Time-based Call Routing Visual Guide

Every PBX and/or soft-switch ecosystem has their own version of time-based routing, with some being more intuitive than others. For instance, FreePBX decouples time conditions from time groups.  This allows for changes to a single time group to affect multiple time conditions, i.e. updating a business’ operating hours. For simple business routing, this works just fine. However, as more decisions are needed, it can be easy to miss a window of time that doesn’t get defined.  It also makes it very difficult to reproduce when migrating to a new and disparate PBX or soft-switch.

Not too long ago we consulted on a PBX migration where the time-base routing was very complex due to the companies’ 24/7/365 nature; we’re talking no less than eight routing decisions based on 12 or more windows of time that affected routing in a given week! Even when looking directly at the current systems’ configuration it was confusing and difficult to explain. Multiple iterations of checks and re-checks didn’t get things exactly right. There had to be a better way.

Another soft-switch we’ve used in the past has a visual method of defining these routes and groups. The beauty of doing this visually was it eliminated undefined windows of time, plus color-coding made for an easy-to-follow and quick reference for implementation / on-boarding and troubleshooting. Using this as inspiration, we’ve created and will share below a Time-based Call Routing Google Sheets version of this method that end users and engineers will hopefully fine useful.

Create your Legend

The document has a ‘how-to’ sheet, but in a nutshell, first you define your destinations and reference a specific color.

A legend for mapping colors to destinations

Copy the template for each route and configure it

Next, copy the ‘Template’ sheet as many times as needed and rename the copied sheets something descriptive. On each new sheet, drag-n-select blocks of time and use the ‘Fill color’ button to mark what destination (defined in your Legend sheet) these blocks of time should route to.

Google Sheets' color palette

Color-code these time blocks as needed

Changing the colors of time blocks to match the expected route.

(In this example, on Saturdays between 3:00pm and 5:30pm, this route would forward calls to (213) 555-5555).

The Template sheet has all the time cells pre-filled with a red fill color, so any left-over red cells are time blocks that are undefined and should be reviewed. The link below will prompt you to make a copy of my master document, and you are free to use it!

Time-Based Call Routing Visual Guide

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