Exchanging live voice and video over Internet Protocol has advanced from simply being being a shrewd technique to reduce phone carrier bills to being an indispensable technology for productive collaboration. Unified IP communications, once limited to integrating Internet-based voice and faxes on one network platform in order to take the place of expensive PBX equipment, now incorporates VoIP and video, mobile communications, instant messaging, real-time presence, collaboration services, and more within a centralized framework that is manageable, scalable, protected, fault-tolerant, cost-effective, and user friendly.
Cisco is the leader in providing the hardware and software infrastructure for supporting the current paradigm of unified communications (UC). Cisco's unified communications product line enhances the productivity of information networks by slashing operational expenses; integrating multiple collaboration functions with popular software applications to improve user output; supporting teamwork among workers, associates, and vendors to save effort and improve business results; and streamlining the support of your converged voice and data ecosystem.
Cisco's Unified Communications technology include several primary product areas:,
Call and Session Processing Software - Unified Communications Manager/CallManager
Cisco's call-processing agent is the heart of Cisco's IP Communications solution and provides the versatility to implement a centralized call-processing design, a decentralized model, or a mix of the two. In a centralized approach, Unified Communications Manager (UC Manager or CUCM) expands corporate telephony capabilities to packet products such as VoIP phones, media processing devices, Voice over IP gateways, and multimedia programs throughout the IT environment. Cisco Unified Communications Manager supports extra mixed media functions including unified messaging, multimedia conferencing, and group-based client interaction networks.
The latest version of Unified CM, formerly known as CallManager, includes a wealth of enhancements that expedite your return on investment by lowering administrative and support costs, improving worker productivity, facilitating teamwork, accommodating the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) style of working, elevating data protection, and allowing efficient utilization of network infrastructure. Top innovations include automatic dial-plan replication, simplified certificate management, extended support for standards-based single sign-on for managers and users, device-agnostic call recording, mobile connectivity without requiring VPN, a revamped self-care interface that makes it easy for end users to specify their options and preferences for all endpoint devices, and support for Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol for mobile users.
When you implement a centralized Unified Communications Manager cluster to control call processing for customers at remote locations, administrators can help achieve continuous phone availability using Cisco SRST, a Cisco IOS Software image for routers. If a Wide Area Network link breaks, Cisco SRST incorporated in the router offers basic Cisco UC Manager capabilities until the connection is restored. For a description of Progent's consulting services for Cisco ISR routers, see consulting and troubleshooting support services for Cisco routers.
For small businesses, branch locations, and retail deployments that do not require the full feature set available from Unified CM, Unified Communications Manager Express, previously known as CallManager Express provides a budget-friendly solution that handles the requirements of sites with up to 450 users. Since Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CCX) is embedded in the Cisco IOS Software operating on a Cisco ISR router, smaller organizations can rapidly deploy a unified voice/data solution.
The Cisco BE6000 is a family of end-to-end platforms that provide fundamental collaboration features including routing, IP gateway, premium voice/video, messaging, instant messaging and real-time presence, conferencing, and paging support, enabling any user to connect on any device from any place. All solutions are shipped preloaded with virtualization and Unified Communications applications software, making implementation fast and easy and cutting cost of ownership for organizations with from 25 to 1000 workers. All BE6000 systems are delivered preconfigured with a virtualization hypervisor and Unified Communications applications. You can instantly activate collaboration applications whenever their requirements grow.
The office-in-a-box Business Edition 6000S supports five preselected collaboration applications preloaded on a single integrated 2921V router/IP gateway/virtualized E1600 M2 server device and can handle a maximum capacity of 150 users and 300 endpoint devices. The mid-market BE6000M supports 4 UC application options enabled on a virtualized C220 M4 server and supports a maximum capacity of 1000 users, 1200 devices, and 100 contact center agents. The top-of-the-line BE6000S includes 8 unified communications application options enabled on a single virtualized Cisco UCS C220 M4 server and supports as many as 1000 users, 2500 devices, and 100 contact center agents.
