Exchanging live voice and video over Internet Protocol (VoIP and Video over IP) has advanced from simply being being a savvy means to reduce phone carrier bills to being an indispensable tool for productive collaboration. Unified communications, at one time limited to integrating Internet-based voice and faxes on a single system to take the place of traditional PBX systems, now encompasses voice and video, mobility, instant messaging, presence, collaboration services, and more all in a centralized framework that is manageable, extensible, highly secure, resilient, economical, and user friendly.
Cisco is the global leader in providing solutions required to support the modern model of unified communications (UC). Cisco's UC solution enhances the efficiency of information networks by cutting operating expenses; combining rich media functions with familiar software programs to increase user output; supporting teamwork among employees, associates, and suppliers to save effort and improve business results; and streamlining the management of your converged voice and data infrastructure.
Cisco's Unified Communications solutions address several important product categories:,
Call and Session Processing Agents - Unified Communications Manager/CallManager
Cisco's call-processing agent is the heart of the Cisco IP collaboration solution and provides the flexibility to deploy a central call-processing model, a decentralized design, or a combination of the two. In a centralized approach, Unified Communications Manager (UC Manager or CUCM) extends corporate telephony capabilities to packet telephony network devices such as IP handsets, media processing products, Voice over IP gateways, and mixed media programs across the IT environment. Cisco Unified Communications Manager supports additional mixed media functions including unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, and group-based client communication networks.
The most recent version of Cisco Unified CM, formerly named Cisco CallManager, offers a variety of enhancements that speed up ROI by cutting administrative and support expenses, improving worker output, enhancing teamwork, accommodating the BYOD model of working, strengthening security, and making optimal use of network resources. Headline new features include Global Dial Plan Replication (GDPR), streamlined certificate control, extended support for single sign-on (SSO) for administrators and end users, hardware-agnostic call recording, on-the-road connectivity without the need for VPN, a new self-provisioning interface that makes it simple for end users to manage their preferences for all of their endpoints, and support for Transport Layer Security for mobile users.
When you deploy a central Unified Communications Manager cluster to control call processing for users at remote locations, administrators can help ensure continuous call availability through Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony, an IOS Software image for Cisco routers. If a WAN connection breaks, Cisco Survivable Remote Site Telephony incorporated in the router provides basic Cisco Unified Communications Manager functions until the connection is restored. For a description of Progent's consulting support services for Cisco ISR routers, refer to consulting support for Cisco routers.
For small business networks, branch locations, and retail deployments that do not need the complete feature set available from Unified CM, Unified Communications Manager Express, formerly known as CallManager Express provides an economical PBX alternative that handles the requirements of locations with up to 450 workers. Because Unified Communications Manager Express Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CCX) is embedded in the Cisco IOS Software running on a Cisco router, smaller organizations can rapidly set up a unified voice and data environment.
The Cisco BE6000 is a family of complete solutions that offer fundamental unified communications capabilities including routing, gateway, high definition voice/video, messaging, instant messaging and presence, teleconferencing, and paging services, allowing any end user to collaborate on any endpoint from any location. All BE6000 versions are delivered preinstalled with virtualization and Unified Communications applications software, making deployment fast and simple and reducing operating expenses for companies with as many as 1000 workers. All systems are shipped preinstalled with virtualization and collaboration applications. You can instantly enable collaboration software applications whenever their needs evolve.
The small-scale Business Edition 6000S includes five preselected unified communications software applications preloaded on one combination 2921V ISR router/gateway/virtualized blade server device and can handle as many as 150 workers and 300 endpoint devices. The medium-scale Business Edition 6000M supports 4 unified communications application options enabled on a single virtualized Cisco C220 M4 server platform and supports as many as 1000 workers, 1200 devices, and 100 contact center agents. The high-end BE6000S includes eight collaboration software application options enabled on a single virtualized Cisco UCS C220 M4 server platform and supports as many as 1000 workers, 2500 endpoint devices, and 100 contact center agents.
