So I have recently completed an install of the fairly new Cisco UC500 for the SMB market. Previously the systems I had deployed were very basic, this was my first install where more ‘advanced’ features and more total features where required. The UC500 is designed to be an ‘all in one’ solution for businesses with less than 75 users. In the end it’s actually a router with phone system software and voice ports. All along through training and certification from Cisco, they taught me to use their Cisco Configuration Assistant (CCA) tool for configuration of the phone system. This is turns out was a huge issue because on my first install the customer wanted multiple rings as well as multiple incoming lines on individual phones.
Now I have pretty strong Cisco networking (routing, switching, and firwall) background with the majority of it being command line based. With any of the advanced features such as what we needed in this particular configuration, they need to be configured via the command line. Let me add to this, once configured via command line some of the commands cause the CCA to throw errors if you go back and try to configure anything from it. So my question is why did Cisco teach me (us) to use the CCA? One response to this question that I received from a TAC engineer is that “the SMB team created the tool and it still needed a lot of work and therefore the do not touch it.” Wait a minute support doesn’t use it and you want the customer deploying the phone system to use it?? Does this not make any sense to anyone else besides me?? Anyway I have since discovered through a lot of phone conversation with TAC that , there is in fact a web GUI that can be quite useful for configuration without the limitations of the CCA. This is what I will use going forward in conjunction with command line, I would highly recommend this as well as learning command line for anyone else attempting to deploy or configure a UC520. The only case in which I would recommend using the CCA is if you have a very simple deployment.
This is just my 2 cents on Cisco’s SMB phone system…