For more information about Progent's expertise with Unified Communications Manager, visit Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM or Unified CM) and Cisco CallManager planning, configuration, migration and technical support.
IP Phones: IP Voice and IP Video Phones
An IP communications endpoint is an end-user device, either a physical phone set or a software phone program on a PC or mobile computer. In the IP environment, every VoIP handset or soft phone is Ethernet connected. Voice over IP phones offer all of the functions that a conventional phone handset has, but IP phones often offer extra features such as being able to connect to websites or host business software.
Unlike conventional PBX systems, in a Cisco IP telephony network you can perform virtually instantaneous moves, adds, and modifications. You simply move the VoIP phone to its new location, attach it to the Ethernet connection, and the phone registers itself with Cisco Unified Communications Manager. All user permissions and settings are automatically re-established, eliminating the expense and delay of sending technicians to wiring closets. Another helpful capability is location independence, which enables you to log into any Cisco IP phone and receive your personal phone number and privileges.
Cisco provides a broad range of VoIP phones. The entry-level SPA 300 Series are no-frills IP and DECT screenless or monochrome phones offering wide-band voice, compatibility with hosted Internet Protocol phone environments or an IP private branch exchange, simple installation and highly secure remote installation, in-service software updates, and browser-based configuration. The low-end SPA301 is a single-line IP endpoint with no screen or speakerphone, a base dialer that has a single Ethernet connector, and a wired handset with no a keypad. The SPA302D, intended solely for use with the Cisco SPA232D Multi-Line DECT ATA, is a multiple-line wireless DECT handset that supports 10-lines, a TFT 176 x 220 color display, and a keypad with a speakerphone. The SPA303 is an entry-level 3-line SIP-based IP phone with dual switched ports, a 128x64 monochrome screen and a speakerphone.
Cisco's SPA500 Series VoIP phones are affordable devices that support SIP and SPCP call control protocols, two Ethernet switch ports, speakerphones, built-in web servers, Power over Ethernet (PoE), and conferencing capability. Most models have a 128 x 64 pixel mono screen display, The SPA501G IP Phone supports eight lines and has eight programmable keys but no LCD screen. The SPA502G VoIP phone supports a single line and has no programmable keys. The SPA504G VoIP phone supports four lines and has four programmable buttons. The SPA508G IP Phone supports eight lines and eight programmable keys. The SPA509G supports 12 lines and features 12 soft keys. The SPA512G VoIP phone supports four lines, no programmable buttons and supports 10/100/1000 Ethernet. The SPA514G supports four lines, has programmable buttons, and supports Gigabit Ethernet. The high-end SPA525G2 VoIP phone has a 320 x 240 color display, supports five lines, and includes five soft buttons.
Cisco's Unified IP Phones 3900 Series and 6900 Series are specialty IP voice endpoints intended for occasional-use environments like lobbies, 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 PoE. The simple Cisco Unified IP Phone 6901 is a one-line device without a display and requires a hook switch for transferring a call and conferencing.
The 7800 line of budget-priced IP phones are VoIP endpoints with backlit mono displays, four soft keys, 11 dedicated buttons, an Ethernet port with Class 1 Power over Ethernet, and an integral speakerphone. Cisco's 7800 Series VoIP phones support only the SIP signaling protocol. All models in the 7800 family incorporate the same advanced speakers and microphones as Cisco's 8800 Series IP phones to provide a state-of-the-art audio solution. Cisco's EnergyWise power-save feature, available on the higher end 7800 models, reduces after-hours energy consumption by as much as 60 percent. The Cisco IP Phone 7811 is a single-line VoIP phone intended for shared locations and for employees with occasional-to-light voice communications requirements. The IP 7811 VoIP phone comes with a 3.28-inch 384 x 106 screen plus a narrow-band speakerphone. Wideband audio is offered through an extra-cost handset. Cisco's IP Phone 7821 is a two-line VoIP endpoint with a 396 x 162 screen. The IP Phone 7841 is a four-line VoIP phone with a 396 x 162 screen and is the only model in the 7800 series that provides Gigabit Ethernet. The high-end IP Phone 7861 is a 16-line device intended for administrative staff, contact center agents, and managers who have heavy call needs.
