Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CallManager)

Using the Meet-Me and Ad Hoc Conferencing Features

Document ID: 20048

Updated: Apr 29, 2009



This document describes the steps used to set up a Meet-Me Conference and the details of how to use it in Cisco CallManager 3.x and 4.x.



Cisco recommends you have knowledge of these topics:

Components Used

The information in this document is based on these software and hardware versions:

  • Cisco CallManager 3.x and 4.x

  • Cisco IP Phones 7910, 7940, 7960

The information in this document was created from the devices in a specific lab environment. All of the devices used in this document started with a cleared (default) configuration. If your network is live, make sure that you understand the potential impact of any command.


Refer to the Cisco Technical Tips Conventions for more information on document conventions.

Cisco CallManager Configuration

Complete these steps:

  1. In the Cisco CallManager Administration page, go to Feature and select Meet-Me Number/Pattern.


  2. Click on Add a New Meet-Me Number.


  3. Configure a directory number or a pattern.

    Do not assign this number or group of numbers to any other IP phones, CTI ports, route points or pilot point. The number needs to be unique.

  4. Click Insert.


Note: Cisco CallManager Software Conference Bridge supports only G.711 a-law and G.711 u-law and does not understand any other codec such as G.729. External callers cannot be added to the conference if they use a codec other than G.711. In order for calls that originate as G.729 to be connected with phones that use G.711, you need to use a transcoder.

How Conference is Used

How the Meet-Me Number is Used

In order to use the Meet-Me feature, go off-hook and press the Meet-Me button from your phone. Press the More softkey once in order to reach this Meet-Me. After you press the Meet-Me button, dial the conference number that you want to join. Everyone who dials the same Meet-Me number joins the conference together.

For example, some people decide to have a conference call at 17:00 hours and decide to use the conference number 1111 for the next thirty minutes. At 17:00, all the people who need to join this conference dial the Meet-Me number 1111. No one has to wait in order to be added to the conference. Also, when anyone drops out of the conference, the conference bridge still stays up.

How Ad Hoc Conference is Used

Unlike the Meet-Me conference, the ad hoc conference is started by an initiator and only the initiator of the conference can add people into the conference.

Initiate an Ad Hoc Conference Bridge

There are two methods to use in order to initiate ad hoc conferences:

  • Put a call on hold, dial another participant, and conference additional participants.

  • Join established calls by using the Select and Join softkeys.

Use the Conference Softkey for Ad Hoc Conference

The conference controller controls ad hoc conferences. When you initiate an ad hoc conference, Cisco CallManager considers you the conference controller. In an ad hoc conference, only a conference controller can add participants to a conference. If sufficient streams are available on the conference device, the conference controller can add up to the maximum number of participants that is specified for ad hoc conferences to the conference.

Configure the maximum number of participants for an ad hoc conference in Cisco CallManager Administration under Cisco CallManager Service Parameters Configuration by using the Maximum Ad Hoc Conference service parameter setting. The default value for this Clusterwide Service Parameter is 4. If you have more than 4 participants in the conference, you need to change the default value for this service parameter to allow all the participants to join the conference. Cisco CallManager supports multiple, concurrent ad hoc conferences on each line appearance of a device.

For example, phone 2001 dials 2002. The phones want to add 2003 into their conversation. 2001 presses the conference button confrn and dials 2003. When 2003 answers, the confrn button is pressed again in order to add 2002 and 2003 into the conference.

Conference by Using Join Softkey

The user initiates an ad hoc conference by using the Select and Join softkeys. During an established call, the user chooses conference participants by pressing the Select softkey and then the Join softkey. This makes it an ad hoc conference. Up to 15 established calls can be added to the ad hoc conference, for a total of 16 participants. Cisco CallManager treats the ad hoc conference the same way as one that is established by using the Conference softkey method.

Note: You cannot be the only person in an ad hoc conference.

Note: There must be either hardware or software conference resources available before you can use any conference features. By default, the Cisco CallManager has a software conference bridge configured that can be used. In order to configure a hardware conference bridge, refer to Configuring and Using a Hardware Conference Bridge with Cisco CallManager and a Catalyst 6000 WS-X6608 Port.

The Cisco Hardware Conference Bridge supports the Cisco Catalyst 4000 and 6000 Voice Gateway Modules and these conference sessions:

  • On the Cisco Catalyst 6000—In a G.711 conference, there are 32 available streams. Up to 10 conference sessions with three participants in each conference or one conference session with 32 participants.

  • On the Cisco Catalyst 4000—In a G.711 conference, only 24 conference participants are allowed. A maximum of four conferences with six participants each.

  • For the Cisco Software Conference Bridge—The maximum number of audio streams is 128. With 128 streams, a software conference media resource can handle 128 users in a single conference, or the software conference media resource can handle up to 42 conferencing resources with three users per conference.

Note: Although a single software conference bridge can run on the same server as the Cisco CallManager service, Cisco strongly recommends against this configuration. If you run a conference bridge on the same server as Cisco CallManager, service can adversely affect performance of the Cisco CallManager if all the participants are logged into the Meet-me and if you have a high telephony usage. You might need to consider installing the Cisco IP Voice Media Streaming Application on a separate server.

Ad Hoc Conference Settings

Cisco Unified CallManager Administration provides the Clusterwide Service Parameter, Drop Ad Hoc Conference, to allow the prevention of toll fraud (where an internal conference controller disconnects from the conference while outside callers remain connected). The service parameter settings specify conditions under which an ad hoc conference gets dropped.

Perform these steps to configure the Drop Ad Hoc Conference parameter:

  1. From Cisco Unified CallManager Administration, choose Service > Service Parameters. Choose the server from the server drop-down list box, and choose Cisco CallManager from the service drop-down list box.

  2. From the Drop Ad Hoc Conference drop-down list box, which is listed in the Clusterwide Parameters (Features - General) area of the window, choose one of these options:

    • Never: The conference is not dropped. (This is the default option.)

    • When No OnNet Parties Remain in the Conference: The system drops the active conference when the last on-network party in the conference hangs up or drops out of the conference. Cisco Unified CallManager releases all resources that are assigned to the conference.

    • When Conference Controller Leaves: The active conference terminates when the primary controller (conference creator) hangs up. Cisco Unified CallManager releases all resources that are assigned to the conference.

  3. Click Update.

Note: Cisco Unified CallManager does not support multiple options; that is, all conferences support the same functionality dependent upon the option that you choose.


When you attempt a conference call, you receive this error message: Maximum number of parties exceeded.

Error: Maximum Number of Parties Exceeded

In order to resolve this issue, you need to increase the number of current calls that you can have on one line:

  1. Go to System > Service > Service Parameters.

  2. Choose the server.

  3. Choose Cisco Call Manager as the service.

  4. Click Advanced.

  5. Choose Clusterwide Parameters (Service).

  6. Change the maximum number in the Maximum Ad Hoc Conference* parameter.

Related Information

Updated: Apr 29, 2009
Document ID: 20048