Using the PMC Application
This chapter provides information about using the PMC, including logging in and logging out of the application, channel and user interactions, associated caveats, accessing menus, and using end-user features.
This chapter includes the following sections:
•Logging In to the PMC Application
•Using the PMC Application
•Logging Out of the PMC Application
Logging In to the PMC Application
As a PMC user, you initially log in to the PMC application by logging through the application in to the Cisco IPICS server. (The first login requires availability of the Cisco IPICS server.) The server validates the user login credentials so that subsequent PMC logins can be performed without the server.
See the "Launching the PMC Application" section for more information about launching and logging in to the PMC.
This section provides information about logging in to the PMC and includes the following topics:
•PMC Usage Guidelines
•Server-PMC Login Sequence Interaction
PMC Usage Guidelines
Note Cisco IPICS only supports the use of PMC release 2.1(1) with a Cisco IPICS server that also runs release 2.1(1).
This section includes guidelines for using the PMC; it includes the following topics:
•Tips for Using the PMC
•Connectivity Tips for Using the PMC
•PMC Password Caveats
Tips for Using the PMC
The following tips will help you to use the Cisco IPICS PMC most effectively:
•Use a high-quality microphone and check the placement and settings of your audio devices before you begin to use the PMC. For more information about optimizing your audio, see the "Optimizing Your Audio on the PMC" section.
•Your ability to use certain PMC features, such as latch, multiselect, alert tones, DTMF, and All Talk, depend on the configuration in the server. For more information, see the "End-user Features and Interactions" section.
•You can use only those voice channels that have been assigned to you and which are visible on your PMC.
•When a channel is activated, the PTT button highlights and changes color. (For more information, see the "Channels/States" section, "User Channel Activity Interaction" section, and the "Configurable Server Attributes" section.
•To talk on a channel, click and hold the push-to-talk (PTT) button before you speak.
•Talk in short bursts and monitor the receive indicator so that you do not talk over other Cisco IPICS users.
Tip Be sure to monitor the receive indicator on the PTT channel button for PMC traffic so that you do not talk over other Cisco IPICS users. When the receive indicator shows activity, you are receiving traffic. If you talk while you are receiving traffic, you are likely not being heard.
Connectivity Tips for Using the PMC
The following tips will help to ensure successful connection of the Cisco IPICS PMC:
•Before you launch the PMC, establish network connectivity to make sure that you have a valid IP address.
•For connections that use the remote location, make sure that the PMC can establish connectivity to the Router Media Service (RMS). For more information, see the "Troubleshooting PMC Connectivity Issues with the RMS" section.
•If the Cisco VPN Client is installed on your PMC client machine, disable the "Stateful Firewall (Always On)" option; otherwise SIP and multicast connections may not work correctly. For more information, see the "Troubleshooting VPN Connectivity" section.
•For the PMC to work properly with Windows XP, you may need to modify the firewall settings so that the PMC can send and receive the required protocols. For more information, see the "Using the PMC with the Windows XP Firewall" section
•Network limitations may prevent some PMC client machines from sending audio. In this case, choose the remote location to connect to Cisco IPICS. For more information, see the "Troubleshooting Multicast Communications Issues" section.
•Monitor the server status connectivity indicator for and other connectivity indicators for connection information. For more information, see the "Support for Cisco IPICS Recovery" section.
•If you use a docking station or pluggable audio devices with your client machine, close the PMC client and unplug your audio devices before you undock your PC; otherwise, your PC may become unresponsive and require you to reboot.
•The Cisco IPICS server contains the location information to determine how the PMC should connect. For optimum connectivity and higher quality audio, use the most appropriate location for your connection type when you log in to the PMC. If you choose a location and you do not hear any voice traffic, choose a different location until you hear the audio on the channel. For more information, see the "Location Support" section.
•If both wired and wireless connections are active, and if you selected a location other than remote, either disable the wireless connection or make sure that the PMC uses the IP address that is assigned to the wired connection. For more information, see the "Resolving IP Address Changes" section.
This section describes the login caveats that pertain to this release of Cisco IPICS and it includes password caveat information that is contained in the "PMC Password Caveats" section. For information about using the PMC in offline mode, see the "PMC Offline Mode Caveats" section.
•The Cisco IPICS system allows only one instance of the PMC application to be open and only one user to be logged in to the PMC application on the client machine at a given time.
•If you need to log in to a PMC on a given client machine that already has another PMC user logged in, the original user must first log out of the application.