Cisco Unified IP Phone 7900 Series are dual-protocol (SIP/SCCP) IP voice and video endpoints with a 320 x 240 pixel color screen, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, Class 3 Power over Ethernet, 10 dedicated keys and a speakerphone. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7945G is a two-line unit and the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7965G features four lines. Both VoIP phones have a 5-inch display and four programmable keys. The Cisco Unified IP Phone 7975G device is an eight-line media phone featuring a 5.6-inch touch screen and five soft keys.
Cisco's IP Phone 8800 Series is a line of SIP-only endpoints that includes desktop units, a conference phone, and wireless IP Phones. The desktop units are five-line IP phones featuring a 5-inch 800 x 480 screen, a Gigabit Ethernet switch, a speakerphone, four programmable buttons and 12 dedicated buttons. Cisco's IP Phone 8811 includes a backlit monochrome display and supports Class 2 PoE. Cisco's IP Phone 8841 features 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 Power over Ethernet. The Cisco IP Phone 8851 has a WVGA color screen and a USB connection 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 includes a WVGA color screen, Bluetooth, two USB connections with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, Wi-Fi, and Class 4 PoE. The Cisco IP Phone 8865 has a WVGA color screen, 720p HD video, a tiltable camera, Bluetooth, dual USB ports with charging capability, and supports Cisco Intelligent Proximity for Mobile Voice, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Class 4 Power over Ethernet.
Cisco's wireless VoIP phones are hardened wireless handsets designed for workers who are mobile within office, hospitality, health-care or other environments where IT management requires user endpoints that provide more administrative control, security and durability than is possible with the Bring-Your-Own-Device mode of workplace communications. Cisco's 8821 and 8812-EX wireless IP phones provide on-the-move on-premises workers the benefits of voice over wireless LAN communications in environments with 802.11x Wi-Fi. Cisco's 8821 Wireless VoIP Phone includes a hi-res color screen, a durable case designed for shock resistance and IP67 for particulate and moisture resistance, extended batteries, a built-in speakerphone, and an integrated Bluetooth 4.0 transceiver for hands-free operation with wireless headsets. Cisco's 8821-EX Wireless VoIP Phone adds spark suppression for use in potentially combustible work sites. The 8821-EX also features a shell made out of yellow plastics, which makes it easier to locate during an emergency. Find out about Progent's Wireless VoIP Phone integration support.
Cisco's discontinued 9900 line of advanced IP endpoints integrate high-quality voice with high-resolution color video to offer a productive collaborative UC experience for knowledge professionals, managers, and executives. Both IP phones in this line incorporate a Standard Definition 24-bit color screen, a Bluetooth radio to support a broad selection of headsets, and an integrated Gigabit Ethernet port. Cisco's Power Save function is optional and can lower off-work energy draw by up to 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 IP Phone 9971 features a 5.6-inch display, an integrated Wi-Fi transceiver for deployment with voice-over-wireless LAN networks, and 4 soft-label touchscreen keys to invoke Cisco Unified Communications features. The 9971 VoIP phone allows up to 3 IP Color Key Expansion Modules for adding scalability to customizable line and feature keys.
Unified Communications Application Software
Within Cisco's Unified Communications platform, IP voice, video, and other UC applications are physically independent from the call/voice processing infrastructure, and they may be at any location within the network. A cohesive network framework provides a versatile platform for feature-rich applications and acts as a solid foundation for future convergence-based applications. Cisco works with leading technology vendors to provide a wide range of IP telephony and IP video applications and devices. Cisco also supports the capability to develop and administer specialized internal applications.