For additional details about Progent's support for Unified Communications Manager (CallManager), visit Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and CallManager design, integration, migration and technical support.
Cisco IP Phones: IP Voice and IP Video Phones
A collaboration endpoint is a user instrument, either a hardware handset or a soft phone program that runs on a desktop or handheld computer. In the IP environment, every IP endpoint has an Ethernet connection. IP phones offer all of the capabilities that an ordinary phone has, but IP phones often have extra functions such as being able to connect to websites or host productivity-enhancing software.
In contrast to conventional Private Branch Exchange technology, in a Cisco IP phone network you can perform almost instant moves, additions, and modifications. All you do is take the VoIP handset to its new location, attach it to an Ethernet jack, and the IP phone registers itself with Cisco Unified Communications Manager. All user permissions and configurations are programmatically re-established, eliminating the cost and hassle of sending technicians to rewire connections. An additional efficient capability is extension mobility, which allows you to log into any Cisco IP phone and receive your own phone number and privileges.
Cisco provides a broad range of VoIP hardware endpoints. Cisco's low-cost SPA 300 family are no-frills IP and Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) screenless or monochrome devices offering high-quality audio, support for hosted Internet Protocol phone systems or an IP private branch exchange (PBX), easy installation and safe remote installation, unobtrusive software updates, and web-based configuration. The low-end SPA301 is a one-line IP phone with no display or speakerphone function, a base dialer that has one Ethernet connector, and a corded handset without a keypad. The SPA302D, intended solely for use with Cisco's SPA232D Multi-Line DECT Analog Telephone Adapter, is a multiline wireless Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications handset that offers 10-lines, a TFT 176 x 220 color screen, and a keypad with speakerphone capability. The SPA303 is an economical 3-line IP phone with two Ethernet ports, a 128x64 monochrome graphical display and a speaker.
The SPA500 Series VoIP phones are affordable endpoints that support both SIP and SPCP call control protocols, two switch ports, speakerphones, built-in web servers, Power over Ethernet (PoE), and conferencing support. Most versions have a 128 x 64 pixel monochrome screen display, The SPA501G IP Phone supports eight lines and has eight programmable keys but no LCD screen. The SPA502G IP Phone supports a single line and has no programmable keys. The SPA504G has four lines and has four soft keys. The SPA508G VoIP phone supports eight lines and eight programmable keys. The SPA509G VoIP phone supports 12 lines and features 12 programmable keys. The SPA512G IP Phone supports four lines, no soft buttons and supports Gigabit Ethernet. The SPA514G VoIP phone supports four lines, has soft keys, and supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet. The top-of-the-line SPA525G2 IP Phone has a 320 x 240 color display, supports five lines, and includes five soft keys.
Cisco's Unified IP Phones 3900 Series and IP Phones 6900 Series are specialty VoIP devices intended for infrequent-use environments like cafeterias, elevators, and conference facilities. Cisco's Unified SIP Phone 3905 IP Phone features a 128 x 32 pixel mono non-backlit display, a 10/100 Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, and Power over Ethernet. The simple Cisco Unified IP Phone 6901 is a single-line endpoint without a screen and uses a hook switch for call transfer and joining a conference.
The 7800 Series of economical IP phones are VoIP desktop devices with backlit mono displays, four soft buttons, 11 dedicated buttons, an integral Ethernet port with Power over Ethernet, and an integral speakerphone. Cisco's 7800 Series IP Phones support only the SIP signaling protocol. All devices in Cisco's 7800 Series incorporate the same high-fidelity speakers and microphones as Cisco's 8800 Series IP phones to provide a state-of-the-art audio experience. Cisco's EnergyWise power-save feature, offered on the advanced 7800 units, cuts off-hours energy consumption by up to 60 percent. The Cisco IP Phone 7811 is a single-line VoIP phone designed for common areas as well as for employees with occasional-to-light voice communications needs. The IP 7811 comes with a 3.28-inch 384 x 106 display and a narrow-band speakerphone. Wideband audio is available via an optional handset. Cisco's IP Phone 7821 is a dual-line VoIP endpoint with a 396 x 162 screen. The IP Phone 7841 is a four-line VoIP phone with a 396 x 162 display and is the only device in the 7800 line that provides Gigabit Ethernet. The top-of-the-line IP Phone 7861 VoIP phone is a 16-line endpoint intended for administrators, call center agents, and supervisors who have heavy voice communications needs.
