Online caller identification, also known as online Caller ID, is a type of telecommunication feature that makes it possible to ascertain the telephone number of the individual who is making a telephone call. This type of service has been available with traditional landlines and mobile phones since the latter decades of the 20th century. Since the turn of the 21st century, online caller ID features have also been developed that make it easy for consumers using online telephone services to also enjoy this feature. There are actually a few different applications or types of online caller ID that can be helpful for both individual and business subscribers.
One type of online caller ID is designed for those who are receiving inbound telephone calls via an Internet connection. With this particular approach, different providers offer more than one solution. The most common approach is for the online caller ID to provide data regarding the number of the entity that is calling, often along with a name if that data is also transmitted. This allows the end user to quickly view the data and determine whether or not to take the call. A more advanced form of online caller ID even provides this data if the user is currently on another call, making it possible to move between the two calls if desired, or allow the second call to roll to a voice mail feature for retrieval later on.
A second type of online caller ID has to do with the originator of the calls, rather than the recipient. With this type of feature, the originator is able to control the amount of data that is transmitted to the call recipient. This means that if desired, the originator can alter the name that is carried as part of the transmission, or even block the number from being displayed at the point of termination. When this is the case, any number of different designations may show up on the display at the receiving end, including phrases such as "unknown caller," "out of area caller," or even a series of zeros in lieu of actual numbers.
The exact configuration of online Caller ID services will vary slightly from one Internet based telephone service provider to the next. Many allow the ability to enhance the use of this feature with other services, such as the ability to automatically block certain numbers, or to route inbound calls that do not transmit a number to an auto attendant for further disposition. Checking with the service provider will make it possible to determine what type of features are included in the caller ID package, and decide if the service will be of use to the subscriber.