UC application software available from Cisco and supported by Progent's consultants include:
Cisco Jabber is a unified communications client application that supports presence, IM, business-quality voice, high-definition video, voice messaging, screen sharing, and real-time conferencing functions for PCs, Macs, Apple and Android tablets as well as iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberries. Cisco Jabber is an evolution and integration of the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, Cisco Mobile, and Cisco WebEx Connect, with important enhancements to HD video capabilities and desktop screen sharing, and extending the collaboration experience to more platforms and devices. Cisco Jabber works with Unified Communications Manager for call management, Cisco Unified Presence for IM and presence, Cisco Unity Connection for voice messaging and automated attendant, and Cisco WebEx Meeting for conferencing.
Because Jabber is based on popular communication standards, it can interoperate with a broad selection of non-Cisco platforms. For instance, XMPP allows Cisco Jabber users to exchange instant messaging and presence data with a variety of XMPP clients such as Adium, Sametime, and Microsoft Lync and Office Communications Server. Jabber features can be accessed from Microsoft Office programs such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft SharePoint. This cross-platform support maximizes productivity by providing a common user environment and accommodating the BYOD paradigm of networking. Progent offers the expertise of Microsoft-certified Exchange and Outlook consultants and Microsoft SharePoint experts who can help you to use Jabber with Microsoft's premier collaboration platforms. Progent also can provide expertise with Apple iPhone integration and Android phone integration to help you to enhance the business value of your BYOD ecosystem.
Cisco WebEx Meeting Center
WebEX Meeting Center provides web and video conferencing for participants using a web browser or almost any desktop or mobile computer. Cisco WebEx Meeting Center is offered as SaaS through the Cisco WebEx Cloud. This makes it easy to roll out and expand, reduces the cost of administration, eliminates major up-front expenditures, features maximum uptime and enterprise-grade security, and provides consistently high performance. Key features include the ability to share discrete content or your entire screen with online participants in real time, the capability to incorporate rich media into presentations including PowerPoint and Flash animations, session recording plus editing and playback for future reference and training, single sign-on (SSO) and support for other Cisco collaboration applications such as Jabber and Cisco TelePresence, plus stringent data protection and encrypted access with strict policy management.
WebEX Meeting Center works with Windows, Apple Mac, and Linux-powered desktops and allows mobile users to initiate, calendarize, and take part in meetings on Android devices, iPhones and iPads, BlackBerry handhelds, and Windows Phone. You can also initiate web conferences instantly from Microsoft Office, Outlook, Lotus Notes, and a variety of IM solutions.
Cisco TelePresence Products for On-premises Teleconferencing Ecosystems
For medium-size organizations and larger enterprises who wish to create an in-house or hybrid in-house/cloud solution for teleconferencing, Cisco offers a selection of Cisco TelePresence software and equipment that deliver high-definition teleconferencing for users with virtually any IP endpoint at any location. Cisco TelePresence Server is a scalable video conferencing bridge that runs in conjunction with Cisco Unified CM to provide multiparty telepresence to converged environments and can expand conferences to support cloud-connected WebEx Meeting Center participants. Cisco TelePresence Conductor software simplifies management of the way video conferencing bandwidth and features should be rationed for each participant, enabling administrators to specify the precise service level and experience needed for every user. Cisco TelePresence Content Server collects video and presentations for real-time distribution as well as video on demand (VOD) playback.
Cisco Unity Connection and Unity Express for Converged Voicemail and Automated Attendant
The Cisco Unity Connection, an extension of Unified CM, is a converged voice messaging system that facilitates collaboration by offering a variety of options for accessing calls and messages within an environment that is simple to implement and administer. Unity Connection lets you access and manage voicemail messages from your email inbox, browser, Cisco Jabber messaging integration platform, a Cisco Unified VoIP Phone, a smartphone, or a tablet. Cisco Unity Connection also offers sophisticated speech-recognition features for hands and eyes free operation and powerful Automated Attendant functions that include intelligent routing for incoming phone calls and custom call-screening and message-alert settings. The Cisco Unity Connection system operates as a VM that can reside on a BE6000 server or a Cisco SRE 910 router service module and can support as many as 20,000 mailboxes per server.