The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series are SIP and SCCP media endpoints with a 320 x 240 pixel color display, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, Class 3 Power over Ethernet (PoE), 10 dedicated keys and a speakerphone. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7945G is a dual-line unit and the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G supports four lines. Both IP phones include a 5-inch display and four programmable keys. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G unit is an eight-line media phone featuring a 5.6-inch touch screen and five programmable keys.
Cisco's IP Phone 8800 Series is a family of SIP-only endpoints that features desktop devices, a conference IP phone, and wireless IP Phones. The desktop models are five-line IP phones with a 5-inch 800 x 480 pixel display, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, four programmable keys and 12 fixed-feature keys. The Cisco IP Phone 8811 features a monochrome screen and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet (PoE). Cisco's IP Phone 8841 has a WVGA color screen and supports Class 2 Power over Ethernet. Cisco's IP Phone 8845 has a WVGA color display, 720p HD video, a tiltable camera, Bluetooth, Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, and supports Class 2 PoE. The Cisco IP Phone 8851 features a WVGA color display and one USB port with charging capability, supports Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice and Class 3 Power over Ethernet, and is available in Bluetooth and non-Bluetooth models. Cisco's IP Phone 8861 has a WVGA color display, Bluetooth, two USB ports with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, Wi-Fi, and Class 4 Power over Ethernet. The Cisco IP Phone 8865 has a WVGA color display, 720p HD video, a tiltable camera, Bluetooth, dual USB connections with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Class 4 Power over Ethernet.
Cisco's wireless IP phones are hardened wireless handsets intended for professionals who are mobile within office, hospitality, health-care or other venues where management wants user endpoints that provide more control, data security and ruggedness than is achievable with the Bring-Your-Own-Device style of workplace communications. Cisco's 8821 and 8812-EX wireless VoIP phones offer on-the-move on-premises users the advantages of voice over wireless LAN (VoWLAN) communications in environments that support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi. Cisco's 8821 Wireless IP Phone features a 2.4 inch color display, a durable case rated Mil-SPEC 810G for shock resistance and IP67 for dust and splash resistance, extended batteries, a built-in full-duplex speakerphone, and an integrated Bluetooth radio to support wireless headsets. The 8821-EX Wireless VoIP Phone adds anti-sparking protection for hazardous work sites. The 8821-EX also has a case made of yellow plastics, which makes it easy to locate in a crisis. Learn about Progent's Wireless VoIP Phone integration consultants.
Cisco's legacy 9900 line of advanced VoIP phones combine high-quality voice with hi-res color displays to provide a rich collaborative unified communications solution for knowledge professionals, managers, and executives. The two models in the 9900 line feature a Standard Definition VGA color display, a Bluetooth 2.0 radio to support a wide choice of headsets, and a built-in 1 GE Ethernet port. The Cisco EnergyWise power-save feature is offered as an option and can cut off-hour power use by as much as 90 percent. The IP Phone 9951 features a 5-inch display and supports up to 2 IP Expansion Modules for adding customizable line and feature keys. The Cisco IP Phone 9971 features a 5.6-inch screen, a built-in Wi-Fi radio for connecting to wireless networks, and four soft-label programmable touchscreen keys to access Cisco UC features. The 9971 IP phone supports up to 3 IP Expansion Modules for adding programmable line and feature keys.
Unified Communications Application Software
Within Cisco's Unified Communications platform, IP phone, IP video, and other UC applications are separate from the call-processing and voice-processing infrastructure, and they may reside anywhere within the system. A cohesive network framework offers a versatile environment for powerful business applications and provides a solid foundation for future convergence-based applications. Cisco works with leading IT industry vendors to provide a broad selection of IP voice and IP video software applications and devices. Cisco also supports the capability to create and administer customized in-house applications.
