Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cisco Unified CallManager Express

The transition to voice over IP is in full swing, and you should have a migration plan to phase out conventional PBX systems with their growing maintenance costs. By 2009, 90 percent of businesses are expected to use some form of IP telephony, according to Synergy Research. Branch offices and small businesses planning to be part of that migration should consider Cisco Unified CallManager Express (CME) 4.0, a router-based IP communications suite.

New features and functionality in Cisco's latest version put it in a much more competitive position. These features include softphone support, remote phones and-- coolest of all--SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking, which lets you connect your router to a SIP provider and replace your digital T1s and analog FXO ports with an IP dialtone. Although industry support for SIP trunk service is still nascent, this technology will change the way we connect our PBXs to the rest of the world.

Companies have many alternatives for IP telephony. Appliance-like IP PBXs are available from at least a dozen vendors. Other options include large-scale centralized systems, managed service offerings, and even do-it-yourself systems based on open source. Cisco takes a different path--its offering runs right on your branch office router, as a primary or backup telephony system supporting up to 240 users. It scales down into the smaller branch or autonomous small office, remaining competitive as a standalone solution down to about 15 to 20 users.

Where To Find CME

Unified CME, an integral part of Cisco's IOS router software version 12.4 (4), is supported on a broad range of Cisco routers. New routers can be purchased with a CME license bundle, or CME can be installed on existing routers through a software upgrade--but you'll need to purchase an appropriate license based on the number of users you're planning to support.

  • 1