•A PMC user can log in to an unlimited number of different PMC applications at the same time; however, Cisco IPICS supports only the most recent PMC instance for use with the direct two-way and direct dial channel features. For more information, see the "Communicating with PMC Users via Direct Two-Way Channels" section.
•Any number of valid Cisco IPICS users can use the same PMC application, but not concurrently. See the "License Information" section.
•The PMC application can log in to the server that has been configured as the default server and from which the PMC installation file has been downloaded. Or, the PMC can log in to an alternate server if your primary server becomes unavailable. For more information about logging in to alternate servers, see the "PMC Login Procedure" section.
PMC Password Caveats
The following caveats pertain to the PMC password that you use to log in to the system:
Invalid Login Attempts
The following guidelines apply to the account lockout features
•If you incorrectly enter your password multiple times, such that you exceed the maximum number of invalid login attempts as configured in the server, your user account may be locked. In this case, the PMC does not allow you to log in to the system. A message displays to alert you to contact your system administrator to unlock your user account.
•If the number of invalid login attempts has been exceeded while you are already logged in to the PMC, the PMC allows you to continue to use the password for your current session. The PMC does not allow additional logins, however, until your user account is unlocked or your password is reset.
•If the number of invalid login attempts has been exceeded while you are logged in to the PMC via offline mode, the PMC allows you to continue to use the password after it returns to online mode.The PMC does not allow additional logins, however, until your user account is unlocked or your password is reset.
The following guidelines apply to the password expiration feature:
•If you attempt to log in to the PMC after your password has expired, the PMC displays a message to alert you. In this case, the PMC does not allow you to log in to the system until after you have changed your password. To change your password, you must log in to the Cisco IPICS server and navigate to Home > My Profile to enter your old and new passwords. If you cannot access the server, contact your system administrator for assistance.
•If your password expires while you are logged in to the PMC, the PMC allows you to continue to use the password for your current session. You must change your password before the next login.
•If your password expires while you are logged in to the PMC via offline mode, the PMC allows you to continue to use the password after the PMC returns to online mode. You must change your password before the next login.
The Cisco IPICS server uses the PMC ID to track the version number of the PMC and to verify and manage concurrent PMC usage for licensing requirements.
Cisco IPICS uses the following criteria to determine license consumption for PMC users:
•Cisco IPICS PMC Usage—A PMC user uses a license for each PMC session login.
If the same PMC user logs in to multiple PMC sessions from different PMC client machines, that user will use multiple licenses (one for each PMC session).
Note If all Cisco IPICS licenses have been used, your access to the system will be interrupted. If this situation occurs, make sure that you contact your system administrator to request that additional user licenses be purchased and installed immediately.
Server-PMC Login Sequence Interaction
When you log in to the PMC, and when the connection between the server and the PMC is operational, your login request flows over a secure web (HTTPS) connection for processing by the Cisco IPICS server.
Tip You can see if the connection to the server is active by looking at the server status connectivity indicator that displays on the PMC. When the PMC is connected to the server, a green indicator displays. When the PMC is not connected to the server, a red indicator and an alert icon displays to make you aware of the loss of connectivity. When you click this indicator, the Status menu opens and displays the IP address of your Cisco IPICS server. For more information about this connectivity indicator, see the "Using the Status Menu" section.
If the connection between the server and the PMC is not operational, the system allows you to log in locally on your PMC client machine and connect to the server in offline mode. See the "PMC Offline Mode Caveats" section.
Note Cisco IPICS does not prevent you from logging in to the PMC application if the connection to the server goes offline as long as you have had at least one successful login to the server. The PMC reconnects when the server access is restored.
This section describes the initial login sequence for the PMC user; it includes the following topics:
•PMC Offline Mode Caveats
•PMC Login Procedure
PMC Offline Mode Caveats
When the connection to the server goes offline, the PMC enters offline mode. Offline mode allows you to continue to communicate during periods of server downtime.
Note The PMC also provides visual indication of server status connectivity so that you can be alerted when the connectivity to the server has been lost.
The following caveats apply to the PMC offline mode:
•You must have at least one successful login to the server before you can use the PMC in offline mode. (When the PMC cannot connect to the server, it uses the cached information that it obtained from its prior connection.)
•If the server goes offline while you are running the PMC, the system displays a message to alert you that the server is not available. The PMC enters offline mode with the current list of channels.