UC application software available from Cisco and supported by Progent's consultants include:
Cisco Jabber is a UC client application that supports presence, IM, voice, high-definition video, voicemail, screen sharing, and online conferencing features for Windows PCs, Apple Macs, Apple and Android tablets and iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberries. Cisco Jabber is an evolution and combination of the Unified Personal Communicator, Cisco Mobile, and WebEx Connect, with significant improvements in the areas of HD video features and desktop sharing, and expanding the collaboration experience to additional operating systems and devices. Jabber works with Unified CM for call management, Cisco Unified Presence for IM and presence, Cisco Unity Connection for voice messaging and programmable attendant, and WebEX Meeting for conferencing.
Because Cisco Jabber utilizes key communication standards, it can interoperate with a broad selection of non-Cisco platforms. As an example, Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol allows Cisco Jabber users to exchange IM and presence data with a variety of XMPP clients including as Adium, IBM Sametime, and Microsoft Lync. Cisco Jabber collaboration features are available from Microsoft Office programs including Outlook and SharePoint. This extensive platform compatibility maximizes output by providing a consistent user environment and accommodating the BYOD paradigm of networking. Progent can provide the services of certified Exchange consultants and SharePoint application developers who can help you to use Jabber with Microsoft's powerful collaboration platforms. Progent also offers help with Apple iPhone and iPad integration as well as Android phone and tablet integration to assist your organization to increase the productivity of your BYOD environment.
WebEX Meeting Center
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center provides online meetings for participants using a web browser or virtually any PC or handheld computer. Cisco WebEx is offered as software as a service (SaaS) via the Cisco WebEx Cloud. This makes it simple to deploy and scale, streamlines management, eliminates high up-front investment, offers high availability and enterprise-class data protection, and provides consistently high performance. Key features include support for sharing specific content or an whole screen with online attendees in real time, the ability to add rich media into your presentations including PowerPoint and Flash animations, session recording plus playback for training and demonstrations, single sign-on (SSO) and integration with other Cisco collaboration products such as Jabber and TelePresence, plus stringent data privacy and encrypted access with strict policy management.
WebEX Meeting Center works with Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux-powered PCs and allows mobile users to launch, calendarize, and take part in meetings on Android devices, Apple iPhones and iPads, BlackBerry phones, and Windows Phone. Users can also initiate online meetings instantly from Microsoft Office, Microsoft Outlook, Notes, and a selection of instant messaging applications.
Cisco TelePresence Portfolio for On-premises Video Conferencing Infrastructure
For midsize organizations and larger enterprises who wish to build a local or hybrid on-premises/cloud environment for video conferencing, Cisco offers a portfolio of Cisco TelePresence products that deliver high-quality video conferencing for participants with virtually any endpoint device at any site. Cisco TelePresence Server is an expandable teleconferencing bridge that works with Cisco Unified CM to provide multiparty video, audio and content sharing to UC deployments and can extend meetings to support cloud-based Cisco WebEx Meeting Center participants. Cisco TelePresence Conductor software streamlines the control of the way conferencing bandwidth and features are allocated for each participant, enabling administrators to specify the precise service level and experience needed for every user. Cisco TelePresence Content Server captures video and presentations for live distribution as well as video on demand viewing.
Cisco Unity Connection and Unity Express for Unified Voicemail and Automated Attendant
Cisco's Unity Connection, an integrated extension of Unified CM, is a unified voice messaging solution that promotes collaboration by providing a variety of alternatives for accessing voice messages within a framework that is simple to implement and administer. Cisco Unity Connection allows you to read and manage your voicemail messages from your email inbox, browser, Cisco Jabber, a Cisco Unified VoIP Phone, an iPhone or other smartphone, or an iPad or tablet. Cisco Unity Connection also provides advanced speech-recognition features for hands and eyes free operation and extensive Automated Attendant capabilities such as smart routing for inbound calls and easily customizable call-screening and message-alert options. The Cisco Unity Connection platform operates as a virtual machine that can be hosted on a Business Edition 6000 server or a Cisco SRE 910 router service module and can accommodate as many as 20,000 voice mailboxes per server.
