The Role of CME in Cisco Unified Communications

The Role of CME in Cisco Unified Communications

Cisco Call Manager

Cisco routers are commonly used to perform functions like routing protocols, routing tables, Network Address Translation (NAT), security with access lists and many more. But did you know that the Cisco routers can also support your IP telephony network?  All Cisco Integrated Service Routers (ISR) not only route data, but are also capable to terminate analog and digital voice circuits, supports VoIP endpoints, video telephony, conference calling, and automatic call distribution (ACD). Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (CME) is the feature that supports IP telephony in Cisco ISR routers. Depending on the router you use, CME can support up to 450 IP Phones.

CME Supported ISR G2 Platforms


Max. Phone

Cisco 2901 ISR G2


Cisco 2911 ISR G2


Cisco 2921 ISR G2


Cisco 2951 ISR G2


Cisco 3925 ISR G2


Cisco 3945 ISR G2


Cisco 3925E ISR G2


Cisco 3945E ISR G2


CME Key Features

CME only runs on a Cisco router, it is the all-in-one device that has the unique features for controlling Cisco IP Phones and connecting to the public switched telephone network (PSTN). The following are the key features offered by CME:

Call processing and device control: CME acts as the all-in-one call control device. It handles the call routing, call features, call termination and signaling to the endpoints.

Command-line configuration: CME is directly integrated into the IOS that gives you the full flexibility of configuration from the command-line. GUI utilities like the Cisco Configuration Professional (CCP) can also be used to interface with a single click style of configuration.

Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) support: CTI allows the IP Telephony network to integrate with the applications running on the data network. You will be able to make calls directly from your Outlook’s contact list with the Cisco Unified Call Connector.

Local directory service: The CME router can store a local database of users you can use for authentication in the IP Telephony (IPT) network.

Direct integration with Cisco Unity Express (CUE): To run Cisco Unity Express, you need to install a module in the Cisco router. CUE provides voicemail services to the IP Phones supported by CME.

Trunking to other VoIP systems: CME can function as a standalone device connecting directly with the PSTN. It can be integrated with other VoIP networks. You can deploy CME for a small office of up to 40-user and have it connected directly with your data network to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) cluster of servers supported corporate headquarters.


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