Cisco Unified Communications Manager, formerly CallManager, acts as the heart of Cisco's communications and collaboration portfolio by providing a secure, shared, high-availability platform for session and call control for voice, video, messaging, mobility, IM, and Presence. Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM or Unified CM) handles vital voice communications functions including endpoint registration, call processing, and call admission control. All VoIP phones and IP Video phones managed by CUCM can share the same dial plan, and a consistent set of telephony services such as session management, voice, video, messaging, mobility, and web conferencing can easily be extended from corporate headquarters to branch offices, teleworkers, and mobile users.
Integrated with current releases of CUCM is Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM and Presence Service, which provides Cisco Jabber support for instant messaging (IM) and network-based Presence as well as federation for third-party collaborative platforms including Microsoft Office. In addition, Cisco's ISR routers can provide Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) to deliver essential call control functions in case the WAN experiences an outage.
Progent's Cisco-certified consultants can provide efficient and affordable online and onsite expertise to help organizations of any size build and maintain CUCM deployments that deliver maximum business value. Progent can help with any facet of CUCM configuration and troubleshooting in areas such as dial plans, endpoint addressing schemes, calling party presentation, call admission control, codec selection, Single Number Reach (SNR), PSTN integration, and SIP infrastructure solutions. For high availability, Progent can help you configure dual CUCM servers in a fault-tolerant cluster and Progent's router experts can help you enable SRST backup on Cisco ISR routers to provide automatic failover at remote sites. Progent can provide as-needed expertise to guide your IT team over occasional technical hurdles and Progent also offers comprehensive project management outsourcing or co-sourcing to help you complete major unified communications initiatives on time and on budget.
Components of Unified Communications Solutions Managed by CUCM
Cisco Unified Communications Manager can be run on a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) Server or on an SRE blade module for a Cisco Integrated Services Router Generation 2 (ISR G2). Cisco Unified CM supports a range of deployment models including public cloud, private cloud, on-premises, remote, and hybrid. For deployments of 25 to 1,000 users, Cisco offers the Business Edition 6000 (BE6000) family of packaged, virtualized collaboration applications built around CUCM and including the software components needed for advanced voice, video, messaging, IM and Presence, and contact center features. For deployments with 1,000 to 5,000 users, Cisco offers the BE7000 line of integrated packages. Each Business Edition package is available with several Cisco UCS server hardware platform options.
Key applications from Cisco provide the foundation for a full-featured, CUCM-managed collaborative communications solution. Many older releases and multiple versions of these applications are currently available from Cisco, and many more releases have reached end-of-life status since Cisco's introduction of CallManager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager's predecessor, about two decades ago. Progent's veteran Cisco-certified consultants can provide support for both legacy and current versions of Cisco's unified communications technology and can help companies maintain and troubleshoot their existing messaging environments or plan and carry out an efficient migration to Cisco's current products.
Core application families associated with Cisco Unified Communications Manager include:
Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CME or CME) is a Cisco IOS software-based version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager intended to provide localized call control, mobility, and conferencing to branch offices and designed to run on Cisco Integrated Services Routers (ISRs) such as the Cisco 2900, 3900, or 4000 Series ISRs. CME can be combined with other services such as Cisco Unity Express. CME is compatible with a broad range of Cisco Unified IP Phones and video endpoints as well as third-party SIP endpoints. CME also supports Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) to provide branch offices with basic PBX capabilities in case of a WAN outage. CME supports up to 450 users.
Cisco Unity Express (CUE), like Unified CME, is designed to run on Cisco ISR routers and offers branch locations and small or mid-size offices integrated messaging, voicemail, fax, and other features hosted in a compact appliance. SRST support ensures CUE survivability in the event that a remote site's WAN connection goes down. A router-hosted application, CUE has a maximum capacity of 32 ports/sessions and 500 mailboxes.
Cisco Unity, which has been replaced by Cisco Unity Connection, has reached end-of-life and end-of-sale status but is still widely deployed. Progent can help you maintain your current Cisco Unity environment or help you plan and carry out an efficient migration to Cisco Unity Connection or Unity Connection Express.