•When you use the PMC in offline mode, the Cisco IPICS server address that displays in the Settings > Status menu may show the IP address of the server that you were trying to connect to, and which is offline. In this situation, the server status may display as "disconnected" even though the configuration information reflects the last server that you successfully logged in to.
•If the server is offline when you start the PMC, the system displays a message to alert you. The PMC enters offline mode with the list of channels from the last online session. (Some channels may no longer work, depending on the connection type.)
•After the server returns to an online state, you may encounter an invalid user or password error when you try to log in to the PMC. This situation may occur if the PMC attempts to connect to the server while the server database is being restored. In this case, the login dialog box may display several times until the server database has been fully restored.
•If your user ID was deleted while the PMC was operating in offline mode, the system displays a message to inform you that your user name is not valid. The PMC then logs out and displays the normal startup login dialog box.
•If the RMS entries become changed while you are running the PMC, your SIP channels may become disconnected. The PMC retrieves the updated channel list, with the newly-allocated SIP channels, after successful login to the server.
For information about operations that require the server to be online, see the "The Role of the Cisco IPICS Server" section.
PMC Login Procedure
To log in to the PMC application, perform the following procedure:
Step 1 Double-click the PMC icon on your desktop or navigate to Start > Programs > Cisco IPICS > PMC to launch the application.
The Cisco IPICS login prompt displays.
Step 2 To log in to the PMC, enter the following information:
a. Your server IP address or server host name (or choose your server IP address from the drop-down list box)
b. Your user name
c. Your password
d. Click OK
If you cannot connect to your primary server, proceed to Step 3.
Tip Be aware that login user names and server host names are case-insensitive; that is, you can enter either upper case or lower case characters for these names. However, passwords are case-sensitive.
The PMC logs in to the Cisco IPICS server and sends this login information over a secure HTTPS connection.
•If your login was successful, the server provides the ability for subsequent local logins.
•If your login was not successful and you receive a failure notification because the PMC application could not communicate with the server, you can log in to the PMC locally, as long as you have already successfully logged in to the Cisco IPICS server. Or, you can log in to an alternate server, if one is available.
Note If the PMC becomes disconnected from the Cisco IPICS server, it continues to operate in its existing state; that is, the PMC can continue with its existing voice channels but it is not informed of any changes to the channel list until server connectivity is re-established.
Step 3 If the primary server is not accessible, and if there are alternate servers to choose from, follow these steps to connect to an alternate server:
a. Enter the alternate server IP address or host name (or choose an alternate server IP address from the drop-down list box); then, enter your user name and password.
b. Click OK.
Tip The last server IP address that you successfully connected to displays as the default server when you next launch the PMC.
For more information about connecting to alternate servers, see the "Support for Cisco IPICS Recovery" section.
Note If you incorrectly enter your password multiple times, such that you exceed the maximum number of invalid login attempts as configured in the server, your user account may be locked. In this case, you must contact your system administrator to unlock your user account.
Step 4 After successful login, the Cisco IPICS server checks the PMC version number.
If a PMC update is available for download, a message displays to alert you. If the update is optional, you can choose to upgrade the PMC at a later time. See the "Performing an Optional Upgrade" section for more information.
If the system detects an incompatible version of the PMC, a message displays to alert you that the system must perform an upgrade immediately. See the "Performing a Required Upgrade" section for more information.
If the PMC version is current, the server sends the list of locations that have been associated with your user ID.
Step 5 Choose your default location and your PMC version from the drop-down list boxes; then, click OK.
Note The PMC version drop-down list box includes the PMC versions that are compatible with the server. The location information that displays in the drop-down list box is configured in the Cisco IPICS server. Contact your system administrator if your location information does not display as an option.
Step 6 The PMC sends its location information to the server and requests its configuration updates.
Note The PMC sets the location once per login sequence, but the server may also process the location information through the updates that it receives from the PMC.
After the login has completed and the location has been set, the server maintains the PMC session information to ensure that only one session exists on the server for each PMC.
Step 7 The PMC retrieves the personalized list of visible channels/VTGs from the server.
Note You may see various channel states on the PMC. For instance, if your ability to transmit on a channel has been disabled by the server, the channel appears dimmed. For more information, see the "Configurable Server Attributes" section.
Step 8 Click the Activate button on the PMC application to directly join the channel or VTG and hear the audio stream.
Tip When you click the Activate button immediately after a SIP-based (unicast) channel becomes available on the PMC, you may hear a busy tone if the RMS has not completely configured the channel. If you encounter this situation, click the Activate button to deactivate the channel; then, wait a few seconds and click Activate again to reactivate the channel. For more information about channel activation issues, see the "Identifying Channel Activation Issues" section.