Unity Express (CUE), offered in select Cisco Integrated Services routers, provides cost-effective voicemail, unified messaging, IVR, and greeting functions for small to medium businesses (SMBs) and corporate satellite locations with as many as 500 workers. Unity Express permits users to access and manage voicemail messages using a Cisco Unified IP Phone screen, your web browser, or an email client. Integrated Services Routers for which Unity Express is available as a network module include Cisco's 2800, 2900, 3800, and 3900 Series. Progent offers certified consulting and troubleshooting services for all Integrated Services Routers.
Unified Contact Center
Cisco Unified Contact Center Enterprise (Unified CCE or UCCE) integrates with Cisco CUCM and agent desktop software like Cisco Finesse to provide automatic call distribution (ACD) features that allow an organization to connect customers with the appropriate sales or service agent. Unified CCE features smart call routing, computer telephony integration, multichannel contact management, network-wide call queuing, interactive voice response and consolidated company-wide reporting to streamline the deployment and management of a large-scale contact center. Cisco products incorporated in Unified CCE's customer contact management solution include Cisco Unified IP Phones, Cisco Voice Gateways, and Cisco network infrastructure.
Unified Contact Center Express (CCX) offers a packaged bundle for creating a customer contact center for mid-scale deployments that handle up to 400 agents. Several bundles are offered, as well as a variety of optional enhancements. Unified Contact Center Express integrates with Cisco Unified Communications Manager and offers intelligent call routing, client management, reporting, interactive voice response, and management of voice, email, chat, and social media requests. Cisco Unified CCX comes with Cisco Finesse, a web-based desktop agent that requires no client-side installation. Optional advanced features include call-in-queue, expected-wait-time messages, and workforce quality management.
Cisco Mobile Connect and Single Number Reach (SNR)
Mobile Connect, commonly known as Single Number Reach (SNR), makes it possible for users to be called via a single number that rings simultaneously on their desktop VoIP Phone and their cell phone. Users can transfer live conversations between their Cisco VoIP phone and their smartphone seamlessly. Unanswered calls can be transferred to a Cisco Unity or Cisco Unity Connection voicemail account. Users can create their own access lists that determine which calls are extended to different phones.
Prime Collaboration provides an automated process for first-time deployments as well as for follow-on moves, additions, changes, and deletions. An intuitive console delivers a unified look at a user and the subscriber's services. Prime Collaboration Provisioning substantially speeds up site rollouts and minimizes the time needed to implement ongoing changes. Prime Collaboration in addition offers advanced analytics including application adoption and usage trends, allowing organizations to optimize IT resources and further reduce total cost of ownership.
Cisco Collaboration Gateways
Cisco's communications gateways allow Cisco converged communications environments to communicate with public systems and with users working beyond the corporate firewall. Cisco's portfolio of gateways provide unified communications support for all types of gateway and session-border-control deployments.
Communications gateways available from Cisco and supported by Progent include:
Cisco Expressway Converged Communication Gateway
Cisco's Expressway is a powerful unified communications and collaboration gatekeeper that enables companies to provide team members, suppliers, consumers, or business partners who are using various outside networks, collaboration platforms, or endpoint equipment to access to Unified Communication functions. The Expressway gateway integrates with an enterprise Cisco Communications Manager deployment or Cisco Business Edition 6000 (BE6000), or can be accessed via the cloud with Cisco HCS to help make collaboration more universal. Key capabilities of Expressway are are:
Cisco's Legacy UC520, UC540 and UC560 VoIP Phone Systems
The end-of-life Cisco Unified Communications 500 product line is an all-in-one VoIP communications solution for small organizations. UC500 packages provide voice, data, voicemail, auto attendant, IP video, security, and WiFi functionality, run with older Cisco IP Voice phones, and support various PSTN connections.
