A conference bridge is a central and improved way of hosting a multi-party or conference call - internal parties can dial into the conference - external parties can be transferred to the conference or can dial in through use of an auto attendant or dedicated number. Depending on how the conference will be used, options can be configured to tailor the experience to the purpose. Examples of this might include use as a meeting room compared with use as a teaching tool (where callers might be muted initially when they join to prevent background noise from flooding the conference.
Did you know you can have multiple dedicated numbers for a conference? Like a toll free for wider user, or a number in Calgary or Toronto or somewhere else in the world? Contact your rep for details!
An Admin is a conference participant who will control the conference. The conference is configured to hold all parties until an Admin has joined - this facilitates keeping guests from "starting without you". Admin users are typically IN-OFFICE staff.
A User is any other participant in the conference. An outside guest is typically a User.
Admin and User both have a PIN - when connecting to the conference you must enter the PIN and record your name to identify yourself. Do not share the Admin PIN with untrusted users. Guests can use the User PIN.
After entering your PIN, you may be prompted to record your name - this will be played to announce your arrival and departure from the conference. Simply follow the prompts.
If Admin joins the conference first, they will hear silence while they wait for User callers.
If a User joins first, they can hear music / Media on Hold (MOH), which can be customized, while they wait for other callers and Admin to join.
In the event all Admins drop off the call, the caller will be returned to hold music or ejected depending on how the "Admin Leave" option is configured.
Larger conference operators can benefit from a web control panel that helps identify Users who are talking (or noisy) and facilitates muting them or disconnecting them.
Conference options can be configured by Support - they include:
User PIN. The User PIN can be offered to outside staff or callers. Alternatively, it can be dialed by a staff member as they transfer an outside caller into the bridge. It can be changed when desired.
Admin PIN. The Admin PIN identifies a staff member or supervisor. Some menu options are only available based on the use of this PIN. Conferences wait on one user with this PIN to start and can be forced to end when the last Admin user leaves.
Language. Language can be forced, or set dynamically in multilingual systems. Language affects the menus and prompts played to callers.
Join message. None by default, but if the caller enters the User PIN, they will hear "The conference will begin when the leader arrives".
Leader Leave. Yes by default. When the Admin users leave, the conference ends.
Talker Optimization. Depending on the size of the bridge, enabling this will reduce background noise by automatically muting callers not speaking. Manual muting may still be required. Turning it on for smaller bridges can introduce "clipping" of talkers as there may be a small delay in detecting the start of speech.
Quiet mode. No by default, but if Yes, quiet mode does not play a tone with arriving and departing users.
Announce User Join / Leave. No by default, but if Yes, all callers are prompted to record their name and are announced. Recommended No on larger bridges.
User Count. No by default, if Yes, announce the number of users as people join / leave. Recommended No on larger bridges.
Music on hold. Yes by default, to play music for users while they are waiting for an Admin to join.
Music on hold selection. The music can be generic, or your own customized Media on Hold (MOH).
In Conference Menu. The menu allows the caller some management of their own call or for the Admin the conference (see below).
Mute On Join. Admins join unmuted. Users join muted. If the menu is not enabled, Users can not un-mute.
Caller Timeout. The maximum duration of any active user. We suggest setting this 25% longer than your maximum anticipated conference call.
Please contact support using the form below to change any required options.
To connect to a conference simply dial the designated extension or external number, enter the User or Admin PIN followed by #. To connect outside participants, simply BLIND TRANSFER them to the designated extension when they call in to any number at your premises. Optionally, you can use ATTENDED TRANSFER, and enter the User PIN and optionally introduce them prior to completing the transfer.
During the conference, if the menu is enabled, you can access it by pressing *
The following options are supported:
Admin users will return to the conference immediately following the menu prompt if they do not make a selection, while other users will wait on silent hold until they press the 8 to exit the menu.
How do we avoid or reduce background noise on a conference call?
How do I place a three-way (3-way) conference call? [Cisco]
How do I place a three-way (3-way or N-Way) conference call? [Yealink]