After the PMC connects with the server, the channel on the PMC application becomes activated and appears highlighted to indicate that it is in an active state.
Step 9 Click the PTT button and hold it to talk.
The channel highlights and changes color to indicate that you are transmitting traffic.
Note If the channel appears dimmed, the PMC is not transmitting traffic. For instance, if you mute the microphone and click the PTT button or if there is a network transmission problem, the channel appears dimmed on the PMC to indicate that transmission is not occurring.
Step 10 When you are done talking, release the left mouse button to return to listen-only mode.
The receive graphical indicator blinks green to indicate that you are receiving traffic. (This indicator remains illuminated for several seconds after the receive transmission has ended.)
Tip To talk on one or more channels at the same time, you can select the channels that you want to talk on and click and hold the All Talk channel. You can also use the PTT latch functionality. (You need user permissions for both of these features.) For more information about using the latch functionality, see the "Using the Latch Functionality" section.
•Maintaining and Upgrading the PMC Application
•Performing an Optional Upgrade
•Performing a Required Upgrade
Using the PMC Application
This section provides information about how to use the PMC application and describes the various interactions that occur; it includes the following topics:
•Accessing Online Help
•Activating the PMC Buttons
•Joining a VTG
•End-user Features and Interactions
Accessing Online Help
To access online help for the PMC, follow this procedure:
Step 1 Position your cursor over the PMC window that displays on your desktop.
Step 2 Take one of the following actions to access online help:
•Click the Menu button that displays on the PMC; then click Help.
•Right-click in the PMC interface and click Settings; then, click Help.
•Press F1 to access online help.
The PMC online help information displays.
Activating the PMC Buttons
When you use the 18-channel advanced console or the 36-channel radio console skins, each channel contains a PTT channel button with send and/or receive feedback, an activation control button that toggles on and off, a channel select check box, voice replay controls, volume control, volume graphical indicator, and a latch control indicator (if the channel has been configured as latchable in the server and if you have permission). The radio console also includes an indicator that blinks when you transmit. For more information about using the latch functionality, see the "Using the Latch Functionality" section.
See Figure 1-1 for an illustration and a description of the buttons that display on the 18-channel advanced console.
See Figure 1-2 for an illustration and a description of the buttons that display on the 36-channel radio console.
The PMC provides the ability to individually control the volume on each channel. The volume slide bar controls the level of audio output for the specified channel as mixed with all other channels.
The volume level that the volume graphical indicator bar displays may appear slightly different depending on the granularity of the specific PMC skin that you use.
If you configured key mapping, you can use the assigned key, which displays on each mapped channel, to transmit instead of using your mouse.
Joining a VTG
When you are logged in to the PMC and the dispatcher creates a VTG for you to join, the PMC retrieves the channel list, which includes information about the VTG, from the Cisco IPICS server; the PMC automatically refreshes to show the updated channels.
To join the VTG, click the Activate button. (The channel on the PMC application becomes activated and appears highlighted to show that it is in an active state as long as your ability to transmit has not been disabled by the server.)
Click the highlighted PTT channel button and hold it to talk; transmission becomes enabled on the multicast stream. When you are done talking, release the left mouse button to return to listen-only mode.
See the "End-user Channel Interaction" section for information about the various channel states.
Figure 4-1 shows an illustration of the interaction with the PMC user.
Figure 4-1 Interaction with the PMC User
This section describes the dynamic configuration that the Cisco IPICS server performs for the PMC application. It also includes information about the PMC update procedure.
The Cisco IPICS server manages the configuration for the PMC so that you do not need to perform any configuration tasks. The server configuration includes information such as the system level PMC configuration, master skin distribution, user configuration, and channel definitions and authorized actions per channel.
In general, the PMC retrieves all configuration and channel connectivity data from the Cisco IPICS server, however, you can change the PMC skin by choosing from the available options that appear in the Settings menu. For more information about accessing the Settings menu, see the "Configuring the PMC Skins" section.
The PMC includes the ability to check the Cisco IPICS server for configuration changes (when the server is online); if the application status changes, the PMC securely connects to the server to update its current state.
At regular intervals, the PMC sends a status request to the server for each PMC user. This status request determines if the user configuration needs an update and/or if the server has a request for the PMC to execute certain commands, such as an update. User level updates are performed only when a valid PMC user is logged in to the PMC application.