All UC500 series bundles include a compact switch with 8 Power-over-Ethernet ports plus additional FXS and FXO interfaces, a firewall, and VPN support. Built-in WiFi is optional. VoIP user capacity can be increased by connecting with Cisco Catalyst Express companion switches. Every UC500 offering also includes software licenses for Cisco Unified Communications Manager for VoIP call processing and Cisco Unity Express for voice messaging and automated attendant. The Cisco UC520 system supports 8 to 16 VoIP users and include 4 foreign exchange stations and 4 FXO ports. The Cisco UC540 system supports 24 to 32 users and provides 8 foreign exchange office ports. The Cisco UC560 system supports 48 users and 12 FXO interfaces.
Progent's Cisco-certified VoIP consultants can assist you to support your legacy UC500 VoIP gateway or design and implement an efficient migration to a modern IP telephony and voicemail system such as the Cisco Business Edition 4000.
How Progent Can Help You with Cisco VoIP and IP Media Phones, Cisco Unified CM, and Video Conferencing
Progent can provide remote or onsite help from a certified CCIE Collaboration specialist to assist you to design, deploy, manage and repair converged communications environments based on Cisco Unified Communication technology in a centralized, cloud-based, or hybrid environment. Progent's Cisco-certified engineers have extensive backgrounds with Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco CallManager, VoIP phones and other endpoints, Unified Communications applications like Cisco Jabber and Unity Connection, Cisco's immersive telepresence technologies, communication gateways, utilities incorporated into Cisco Catalyst switches and routers. Progent can also offer expertise with related technologies like Cisco SRST, Cisco Unified Border Element, H.323 and H.264 gateways, CAC, VoIP trunks, PSTN, and AVVID. Progent's SIP infrastructure consultants can in addition help you to create SIP connectivity environments that incorporate SIP VoIP phones and video endpoints, SIP trunks, SIP conferencing and SIP administration tools via Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
Progent's custom application programmers can create specialized unified communications applications that will enable your company to integrate the features of Cisco Unified Communications Manager into your company operations for increased productivity. Progent can analyze your current network and Internet connectivity architecture to determine whether your system is optimized to support high-quality VoIP and HD video, assist you to select and deploy Cisco hardware and software appropriate for your current needs and future growth goals, and integrate your Cisco Unified Communications products with products from other vendors. Progent's CISSP-ISSAP certified network security and compliance consultants can show you how to develop, carry out, and test a comprehensive security plan for your unified communications solution. In addition, Progent can help you to configure Cisco fault-tolerant technologies such as Cisco Unified Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) for cost-effective call control redundancy in branch office and home-office sites, and Progent's disaster recovery and business continuity preparedness consultants can help you create a sensible disaster recovery plan to protect your crucial communications system.
Cisco Unified Communications Manager/CallManager Upgrade Consulting
Versions of Unified Communications Manager 8.6 before 8.6 and all releases of its predecessor CallManager have reached end-of-life. Therefore Cisco Engineering will no longer develop, repair, or validate the product software. Security updates for this business-critical product will end, which in some circumstances could create compliance or legal liability issues.
Progent continues to provide premier support for outdated releases of Cisco Unified Communications Manager and Cisco CallManager, but in case your business is now using a legacy release of this essential application your organization should begin immediately to plan your upgrade. Progent's Cisco-certified consultants can help your company to upgrade smoothly to the latest version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager and can typically save clients as much as 50% off consulting fees versus most IT service firms thanks to Progent's documented procedures and experience in this area. By adhering to best practices, Progent can ensure that your company realizes a fast payback on your investment by showing you how to benefit fully from the new and improved feature set, lower administrative and support costs, more productive collaboration capabilities, and tighter security provided by the latest version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
Progent's upgrade services include return-on-investment analysis, project management, system testing and validation, Cloud connectivity, setting up collaboration endpoints from Cisco and third-party providers, mobile integration, security and compliance consulting, streamlined management, disaster recovery/business continuity planning, network infrastructure design, staff and user training, and ongoing consulting and technical support. Progent also has put together ultra-affordable upgrade packages to keep your costs predictable and affordable.
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