Cisco Unity Express (CUE), available in certain Cisco ISR routers, provides affordable voicemail, integrated messaging, interactive voice response, and greeting functions for small to medium businesses and corporate satellite locations with as many as 500 workers. Unity Express permits users to access and manage voicemail messages using a Cisco IP Phone display, your web browser, or your email client. ISR Routers for which Cisco Unity Express is offered as a network module or advanced integration module include Cisco's 2800, 2900, and 3900 families. Progent can provide comprehensive consulting and troubleshooting services for Cisco routers.
Unified Contact Center
Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE or UCCE) works with Unified CM and agent desktop software like Finesse to provide automatic call distribution (ACD) features that allow an organization to connect customers with the appropriate sales or service agent. UCCE offers smart call routing, computer telephony integration (CTI), support for multichannel customer contact management, network call queuing, IVR and advanced company-wide reporting to streamline the deployment and management of a large-scale contact center. Cisco platforms incorporated in UCCE's customer contact management solution include Unified IP Phones, Voice, and Cisco LAN/WAN technology.
Cisco Unified Contact Center Express (Unified CCX) provides a packaged bundle for building a customer interaction management center for branch or midmarket deployments that support as many as 400 agents. Several bundles are available, plus a selection of optional advanced features. Unified CCX integrates with CUCM and provides smart call routing, contact interaction management, reporting, interactive voice response, and management of voice, email, chat, and social media requests. Cisco Unified Contact Center Express comes with Cisco Finesse, a web-based customizable desktop agent that needs no client installation. Optional advanced features include conditional routing, projected-wait-time messages, and quality management.
Cisco Mobile Connect for Single Number Reach (SNR)
Mobile Connect, popularly referred to as Single Number Reach (SNR), makes it possible for users to be called from one phone number that rings at the same time on their Cisco IP Phone and their mobile phone. Users can transfer active conversations between their Cisco VoIP phone and their mobile phone seamlessly. Calls that are not answered can be transferred to a Unity or Cisco Unity Connection voicemail account. Users can create their own access lists that determine which calls get extended to alternate endpoints.
Prime Collaboration Provisioning
Prime Collaboration Provisioning offers an automated process for initial deployments as well as for “day 2” moves, adds, changes, and deletions. A user-friendly console provides a unified look at a subscriber and the subscriber's services. Cisco Prime Collaboration significantly accelerates company-wide installations and minimizes the effort needed for ongoing updates. Prime Collaboration also provides advanced analytics including technology adoption and usage trends, enabling administrators to make more efficient use of IT resources and further lower total cost of ownership.
Cisco Communications Gateways
Cisco's collaboration gateways allow Cisco Unified Communications networks to communicate with other networks and with users working beyond the firewall. Cisco's portfolio of gateways provide unified communications support for a wide variety of gateway as well as session-border-control deployments.
Communications gateways available from Cisco and supported by Progent include:
Expressway Communication Gateway
Cisco's Expressway is an advanced converged media gateway that allows organizations to provide employees, vendors, consumers, or business partners who are using various outside network environments, collaboration platforms, or endpoint equipment to connect to Cisco Unified Communication features. Cisco's Expressway gateway works with a Cisco CM system or Cisco BE6000, or can be run via the cloud with Cisco HCS to make collaboration more pervasive. Key capabilities of Expressway are include:
Cisco's End-of-Life UC520, UC540 and UC560 VoIP Phone Systems
The end-of-life Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series is an early VoIP communications system for small businesses. UC500 packages provide voice, data, voicemail, automated attendant, video, firewall, and WiFi functionality, run with older generation Cisco VoIP endpoints, and support various public switched telephone network (PSTN) interfaces.