This section describes the channel interactions on the PMC in the following topics:
This section includes the following topics:
•Support for Maximum Number of Channels
•End-user Channel Interaction
Support for Maximum Number of Channels
With this release, the PMC supports a maximum of 36 channels when you use the 36-channel radio console. (The PMC allows the assignment of up to 50 channels, but only 36 channels may be active at the same time.) This support includes the ability to simultaneously receive and/or talk on one or multiple channels.
Different skins support a varying number of maximum channels. For a description of these skins, see Table 5-1.
For more information and instructions about configuring the PMC skins, see the "Configuring the PMC Skins" section.
Note•Be aware that you may receive and transmit only on the channels that have been assigned to you and that are visible on the PMC client.
•If you have more than the maximum supported channels assigned to you and you use the 18-channel advanced console skin, the channels that are visible to you depend on whether or not the channel has already been visible on the PMC. That is, Cisco IPICS enables visibility of the last 18 channels that you saw. So, if a new channel has been assigned to you but it has not been previously visible, the channel will not display on the PMC when there are more than 18 channels assigned to you. If the channel is one that has been assigned and previously visible, it displays on the PMC.
•You can use the channel reordering functionality to move certain channels beyond the channel limit of the skin so that you can view the channels that you need. For more information about channel reordering, see the "Reordering Your Channels" section.
End-user Channel Interaction
As the Cisco IPICS standalone application, the primary goal of the PMC is to enable the PMC user to easily communicate on multiple PTT audio channels.
The PMC structure enables convenient and optimized interaction with multiple channels and different channel types. All channel types that the dispatcher has assigned and activated for your use appear on the PMC. You can selectively activate any of the assigned channels by clicking the Activate button on the PMC.
This section includes information about the following topics:
•Channel Appearance on the PMC
•Using the Latch Functionality
Channel Appearance on the PMC
The following information pertains to the appearance of the channels on the PMC:
•Channels that appear in blueprint mode on the PMC indicate that the channel/VTG is available and waiting for you to activate.
•If the channel has been disabled, you will not be able to activate the channel (none of the buttons will appear).
•If your ability to transmit on a channel has been disabled by the server, the channel appears dimmed on the PMC.
•When the channel appears dimmed, the PMC is not transmitting traffic. For instance, if you mute the microphone and click the PTT button or if there is a network transmission problem, the channel appears dimmed on the PMC to indicate that transmission is not occurring.
Using the Latch Functionality
Your ability to latch a channel is configured in the server. If enabled, you can use the PTT latch functionality to talk on multiple channels at the same time. To latch, or lock in, the PTT channel button, click the latch indicator that displays to the right of the channel. Alternatively, you can position your cursor over the PTT button and then press the Shift key while you click the left mouse button.
When the channel has been latched, the PMC displays the highlighted latch indicator to the right of the channel. Follow this procedure for each channel that you want to talk on. To clear the latch, click the PTT button without holding the Shift key.
Tip Latch functionality is not affected when the PMC loses focus, or is no longer the active application. In this situation, a latched channel remains latched even if the PMC loses focus.
Note Cisco IPICS does not support latching of the All Talk channel on the PMC.
When you latch a channel, the channel remains latched until one of the following activities occurs on the PMC:
•Alert tones are sent and complete transmission
•DTMF tones are sent
•The All Talk channel is pressed and released
•The channel is deactivated, unassigned or not enabled for latch
•The PTT button for the channel is pressed and released
•The latch indicator is pressed and released
Use the latch functionality with caution. Be aware that when you latch the PTT button, this action blocks transmissions from half-duplex radios when these devices are attached to the channel or VTG via an LMR gateway.
Table 4-1 shows the channel/VTG states that Cisco IPICS supports for user interaction.
If a name, or label, has been configured in the server for the PTT button, that name displays in the channel area as part of the PTT button on the PMC. You may also see channel type indicators, along with other visual indicators that have been configured in the server.
For more information, see the "Channel Information" section.
Tip When the channel appears dimmed, the PMC is not transmitting traffic.
Table 4-1 End-User Channel Interaction States
The Activate button appears highlighted
This state becomes effective when you click the Activate button. The other PMC buttons remain in an inactive state as the system attempts to activate and connect.
Note If your ability to transmit on a channel has been disabled by the server, the channel appears dimmed (none of the buttons appear on the PMC).
