Include statements allow us to split up the functionality in our dialplan into smaller chunks, and then have Asterisk search multiple contexts for a dialed extension. Most commonly, this functionality is used to provide security boundaries between different classes of callers.

It is important to remember that when calls come into the Asterisk dialplan, they get directed to a particular context by the channel driver. Asterisk then begins looking for the dialed extension in the context specified by the channel driver. By using include statements, we can include other contexts in the search for the dialed extension.

Asterisk supports two different types of include statements: regular includes and time-based includes.