Cisco Contact Center Express (Unified CCX or CCX) provides an out-of-the-box solution for creating a customer contact center for departmental, branch or midmarket deployments that support up to 400 agents. Several packages are available, plus a variety of optional advanced features. CCX is tightly integrated with Unified Communications Manager and offers intelligent call routing, contact management, integrated reporting, interactive voice response, and the ability to manage voice, email, web chat, and social media inquiries. Unified CCX includes Cisco Finesse, a browser-based, highly customizable desktop agent that requires no client-side installation. Advanced options include conditional routing, call-in-queue, expected-wait-time messages, and productivity optimization with workforce and quality management.
Cisco Unified Attendant Console Standard (Cisco Unified AC) communicates with Cisco Unified CM (but not CME) to allow phone operators to answer, transfer, hold, park, join, conference, and place outbound calls. Cisco Unified AC Standard replaces Cisco Unified Communications Manager Attendant Console and includes enhanced capabilities like logging into and out of hunt groups, automatic import of CUCM dial rules, personalized speed dial groups, the ability of operators to add individual contacts manually, directory search, and integration with Jabber Presence.
Cisco Expressway (Expy) offers users outside your firewall secure access to the collaboration services provided through Cisco Unified Communications Manager such as real-time video, voice, content, instant messaging, and Presence. By providing safe firewall and NAT traversal, Expressway extends collaboration to mobile and remote workers, people using third-party systems and endpoints, and workers at other companies. Offsite Jabber clients have single-sign-on access to all collaboration workloads without requiring a VPN client. Open standards supported include IPv4 to IPv6, H.323 to SIP, and Microsoft environments including Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
Cisco Expressway has two components, Expressway-C and Expressway-E, that work with your existing security tools and policies and require minimal firewall set up. Expressway traffic flows through your firewall rather than bypassing it. Expressway-C is located within your trusted network and acts as a traversal client for creating a secure connection to Expressway-E through the firewall. Expressway-C establishes a connection to Cisco Unified CM, provides native endpoint registrations, and allows Cisco TelePresence endpoints to work with compliant third-party video systems and with Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and Lync clients.
Expressway-E enables the traversal services that allow VPN-less connectivity with remote and home office users, business partners, and customers. Since it can be accessed from the untrusted external network, Expressway-E is located in the demilitarized zone (DMZ) at your network perimeter, where it acts as a traversal server to allow secure communications with Expressway-C. Communications to and from the Expressway-E server are controlled by your firewall's policies.
Cisco Expressway can be deployed on the Cisco Expressway CE1100 Appliance, which is based on the Cisco UCS C220 Server, or as a virtualized application under VMware. As many as six Expressway appliances and virtual machines can be deployed as a cluster for high availability and to increase capacity.
Cisco VoIP Infrastructure Solution for SIP and PSTN Gateways
Landlines and mobile phones utilize the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) for local and international calls, which creates the need for a voice gateway for a conventional Unified Communications Manager deployment. Cisco's ISR G2 routers accept TDM (time-division multiplexing) modules for routing calls to and from the PSTN at headquarters and at remote sites. An example would be using an ISR G2 3900 series router at headquarters and an ISR G2 2900 series router at a branch office.
For Unified CM deployments that use SIP trunks to connect to Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service providers, Cisco's ISR G2 routers can be enabled for CUBE (Cisco Unified Border Element) functionality, which allows control of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) services with registered external entities. CUBE is deployed in the DMZ so the firewall can inspect calls. Your dial plan determines whether Unified CM routes calls to a PSTN gateway, CUBE, or Cisco Expressway.
To learn more about Progent's consulting services for SIP trunks and the Cisco CUBE session border controller, see SIP and CUBE infrastructure solutions: SIP trunks and Cisco CUBE integration expertise. For more information about Progent's integration support for VoIP and IP video solutions, refer to Cisco VoIP infrastructure consulting and troubleshooting.
How Progent Can Help You Integrate and Troubleshoot Cisco Unified Communications Manager
Progent's CCIE-certified network infrastructure consultants can provide remote or onsite expertise to help you create and troubleshoot a modern communications solution based on Cisco Unified Communications Manager and associated applications and appliances. Progent can help you plan, install, configure and debug a CUCM deployment of any size, upgrade older products, migrate from a legacy PBX system, integrate cloud services, and train your IT staff.
Common examples of online consulting tasks provided by Progent to support Cisco Unified Communications Manager deployments include:
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