The PTT channel button and volume indicator appear highlighted
This state indicates that the SIP (unicast) or multicast channel is fully operational.
When a channel is enabled and activated, all of the PMC buttons are operational.
No PMC buttons appear highlighted
This state becomes effective when you click the Activate button again (to deactivate the channel) or if the connection terminates.
When a channel is enabled but not activated, the PTT channel button appears in blueprint mode but you may click the Activate button to activate the channel.
No PMC buttons appear highlighted and you cannot activate the channel
When a channel is disabled, the channel appears dimmed and none of the PMC buttons appear so that you cannot activate the channel. However, you can still view the channel or VTG label, if one was configured in the server.
No PMC buttons appear highlighted and you cannot activate the channel
A channel that is unassigned appears on the PMC as completely empty, with no buttons and no channel name. You cannot activate or use an unassigned channel.
The PTT channel appears dimmed
When a channel is configured for listen-only mode, the channel appears dimmed on the PMC. In this case, you may listen in to the channel but you may not transmit.
All PMC buttons are functional
The PMC provides a visual indication of secure channels by displaying an indicator on the PTT channel. The location of this indicator may vary, depending on the skin that you use.
Note Cisco IPICS supports the configuration of secure channels, but does not provide support for secure VTGs.
End-user Features and Interactions
This section contains information about the following PMC end-user features and interactions. (Some of these features may be available only with certain PMC skins.) This section includes the following topics:
•Using Keyboard Mapping
•Using DTMF to Generate Tones
•Selecting One or More Channels and Using the All Talk Channel
•Playing out Alert Tones
•Reordering Your Channels
•Communicating with PMC Users via Direct Two-Way Channels
•Communicating with Phone Users via Direct Dial Channels
•Communicating with Cisco IPICS Users via Tone-Controlled Radios
•Using the Voice Replay Feature
Using Keyboard Mapping
Cisco IPICS allows you to use keyboard mapping to assign specific keys to each of your channels. This feature provides transmit functionality by allowing you to press and hold the assigned key, to transmit on a channel, by using the keys on your keyboard. This control maps to specific channels on your PMC.
Cisco IPICS also supports the use of a device that simulates key down and key up events, such as a footswitch or other USB device. (Refer to the product documentation that you received with your USB device for details about how to configure it to generate the proper key; this device must be capable of simulating key held events as if you were holding down a key on a keyboard.)
Note•Cisco IPICS provides support for devices that behave exactly like a keyboard and require no special support for the PMC to recognize it.
•To use these devices, the PMC must already be the active application (in focus) or the footswitch/USB device must be able to cause the PMC to be in focus.
•The device must be capable of generating key down events when you hold down the footswitch pedal followed by a key up event when you release the pedal (to simulate pressing and holding a key on a keyboard and then releasing it).
•The device and support applications must be able to send key down and key up events that correspond to keys "e" through "z" and/or the "Tab" and "space" keys.
To map your channels, you choose from a list of letters that range from "e" to "z." The PMC displays only those keys that have not been previously used to map to a channel.
Tip Cisco IPICS does not allow you to map the same key to multiple channels, so any key that has already been mapped to a channel cannot be used to map to another channel until you unmap it.
If you have mapped a key to a channel that gets deleted from your PMC, the key that you mapped becomes available for you to map to another channel.
To configure the keys for each channel, navigate to the Settings > Channels menu. For detailed information, see the "Configuring the Channels and Advanced Settings" section.
After you define the key mappings for your channels, the PMC displays the assigned key on each channel that you configured. When you want to transmit on that channel, you can press and hold the assigned key instead of using your mouse. When you are done talking, release the key.
Note The key mapping that you configure is stored locally on the PMC client machine and applies only to the individual user who configured the key mapping assignments on the PMC client machine that you logged in to. If you use another PMC client machine, be aware that you must reconfigure your key mapping assignments.
Keyboard Mapping Caveats
The use of keyboard mapping may interact with the following PMC features:
•Certain Windows events and applications may change the focus from the PMC; that is, the PMC may no longer be the active application on the desktop. A change in focus may occur when a pop-up message displays and interferes with the expected operation of the PMC.
–Under normal conditions, transmission continues until the method that you used to initiate the transmission has been ended, such as releasing the PTT button. However, if the focus changes when you are using a mouse, keyboard, or USB device to transmit on a channel, the transmission stops when the PMC detects that it is no longer the active application (or has lost focus). In this case, the PTT button changes color to indicate that it is no longer transmitting; this break in transmission occurs even if you continue to hold down the mouse or mapped key. After the PMC regains focus, you can begin transmitting again.
