Multi-line Phone System and How Does It Work?

Multi-Line Phone Systems? A Complete Guide for Small Business

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It’s common for businesses to receive multiple calls simultaneously. In such a scenario, you don’t want to miss one call when you’re busy on another call - it could mean a missed opportunity. A Multi-line phone system ensures you don’t miss any calls. It facilitates the other calls to go through your phone system even if you’re already on a call. You can seamlessly handle the subsequent incoming calls without disconnecting the previous one.

What is a Multi-Line Phone System?

A multi-line phone system is a communication solution that allows a single telephone to access multiple lines simultaneously. Each line operates independently to enable a business to efficiently and effectively handle multiple calls simultaneously. Your single phone can manage different calls on separate lines without overlap or interference. 

How Does a Multi-Line Phone System Work?

The multi-line phone system assigns a unique extension to each line within your phone system. The internal switching system within the phone setup facilitates transit between calls on the extensions without losing the original call.


The precise working process varies depending on your chosen phone system - A traditional multiple-line or a cloud-based multiple-line phone system.  

Traditional Multi-Line Phone System

A traditional multi-line phone system uses physical phone lines to connect multiple separate phone lines to a central unit, typically a Private Branch Exchange (PBX). When there is an incoming call, it is first directed to the PBX. The PBX then distributes these calls to the appropriate phone in the office based on the free line designated for that call. Each phone connected to the PBX can access multiple lines. 


While one employee is on a call, another line can ring on the same or a different phone. The system also includes features like call holding, transferring, and sometimes intercom calling, all managed through the PBX.

Cloud-based Multi-Line Phone System

A cloud-based multi-line phone system employs advanced VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology to manage multiple phone lines on a single device. The digital packet-switching technology in VoIP facilitates this capability. When you’re on a call, and another call comes in, the system utilizes this technology to route the new incoming call to an available line. The cloud-based PBX system dynamically allocates resources to handle and manage these concurrent calls. It ensures you can receive a new call without disconnecting the ongoing one.

Types of Multi-Line Phone Systems

Various types of multi-line phone structures are available within traditional and VoIP systems. These range from simpler systems with just a couple of lines to more complex setups offering a flexible number of lines.

2-line Phone System

A 2-line phone system is the simplest form of a multi-line phone system, perfect for small businesses or home offices. It consists of two separate lines, each with its own phone number. This setup allows you to handle two calls simultaneously. It’s ideal for businesses that can manage a moderate call volume without the complexity of larger systems. With features like call waiting, call transferring, and sometimes voicemail, a 2-line system balances functionality and simplicity.

4-Line Phone System

4-line phone systems offer greater capacity and are well-suited for growing small to medium-sized businesses. It allows for four separate phone lines and significantly increases the ability to manage incoming and outgoing calls. They often have more advanced features like call routing, call holding, and group calling. This system is designed to handle a higher volume of calls and provide more flexibility in how calls are distributed and managed across the team.

6-Line Phone System

For businesses with higher call volumes and larger teams, a 6-line phone system can be an ideal choice. This system supports six separate lines, offering even more capacity for handling concurrent calls. It can significantly streamline the communication process with advanced features like conference calling, sophisticated call routing, and sometimes integrated messaging.

Flexible Number of Phone Lines

Setting up this type of multiple-line phone system is possible on a VoIP phone system. It offers the flexibility to add or reduce the number of lines as needed. Depending on your business needs, you can start with a few lines during the initial setup. Later as your business expands, you can adjust to add the new lines. It ensures that your communication system is always in sync with your business’s current situation. 

Why Your Business Need Multi-Line Phone System?

The multi-line phone system streamlines your business operations, improves customer experience, and saves costs. The following are the key reasons to implement this phone system in your business.

Improve Call Handling

A multi-line phone system allows you to manage multiple calls efficiently and promptly address customer inquiries. It reduces the likelihood of missed calls, keeps hold times to a minimum, and allows for quick call transfers within the organization. With better call handling, it leads to improved customer satisfaction. It also boosts the productivity of your staff, as they can handle calls more efficiently and with less stress.

Enhance Brand Image

Implementing a multi-line phone system can positively impact your brand image. As you handle the customer calls efficiently and professionally, it elevates their perception of your business. A system that seamlessly manages calls reflects a company that is organized, reliable, and committed to customer service. It can eventually lead to increased customer trust and loyalty.

Save Cost

The multi-line system reduces the need for multiple single-line phones and lowers the expenses associated with missed opportunities due to inadequate call handling. Besides, a cloud-based VoIP phone system allows you to add unlimited lines. It significantly saves the installment cost for the new phone lines in your business.


A cloud-based multiple-line system benefits your business with exceptional flexibility and mobility. It allows you to manage calls on IP phones and through mobile devices and computers via dedicated apps. You can handle multiple calls efficiently from any location.

Boost Team Collaboration

Multi-line phone systems facilitate easy internal communication with features like call transfer and conference calls. These functionalities ensure that team members can quickly connect with each other, share information, and make collaborative decisions promptly. This seamless interaction speeds up internal processes and leads to a more cohesive and efficient work environment.


Multi-line phone systems are a need of the modern business landscape. These systems ensure efficient, uninterrupted, and professional communication. While businesses can choose between traditional and VoIP phone systems, VoIP systems emerge as the superior choice for many modern businesses. The business virtual phone system of Calilio makes setting up a multiline phone system easier than ever. 


You can buy virtual phone numbers on our system and assign them to multiple agents. It allows you to set up unlimited phone lines - you can share the same number with as many users as you want. Sign up to Calilio and set up your multi-line phone system today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you have multiple landline phones?

You can have multiple landline phones in a single location. This is commonly achieved through a multi-line phone system, which allows several landline phones to be connected and used simultaneously. Each phone can access different lines or share the same line based on the system’s configuration.

What is the best 2 line phone system?

The best 2-line phone system depends on specific business needs, including call volume, features required, and budget. Calilio is a modern business phone system that provides you with business communication solutions at an affordable price.

How do you transfer calls on a multi-line phone?

To transfer calls on a multi-line phone, you typically press the ‘Transfer’ button during the call, dial the phone extension or number where the call needs to be transferred, and then either wait for the other person to pick up (attended transfer) or hang up immediately (blind transfer). The exact steps can vary depending on the phone model and system configuration.

Can two cell phones receive the same incoming call?

Two cell phones can be set up to receive the same incoming call. You use call forwarding features, where a call to one number is automatically forwarded to another number, or through business phone systems like Calilio, which allow calls to be routed to multiple devices simultaneously.

Can one phone number ring on two phones?

You can make one phone number ring on two phones simultaneously on Calilio. When a call is made to the number, both phones ring at the same time, and the call can be answered on either phone.

How can I have two phone numbers on one phone?

You can have two phone numbers on one phone using a dual-SIM phone, where two SIM cards can be used simultaneously. Depending on the device, you may receive one physical and one on eSIM or two physical sims as a dual sim. Another way is to use Calilio, which allows you to manage multiple phone numbers through an app on a single smartphone.

How do I manage multiple phone lines?

Managing multiple phone lines can be efficiently done using a multi-line phone system or a cloud-based VoIP phone system. Such systems allow you to handle multiple calls, transfer calls between lines, and provide features like voicemail, call waiting, and conferencing. Calilio offers additional flexibility and control, allowing you to manage multiple lines through an app or web interface.

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