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Updated:August 16, 2007
Cisco® Unified Communications Solutions unify voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks, delivering a media-rich collaboration experience across business, government agency, and institutional workspaces. These applications use the network as the platform to enhance comparative advantage by accelerating decision time and reducing transaction time. The security, resilience, and scalability of the network help users in any workspace to easily connect every time, everywhere, using any media, device, or operating system. Cisco Unified Communications is part of a comprehensive solution that includes network infrastructure, security, wireless, management applications, lifecycle services, flexible deployment and outsourced management options, and third-party applications.
Cisco IP Communicator (Figure 1) is a Microsoft Windows-based application that delivers enhanced telephony support through personal computers. It is easy to deploy and features some of the latest technology and advancements available with IP communications today. This application endows computers with the functions of IP phones, providing high-quality voice calls on the road, in the office, or from wherever you can access the corporate network. Cisco IP Communicator supports Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as well as the Cisco Unified Communications Manager Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP).
Figure 1. Cisco IP Communicator
Cisco IP Communicator is designed for users who require a supplemental telephone when away from their desk or traveling or telecommuting. When using Cisco IP Communicator remotely, you are not just taking your office phone extension with you - you still have access to the same familiar phone and video telephony services you have in the office. This advantage boosts business collaboration and responsiveness, and helps organizations keep pace with today's mobile business environment.
Cisco IP Communicator works with Cisco Unified Video Advantage to bring video telephony to the communications experience. Now, telecommuters and mobile employees using Cisco IP Communicator can enhance their communications with video. When calls are made through Cisco IP Communicator, available video is automatically displayed through Cisco Unified Video Advantage. It is as easy as making a telephone call.
Cisco IP Communicator uses the Cisco Unified Communications Manager call-processing system to provide advanced telephony features and voice-over-IP (VoIP) capabilities. Access to eight telephone lines (or a combination of lines and direct access to telephony features) is included. When registered to the Cisco Unified Communications Manager system, Cisco IP Communicator has the capabilities of a full-featured Cisco Unified IP phone, including the ability to transfer calls, forward calls, and add participants to an existing conference call. As a result, system administrators can provision Cisco IP Communicator as they would any other Cisco Unified IP phone, greatly simplifying IP phone management. This solution also can help customers and developers deliver more innovative and productivity-enhancing Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based applications to the display.
Cisco IP Communicator Features
Cisco IP Communicator is intuitively designed and easy to use, and it delivers convenient access to a host of features:
• Eight line keys: These keys provide telephone lines and direct access to telephony features.
• Five softkeys: These keys dynamically give you call-feature options.
• Messages: This key provides direct access to your voicemail messages.
• Directories: Cisco IP Communicator identifies incoming messages and categorizes them on the screen, allowing you to return calls quickly and effectively using direct dial-back capability. The corporate directory integrates with the Lightweight Directory Access Protocol Version 3 (LDAP3) standard directory.
• Settings: This key allows you to select from a large number of ringer sounds and background images.
• Services: Cisco IP Communicator allows you to quickly access diverse information such as weather, stocks, quote of the day, or any other Web-based information. The phone uses XML to provide a portal to an ever-growing world of features and information.
• Help: The online Help feature gives you information about the phone keys, buttons, and features.
Cisco IP Communicator Modes
Cisco IP Communicator offers handset, headset, and high-quality speakerphone modes.
• Headset mode: In this mode, Cisco IP Communicator offers the highest-quality voice-communications capabilities.
• Handset mode: Cisco IP Communicator interoperates with third-party universal-serial-bus (USB) telephony handsets.
• Speakerphone mode: Cisco IP Communicator converts a computer into a full-duplex, hands-free speakerphone.
Cisco IP Communicator is a dynamic solution that is designed to grow with new system capabilities. System administrators can provision Cisco IP Communicator as they would any other Cisco Unified IP phone, greatly simplifying IP phone management. Numerous advanced call features are currently available, depending on the Cisco Unified Communications Manager system and setup, including:
• Support of multiple lines or directory numbers
• Configurable speed dials
• Calling name and number display
• Call Waiting
• Call Forward
• Call Transfer
• Three Way Calling (conference)
• Call Pickup
• Call Hold
• Call Back
• Extension Mobility
Cisco IP Communicator offers premium audio quality. Examples of audio features include:
• Audio tuning wizard
• Adaptive jitter buffer
• Echo cancellation and noise suppression
• Voice activity detection
• Packet-loss concealment
• Automatic gain control
• Windows generic quality-of-service (GQoS) support
• IP Precedence (differentiated services code point [DSCP]) audio priority
Additional Cisco IP Communicator Features
• More than 24 user-adjustable ring tones
• Auto-detection of Cisco VPN Client
• Automated support for most VPN clients (including Microsoft Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol [PPTP] client)
• Signaling authentication through transport layer security (TLS) when using Cisco Unified Communications Manager Version 4.1(3) SR4 or later
• Interoperability with Cisco Unified Video Advantage 2.0 or later for desktop video calls
• USB Human Interface Device (HID) support: Based on telephony device page (0x0B) supporting key-pad, hook-switch, and mute functions*
• Drag-and-drop dialing
• Copy-and-paste dialing
• Alphanumeric translation
• Nonintrusive call notification
• Keyboard shortcuts
• Non-MAC-based device name for easy PC refreshes (requires Cisco Unified Communications Manager 5.0 or later)
Figure 2 shows three different display options available for Cisco IP Communicator.
