Cisco Video and TelePresence Architecture Design Guide
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Table Of Contents



Revised: March 30, 2012, OL-27011-01


This document focuses on the two-way interactive video solutions available from Cisco, including Cisco TelePresence and Cisco Unified Communications, and it provides an explanation of the overall solution, technology components, and deployment considerations. With the TelePresence and Unified Communications product families, Cisco offers a wide range of video solutions from interactive video applications for large boardrooms down to mobile users. Cisco also offers a comprehensive set of one-way video applications such as streaming video, digital signage, video surveillance, and even media transformation, which are not covered in this document.

Each solution, Cisco TelePresence or Cisco Unified Communications, can be deployed as a standalone solution or together as an integrated solution. Figure 1-1 illustrates an example of a video architecture that supports both TelePresence and Unified Communications video endpoints. This specific example also shows access to the PSTN for voice calls, ISDN for legacy video, and the Internet-based video device.

Figure 1-1 Cisco TelePresence and Unified Communications Video Architecture

This architecture incorporates the endpoints and infrastructure components listed in Table 1-1 and Table 1-2, respectively.

Table 1-1 Current Cisco TelePresence and Unified Communications Video Endpoints 


TelePresence - Immersive

TX9000 Series

CTS 3000 Series

CTS T Series

TX1300 Series

TelePresence - Multipurpose

CTS MX Series

CTS Profile MXP Series

CTS Profile Series

TelePresence - Desktop

CTS EX Series

CTS MXP Series

TelePresence -Office

CTS 1100

CTS 500

TelePresence - Personal

Cisco Jabber Video for TelePresence (Movi)

TelePresence - Video phone


Unified Communications - Video phone

Cisco Unified IP Phones 9900 Series

Unified Communications - Desktop

Cisco Unified Personal Communicator

Cisco Jabber

Unified Communications - Tablet


Table 1-2 Cisco Video Infrastructure Products 

Product Name
Product Category

Call Control

Cisco Unified Communications Manager

Unified Communications and TelePresence

Call control for Unified Communications and TelePresence devices

Cisco TelePresence Video Communications Server


Call control for TelePresence and videoconferencing devices


Cisco Integrated Services Router G2 Conferencing Services

Unified Communications

Multipoint conferencing for all video endpoints except three-screen immersive

Cisco TelePresence Server


Multipoint Control Unit for all video endpoints, including three-screen immersive

Cisco TelePresence Conductor


Policy server for multipoint device management

Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Control Unit


Multipoint Control Unit for all video endpoints except three-screen immersive

Cisco TelePresence Multipoint Switch


Multipoint switch for CTS, EX, and Profile series video endpoints


ISDN Gateway


Video gateway allowing connectivity from H.323 and SIP video endpoints to ISDN H.320 endpoints

Advanced Media Gateway


Gateway allowing connectivity from standard H.323 and SIP video endpoints to Microsoft Lync and Office Communicator devices

Cisco Telepresence Video Communications Server Expressway


Gateway that provides secure communications between SIP and H.323 video endpoints across the internet

Cisco Unified Border Element


Gateway that provides a secure demarcation between IP networks

Cisco Intercompany Media Engine

Unified Communications

Gateway that provides intercompany connectivity when used with Unified CM and ASA firewalls

Recording and Streaming

Cisco TelePresence Content Server


Recording and streaming for all video endpoints

Cisco TelePresence Recording Server


Recording server for CTS series video endpoints


Cisco TelePresence Manager


Scheduling and management platform for Cisco and third-party video endpoints

Cisco TelePresence Management Suite


Scheduling and management platform for Cisco and third-party video endpoints

Cisco Prime Collaboration Manager


Network and endpoint management for media flows

Addressing complex customer requirements is possible due in part to the large number of Cisco TelePresence and Unified Communications video endpoints and infrastructure components. However, a large number of options can make choosing the right solution difficult.

As you will see throughout this document, Cisco TelePresence and Cisco Unified Communications endpoints and infrastructure components share the same protocols, audio and video codecs, and similar deployment considerations. This document explores deeper into the following areas related to Cisco TelePresence and Cisco Unified Communications:

Video components

Video components consist of devices such as video endpoints, call control, conferencing, gateways, and management platforms.

Basic concepts and terminology of video solutions

TelePresence and video in general introduce a lot of new terminology and concepts that are not found in other technologies. In just the past few years many new products and features have been introduced with the advancement of video endpoints, conferencing devices, and error concealment.

Call control protocols

Call control protocols handle the setup and processing of media flows across the network. A number of video call control protocols are used for transporting interactive video over various network media.

Quality of Service (QoS) and call admission control

Interactive video is very sensitive to delay, loss, and jitter. Allowing admission to the network only when bandwidth is available and guaranteeing media flows that meet Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are key factors to any successful video deployment.

Dial plan

Dial plans provide call routing between video devices and devices external to an enterprise, such as video intercompany calls over the Internet and the PSTN, as well as PSTN audio-only calls. Dial plans might need special attention, depending on the method used to address endpoints or to support advanced feature sets.

Deployment scenarios

There are a number of deployment scenarios available for interactive video deployments. Deployment scenarios are based on a number of factors such as the number and type of endpoints, and they focus on all aspects of call control, video services, and network design.

Business-to-business (B2B)

Business-to-business video communications is becoming more important as video continues to be deployed and used by more companies. There are a number of ways to allow business-to-business video communications, depending on the call control platforms and endpoints used in an enterprise.


Conferencing allows more than two devices to communicate in a single meeting. There are a number of options for initiating a conference and a number of different platforms available for conferencing video endpoints.


Security for video calls is a must for many enterprises, especially those using video for business-to-business communications. There are a number of methods available for encrypting signaling traffic and media, and a number of factors that must be considered when deploying secured video communications.

In addition to this document, a number of design and deployment guides have been written to help users choose the correct architecture. These guides not only help with video architecture, but in many cases they also outline the network requirements to ensure proper handling of video calls across the network. The following design and deployment guides cover the deployment of both Cisco TelePresence and Cisco Unified Communications video:

Cisco Unified Communications System SRND

Cisco TelePresence Network Systems Design Guide