Direct Inward Dialing Number (Also known as DID or DDI)
DID (DDI) Background
Most businesses have several incoming telephone numbers used for specific purposes. For example customer service, sales, etc. Some have an individual telephone number for each user in the system. In a home setting on the other hand, each telephone number comes in on a different pair of wires typically. This is not practical in a business environment that has many telephone numbers.
DID (DDI) in the new VOIP World
Let’s say you buy a phone line from Vonage or some other phone service provider who offers phone service over broadband. The number that they provide to you, in technical terms is a DID number. This is the number that they have assigned to you to connect you to the old PSTN Networks around the world. Any service provider who wants to offer a phone service over IP address, needs to buy DID numbers from his CLEC or any other large service provider like Level 3 in the United States or go to a consortium (company that will take large blocks from many providers and hand them out one at a time)
If you are using an IP PBX like Asterisk, and you want to connect yourself to PSTN so people can call your office, you can either 1) buy an Analog or E1/T1 card from Digium, or 2) buy DID number from a service provider like virtualphoneline .com, broadvoice .com or voicepulse .com that will then come to your IP-PBX as a real phone line. Then you can use as your phone number, and route it to your IVR or direct extension. You can get a FREE UK Did from IPStar .us or buy commercial DIDs from service providers like virtualphoneline .com
Old Fashion Way: (PSTN WORLD)
Direct Inward Dialing is used when your PBX telecom connection allows direct dialling to extensions within a PBX, using physical lines (or channels on a PRI) on a shared basis. DID service consists of identifying the “called party” by using DTMF or by digital means, before connecting each call. The service can be sent over an E&M Wink T-1 as DTMF and also as D-Channel information on a PRI
On a PRI connection, the telecom can send only the digits that differ between the group number and the extension (often four digits) or the whole number – it depends on the connection to the telecom.
Why was DID actually Created?
So DID (direct inward dialing) was invented as a way to re-use a limited number of physical phone lines to handle calls to different published numbers. In a business with DID, the phone company uses DID signalling to identify the number they are about to connect to the business’s PBX. Historically, this was done by pulsing the last 3 or 4 digits of the number being dialed before connecting the number. The PBX would use these DID digits to switch the call to the right recipient.
In modern PBX’s, typically, digital methods (example: PRI) are used to do the same thing, ie. supply the “called party” information. But many business’s still have old PBX’s which use the analog signalling I mentioned before. The type of telephone lines used for analog DID are different than regular home telephone lines. Usually, battery voltage is supplied by the business PBX instead of the telecom. Also, the telecom signals a new call by bridging the line instead of by ringing the line. The receiving PBX signals back that it’s ready to take the call by momentarily reversing polarity of the voltage on the line (this is called “winking” the line)