Figure 2. Cisco IP Communicator Display Options
Cisco IP Communicator includes the following network features:
• G.711a, G.711ų, G.729a, and G.729ab audio codecs
• Software updates supported using Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) or HTTP
• Provisioning of network parameters through Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP)
Minimum Computer Requirements for Use with Microsoft Windows 2000 or Windows XP
minimum requirements are based on Cisco IP Communicator running on a system that is not running other applications and services that are not part of the base operating system image. Administrators should take into account other applications on the workstation to determine whether the system configuration - the CPU speed and RAM in particular - can perform adequately with other applications running concurrently on the PC which could affect application performance.
• Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional (Service Pack 4) or Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)
• Pentium P4 1.0 GHz or equivalent (Pentium P4 1.5 GHz or higher recommended)
• 1 GB RAM
• 100-MB free disk space
• Non-ISA full-duplex sound card (integrated or PCI-based) or USB sound device
• 800 x 600 x 16-bit screen resolution; 1024 x 768 x 16-bit or better recommended
• 128-kbps network connection
Minimum Computer Requirements for Use with Microsoft Vista Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista:
A Microsoft Vista Premium Ready PC. For details about the minimum hardware requirements for Windows Vista (in addition to the requirements in this table), search for Premium Ready PC on the Microsoft website or see this URL:
• Performance scores of 3 or higher
– Hardware in computers running Microsoft Vista and Cisco IP Communicator using Cisco Unified Video Advantage must have a base score of 3 or higher. Run the performance tool by choosing Start > Control Panel and clicking Performance and Rating
– The subscores for Memory (RAM), Graphics, and Gaming Graphics must be 3 or higher.
Note: Cisco IP Communicator supports x86-based processors running a 32-bit OS; 64-bit OSs are not supported.
• Disk space:200 MB free disk space
• Memory: 1 GB RAM (see the software row in this table for the supported Vista OSs)
• A non-ISA full-duplex sound card (integrated or PCI-based) or USB sound device
• A 10/100 Mbps Ethernet network interface card
• SVGA video card
• 800 x 600 x16-bit screen resolution (1024 x 768 x 16-bit or better recommended)
• Cisco Unified Video Advantage 2.0 or later to enable video telephony
• Cisco Unified Communications Manager 4.1(3) SR4 and later versions
• Cisco Unified Communications Manager 5.0 and later versions when using Cisco IP Communicator with SIP call-control protocol
Table 1. Table 1. Ordering Information for Cisco IP Communicator and Cisco Unified Communications Manager
Cisco IP Communicator Software
Station User License for Cisco Unified Communications Manager 4.x
Station User License for Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express
Cisco Unified Communications Manager 5.0 and later customers should refer to the user license guide for more information about registering Cisco IP Communicator.
* With each order, you will receive a document confirming your Cisco IP Communicator purchase and notifying you of the location to download the software.
** Cisco IP Communicator requires the purchase of a phone technology license, regardless of call protocol being used.
Note: Not all features are supported with all versions of Cisco Unified Communications Manager. Please refer to your Cisco Unified Communications Manager release notes for more information about supported features.
Cisco Unified Communications Services
Cisco and its certified partners can help you deploy a secure, resilient Cisco Unified Communications solution, meeting aggressive deployment schedules and accelerating business advantage. Cisco' s portfolio of services is based on proven methodologies for unifying voice, video, data, and mobile applications on fixed and mobile networks.
Cisco's unique lifecycle approach to services defines the requisite activities at each phase of the solution lifecycle. Customized planning and design services focus on creating a solution that meets your business needs. Award-winning technical support increases operational efficiency. Remote-management services simplify day-to-day operations, and optimization services enhance solution performance as your business needs change.
As part of the Cisco Unified Communications System, Cisco IP Communicator helps organizations communicate more effectively and personally - strengthening the connections among employees, customers, and partners - and resulting in improved customer service and increased productivity and profitability.