DID or Telephone Number What’s the Difference?
By TODD MIDDLEBROOKS
Telephone Number vs DID
Most every business person is familiar with telephone numbers. They are 10-digit numbers assigned to your business for your customers, vendors and others to get in touch with your organization. With the growth of services like SIP trunking and voice over internet protocol (VoIP), the term DID has become synonymous with telephone number, although it is somewhat different and can be far more powerful.
Traditional Telephone Number
A traditional telephone number is directly associated with a copper telephone line. Each line has a number and the ability to make or receive a single telephone call. You business needs as many lines as you require for concurrent calls. If you want to make/receive five calls at once, then you will need five lines. Most businesses have these lines set up in “hunt.” That is, when a call is received on the main number the first line is taken. When another call comes in on that same number, it rolls over to the next available line, for up to as many lines are available.
Direct Inward Dial (“DID” dee eye dee)
A direct inward dial number is a number that is independent of a physical line. Rather, DIDs are pointed towards “call paths.” Much like physical copper lines, call paths determine the number of concurrent calls you can make or receive. Since we are dealing with VoIP at this point, there are no physical copper lines to deal with. The greatest feature of a DID is flexibility. DIDs can be main business numbers, numbers that ring directly to an extension or virtual numbers that can be controlled to perform a variety of functions. For instance, you may set up a DID in another city or state to establish a “local” presence in that area. When callers dial that local number, it could ring your receptionist on the other side of the country. Sure this was possible with traditional telephone lines and call forwarding. However, when utilizing VoIP, there are no long distance charges. Your DID exists virtually (as in not tied to any physical equipment) and you make it ring where you like.
Which is Better?
Honestly, it depends on your communications needs. If your call volume only dictates a few lines, traditional copper lines with traditional telephone numbers may be a fit for you. However, even very small businesses can benefit from SIP trunking technologies and direct inward dial (DID) numbers. The flexibility of these services may be just the competitive edge your business needs to thrive