All of Cisco's UC500 packages include a compact switch with 8 Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) ports and additional FXS and FXO interfaces, a firewall, and VPN support. Built-in WiFi is an option. User capacity can be expanded by attaching Cisco Catalyst Express companion switches. Each UC500 model also comes with licenses for Cisco Unified Communications Manager for VoIP call processing and Cisco Unity Express for voice messaging and automated attendant. The Cisco UC520 package supports 8 to 16 users and include 4 FXS and 4 FXO ports. The Cisco UC540 package allows 24 to 32 users and has 8 foreign exchange office ports. The Cisco UC560 system allows 48 users and 12 FXO interfaces.
Progent's seasoned VoIP experts can assist you to maintain your legacy UC500 VoIP system or plan and carry out an efficient upgrade to a current VoIP system such as Cisco's cloud-managed Business Edition 4000.
How Progent Can Help You with Cisco IP Voice and IP Media Phones, Cisco Unified CM, and Video Conferencing
Progent can provide remote or on-premises help from a certified CCIE Collaboration expert to assist you to plan, implement, administer and repair unified communications environments based on Cisco Unified Communication technology in a centralized, cloud-based, or hybrid environment. Progent's Cisco engineers have extensive experience integrating Unified Communications Manager and CallManager, IP voice and video phones and soft phones, UC applications such as Jabber and WebEx Meeting Center, Cisco's immersive telepresence technologies, communication gatekeepers, tools incorporated into Cisco switches and routers. Progent can also offer support for related technologies such as Cisco SRST, CUBE, H.323 gateways, CAC, IP voice trunks, various signaling protocols, and Cisco's architecture for voice, video and integrated data. Progent's SIP integration consultants can in addition help you to build SIP infrastructure environments that incorporate SIP VoIP phones and video endpoints, SIP trunks, SIP conferencing and SIP management tools with CUCM.
Progent's application programmers can create specialized IP telephony software that will enable your company to integrate the features of Cisco Unified Communications Manager into your business processes for enhanced productivity. Progent can audit your existing network and Internet connectivity infrastructure to make sure your environment is configured to accommodate high-quality Voice over IP and high-definition video, help you to choose and integrate Cisco products appropriate for your present needs and future growth goals, and interface your Cisco Unified Communications solution with products from other vendors. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified data security and compliance consultants can assist you to develop, carry out, and validate an enterprise-wide security plan for your converged communications solution. Also, Progent can help you to configure Cisco high-availability technologies like Cisco Unified SRST to provide cost-effective call control backup in branch office and home-office environments, and Progent's disaster recovery planning experts can help you develop a sensible disaster recovery plan to protect your crucial communications environment.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager/CallManager Upgrade Consulting
Releases of Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8.6 lower than 8.6 and all versions of CallManager have reached end-of-life. Therefore Cisco will cease to develop, repair, or test this older software. Security patches for this pivotal application will end, which in some situations could cause compliance or even potential liability problems.
Progent will continue to provide comprehensive consulting and troubleshooting support for outdated versions of Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco CallManager, but if you are now running an out-of-dated release of this pivotal software you should begin now to prepare for your migration. Progent's Cisco-certified consulting professionals can help you to upgrade non-disruptively to the current edition of Unified CM and can routinely save clients as much as 50% off consulting service fees compared to most computer service firms because of Progent's documented process and experience in this area. By adhering to best practices, Progent can ensure that your business realizes a fast payback on your investment by helping you benefit fully from the new and improved features, lower management and maintenance costs, more engaging collaboration capabilities, and tighter data protection offered by the newest release of Unified Communications Manager.
Progent's migration services include return-on-investment assessment, project management or co-management, pilot testing and validation, Cloud integration, configuring collaboration endpoints from Cisco and third-party vendors, mobile connectivity, security and compliance services, management automation, business continuity planning, network topology design, training, and ongoing consulting and troubleshooting. Progent also offers fixed-priced migration service bundles to make sure your costs are predictable and under control.
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