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IP Telephony

What is it?

IP Telephony refers to the use of existing IP-based networks to carry voice traffic, rather than using a traditional, circuit-switched PBX system.  As such, IP Telephony is also sometimes used synonymously with the term Voice over IP (VoIP).

Uses

Cost reductions in data services such as Internet connections and developments in IP telephony devices and applications, have resulted in an increase in the uptake of IP Telephony in many industries. Feature-rich end devices and applications bring many uses for the technology including the following:

  • Software phones: allowing laptops to be used as part of the office telephony system and giving employees the ability to work from home
  • Staff phone and number portability within the organisation
  • Feature-rich call centre applications such as interactive, self-help menus for callers/customers
  • Video-conferencing

How it can help your business

Apart from the intangible benefits that may be derived from having unified communications, IP Telephony brings direct business benefits in two forms: cost reduction and productivity increases.  Some examples of these benefits are as follows:

  • Toll bypass: send calls between sites over the Internet/WAN, effectively bypassing long-distance charges
  • Reduce management costs: Maintain a single infrastructure and reduce administration costs associated with user adds/moves/deletions
  • Reduce call costs: when telecommuters and remote users use their laptop as phones and by using presence technology to reach people on the first attempt
  • Conferencing: Reduce conferencing costs by using in-house conferencing features on the IP Telephony system
  • Improved call centre efficiency: reduce head count and increase the number of serviced callers by providing self-help options
  • Integrate telephony into CRM applications for reduced client handling time
  • Streamline business processes by integrating different devices and communications applications

Solution Components

There are numerous IP telephony devices and applications available and a client-specific design will depend on many factors.  Given this, the diagram below has been provided to illustrate typical components of an IP telephony system.

Components

IP Phones Cisco Unified 7900 series IP phones provide voice communications over an IP network.
Soft Phones Cisco IP Communicator is a software-based application that provides PCs with the functionality of IP phones.
Call Processing Cisco Unified Communications Manager is the call-processing component located at the headquarters. This component manages calls amongst IP phones, media processing devices, VoIP gateways to the PSTN and multimedia applications.
Router The WAN routers shown above connect the different LANs making up the enterprise WAN.  Where call control and management functions are de-centralised, a voice router can be used at the smaller branch sites.  Cisco has integrated services routers that deliver the functional requirements of these branch offices: routing, switching, Cisco CallManager Express, voicemail and automated-attendant functions.
Media Management System Application used to manage what content is displayed on the endpoints.  The range of functionality is broad, but the application also typically allows control of playlists, schedules and layouts.

Products

Some of the products that we utilise include;

  • Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (CUCME)
    • formally Cisco CallManager Express (CME)
  • Cisco Unity Express (CUE)
  • Cisco Smart Business Communications System (SBCS)
    • Cisco Unified Communications 500 Series for Small Business
  • Cisco Unifed Communications Manager (CUCM)
    • formally Cisco CallManger (CCM)
  • Cisco Unified Presence (CUP)
  • Cisco Unity Connection (CUC)
  • Cisco Unity
  • Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS)
  • Microsoft Exchange Server 2007

 

 


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