Call routing

Author: Anagha Ravi

Call routing is the process of forwarding communications from an originating source to a desired endpoint. In order for a call or message to travel from the sender to the intended recipient, it must navigate through a series of interconnected networks. Optimizing the route that a call takes to reach the recipient ensures better call quality, stronger connections, and fewer dropped calls.

Call routing history

The first commercial telephones functioned something like walkie-talkies, with each device connected to one partnered device in another location. If that sounds impractical – it was! Businesses needed a separate telephone system for each location they wanted to reach and eventually, local telephone exchange networks prevailed. In the past, private telephones were wired to a central exchange located in that town or neighborhood and a human switchboard operator worked to manually route calls to their destinations. Under this system, local telephone exchanges were connected to other telephone exchanges by a system of trunks. Eventually, these trunks expanded to connect cities, states, countries, and continents. The public telephone switched network, or PSTN, was born.

Most public switchboard operators became obsolete in the 1970s and 80s, when direct dialing became possible for long-distance calls. Modern call routing is accomplished digitally, and VoIP (voice over internet protocol) makes it possible to route communications over a data network, bypassing the PSTN entirely. As the technology evolves, the underlying principle of call routing remains the same: network owners actively monitor and troubleshoot routing to ensure that calls reach their final destination, wherever that may be.

How does call routing work?

Though the technology has changed a great deal since the 1870s, the exchange principle remains the basis of call routing today. Users can now dial international as well as local recipients directly, but networks are still interconnected by a system of hierarchical trunks. Like taking a connecting flight to an international travel hub, a call may need to navigate through a series of networks to reach its destination.

Long-distance calls are likely to pass through a number of carrier networks, and not unlike international travel, some routes are more efficient than others. Carriers oversee all of these transfers and find the optimal route for calls and messages so that users experience clear connections and fewer dropped calls.

Benefits of call routing

Calls made to one main telephone number can be queued and seamlessly transferred to the appropriate department or branch. Call routing also makes it possible to distribute calls based on time zone, geographic location, and language preference.
Quickly connecting callers with an easy-to-navigate automated menu or a helpful human is a proven way to increase customer satisfaction and conversion.

Types of call routing

For businesses, call routing can also refer to the technology that makes it possible to queue and distribute incoming calls. Automatic call distribution (ACD) relies on preset criteria to queue calls in a way that benefits your business. These criteria can be set to allow for time-based routing, so that after-hours calls are directed to a branch in different time zone where customer support is still available; skills-based routing, so that calls are routed to an agent who is best qualified to respond to a specific customer’s needs; or they may be routed to evenly distribute calls amongst a team of agents. Within these very broad routing schemes, there are many ways to specify how, and under what conditions, a call is transferred. Calls can also be routed to IVR systems that can help callers that do not require a conversation with a live agent.

How is Bandwidth involved with call routing

Routing calls is what we do. We connect people via voice and messaging over our IP Voice Network.

What are the benefits of Bandwidth’s call routing

Bandwidth owns and operates its own network which allows us to actively monitor and optimize call routing. Customers get higher-quality calls with fewer drops and clearer connections.