–You may also encounter a loss of focus when you press and hold a mapped key and right-click the mouse in the PMC interface at the same time. If the key does not perform a valid PMC function, you may hear a "ding" or "beep" sound when you release the key or while the key is held. You may also hear these sounds when you press a key that performs a valid PMC function, such as the "s" key, which is a shortcut for the Settings menus. In these situations, the window that has the focus tries to interpret the key that you pressed. These behaviors, as part of the standard operation of the Windows operating system, occur when the focus has been removed from the PMC.
Note Be aware that the PMC must be the active application when you press the All Talk channel or the PTT channel button. If the PMC loses focus (and is no longer the active application), the PMC stops transmitting. The PMC continues to transmit, however, if the channel is latched.
•You can transmit audio in several ways: by clicking or pressing the PTT button on a channel, checking the multiselect check box along with your mouse or touch screen client or mapped key, pressing a key that is mapped to the specific channel, using a device that simulates entry of a mapped key (such as a footswitch), or by entering the CLI play command from the Windows command line of the PMC.
By using any of these methods, the transmission should continue until the method that you used to initiate the transmission has been ended. That is, if you press a mapped key and also click the PTT button with the mouse at the same time, releasing only the PTT button does not stop the transmission. You must also release the key that is mapped to the channel for the transmission to stop. Exceptions can occur when you simultaneously perform functions that may cause the PMC to behave in different ways. For example, if you press a mapped key, then click the PTT button with your mouse and then release the mapped key, the transmission stops.
•The keys that you can use for dual-tone multifrequency (DTMF) tone generation and the keys that you can assign to your channels by using keyboard mapping are mutually exclusive. That is, on an ASCII keyboard, Cisco IPICS supports the use of the number keys, the letter keys from `a' through `d' and the `*' and `#' symbols for DTMF use. The letter keys from `e' through `z' are reserved for PTT keyboard mapping. For more information about DTMF tone generation, see the "Using DTMF to Generate Tones" section.
Using DTMF to Generate Tones
You can use this feature to transmit DTMF tones for a fixed time duration to any specific channel. Cisco IPICS supports DTMF tone generation by using inband signaling. That means, when you press a key that supports DTMF tone generation, Cisco IPICS sends these tones as part of the normal voice transmission.
To generate DTMF tones, follow these steps:
1. Check the channel select check box for all channels that you want to transmit on. The channel select check box displays in the lower left corner of the channel on the PMC. Alternatively, you can select all channels by checking the Select All (or multiselect) check box, which is located at the bottom of the PMC skin.
2. Then, press one of the supported keys, which include the number keys from `0 through 9, letter keys from `a' through `d' and the `*' and `#' symbols, on your keyboard.
Note DTMF tones are generated inband for the duration of time that you press and hold the key.
DTMF Tone Generation Caveats
The following caveats pertain to the use of DTMF tones:
•Cisco IPICS supports the use of the number keys, the letter keys from `a' through `d' and the `*' and `#' symbols for DTMF use.
•Cisco IPICS sends DTMF tones only to the selected channels.
•To transmit DTMF tones, the PMC must be in focus; that is, it must be the active application that appears on your desktop. If the PMC loses focus while you are transmitting DTMF tones, the transmission stops and the PTT button changes color to indicate that it is no longer transmitting. After the PMC regains focus, transmission begins again.
•The G.729 codec cannot appropriately transmit DTMF tones and alert tones; for more information, see the "Playing out Alert Tones" section.
•When you use spatial positioning on the PMC, the DTMF tone that you play out is audible only on the highest position channel on the PMC. Check the Settings > Channels menu for the positioning information of your channels on the PMC.
•If your permission to transmit is revoked on the highest position channel, you will no longer hear the DTMF tone that is being played out, although the PMC continues to transmit the tone via other selected channels.
•If you attempt to transmit a DTMF tone while the network is down, the DTMF tone is audible to the sender even though it is not actually being transmitted. In this case, the DTMF tone that the sender hears is a confirmation of the request and not an indication that the tone is being sent. When this situation occurs, the PTT channel button appears dimmed, and the transmit indicator (if one is present on your skin) does not blink, to indicate that transmission is not occurring. For more information about the appearance of channels in various states, see the "Channels/States" section.
