to my belief that all PBX’s have to do pretty much the same basic things, in vaguely the same way. Now I just have to wrap my head around the Asterisk way of doing them…

Well the queue itself is easy :slight_smile:

Below is a queue with three static agents, Two agents have a Penalty of 1 and the third has a Penalty of 2

Asterisk tries to call the lowest-numbered penalty group first. If nobody in that group is able to take a call the system escalates to calling the next group which would be your Boss.

You can also control when the Penalty of the active call increases by using queuerules.conf

strategy = leastrecent
member => SIP/101,1,Tech1
member => SIP/102,1,Tech2
member => SIP/201,2,Boss

See this for more information, While dated it is still useful.