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Inside Cisco IT

Last week, I described what Cisco Unified Mobility is and what it does for me and the other thousands of employees at Cisco.  Today, let me tell you about the deployment process and what we learned.

Cisco IT Implementation

Cisco Unified Mobility requires our Cisco Unified Communications Managers to be on version 7.1 or above, and we started deploying the service soon after we’d upgraded to 7.1.  We deployed Cisco Unified Mobility in each of our 13 Cisco Unified Communications Manager clusters, rolling out the service on a site-by-site basis. This gradual transition process helped to smooth the impact of supporting users and the potential for spikes in outbound calls as employees began working with the SNR feature.  At first, we worried that a large number of calls going out to mobile phones from Cisco sites might overwhelm smaller outbound trunks, but so far we haven’t seen any problems there.  Also, our gradual site-based rollout made it easy to avoid countries that do not allow outbound calling from our private VoIP network to the PSTN (primarily in the Middle East, and in India).

One implementation decision may be a surprise:

For our internal deployment, we decided to restrict the outbound SNR calling capability to only a single remote destination for each employee. SNR supports as many as four remote destinations, but each call simultaneously occupies an outbound port until it is answered or transferred to the employee’s Cisco Unity voice mailbox. We were concerned that occupying this many ports would impact network bandwidth, especially in a disaster, given our large employee base and the potential SNR adoption rate. But because most employees prefer that calls are sent only to their mobile phones, this restriction hasn’t been a concern for them.  A user can change the remote destination at any time so the limitation really is not that restrictive.

Key Lessons Learned

Based on our experience, here are important lessons to keep in mind for deploying Cisco Unified Mobility:

Overall, deploying Cisco Unified Mobility features was easy.  Our employees appreciate that these mobility features provide the shortest path to reaching them by phone, wherever they are right now.

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