Selecting One or More Channels and Using the All Talk Channel
Cisco IPICS allows you to select one or more channels on the PMC for audio transmission. You can select a single channel or multiple channels by checking the channel select check box that displays in the lower left corner of the channel on the PMC. When you use this feature, a check mark displays in the check box of each channel that you have selected.
Alternatively, you can select all channels by clicking the Select All (or multiselect) button, which is located in the bottom portion of the PMC skin and use the All Talk channel to talk.
Check the channel select check box or click the multiselect button to select channels that you want to use to send audio transmissions or alert tones. For more information about alert tones, see the "Playing out Alert Tones" section.
The following caveats pertain to the use of the multiselect feature:
•The multiselect button may reset under the following conditions:
–Reconfiguration of the PMC skin
–Stopping and restarting the channel
–Channel reconfiguration to the listen-only or disabled state
–Removal or reassociation of the channel
•Channel audio quality may degrade when multiple channels simultaneously send the same transmission. This situation is most noticeable to recipients when you play alert tones. To help resolve this issue, lower the volume or deactivate the channels that you seldom use and avoid sending the same alert tone to more than 3 channels at the same time.
•If the focus changes on the PMC while you are using the All Talk button to transmit, the transmission stops when the PMC detects that it has lost focus. After the PMC regains focus, you can begin transmitting again.
Playing out Alert Tones
In this release, Cisco IPICS provides the capability for the PMC to broadcast .wav files that contain alerting tones (hereafter referred to as alert tones) to a variety of Cisco IPICS users at the same time. Cisco IPICS stores alert tones in a set on the server. An alert tone set is associated with an ops view; therefore, each PMC user can see only one tone set based on the ops view association. For more information about ops views, refer to the Cisco IPICS Server Administration Guide, Release 2.1(1).
If your PMC includes alert tones, you can play out these tones on one channel or multiple channels on the PMC. The PMC plays out alert tones only on the channel(s) that you select.
To play out an alert tone, you must first select a channel (or multiple channels) by checking the channel select check box that displays in the lower left corner of the channel on the PMC. Then, click the tone that you want to play out. The PTT channel highlights to indicate that transmission is occurring. Alert tone playout is not affected when the PMC loses focus; that is, alert tones continue to play out even if the PMC loses focus.
Tip Alert tone buttons do not actively display on the PMC until you select at least one channel by checking the channel select or multiselect check box.
The alert tone playout continues until it completes or you click another tone to play. To stop alert tone playout, deactivate and then reactivate the channel or click the stop tone if it is included in your list of alert tones.
Note The PMC alert tone feature requires the use of compatible alerting tone files. These files must be .wav files that are encoded in Pulse Code Modulation (PCM), which is a sampling technique that digitizes analog signals. These .wav files must be encoded in PCM format with 8 bits monaural samples at 8000 Hz sampling rate, for a total of 64 kbps. While higher and lower bit rates may seem to work, Cisco IPICS does not support the use of any other encoding or bit rates, as they may produce inferior sound quality. (Any file that is used with the G.729 codec may sound inferior due to its encoding algorithms; for more information, see the "Codec Support" section.) In addition, all alerting tones should be encoded to a nominal value of -20 decibels relative to one milliwatt (dBm) and begin and end with zero deflection to eliminate or minimize "popping" or "clicking" sounds.
Alert Tone Playout Caveats
Be aware of the following caveats when you use alert tones on the PMC:
•When you select a channel and click a tone to play out, the tone begins to play out on that channel. If you want to transmit on the same channel while the tone is playing out, Cisco IPICS mixes your voice with the tone.
•If you deselect one of the channels after you selected multiple channels for transmission and click and hold the All Talk channel, Cisco IPICS terminates the transmission on the channel that you deselected but continues it on the channel that is still selected.
•While tone playout is occurring, if you deselect one of the channels after you selected multiple channels for transmission, Cisco IPICS continues to play out the tone on all channels that you originally selected.
•The PMC allows the use of either the alert tone playout feature, DTMF input, or the Play command at one time. That is, if an alert tone is currently playing and you invoke the PMC.EXE -Play file [-line #] command to the same channel, the alert tone on that channel stops playout immediately and is replaced with the output of the -Play command. If you press a DTMF digit, the alert tone or the -Play output stops immediately and the system sends the DTMF digit.
•Cisco IPICS allows you to talk over tones that are being played out by supporting the simultaneous use of the PTT channel button or the All Talk channel button.
•If you do not have permission to use any of the alert tones, the server does not download these tones to the PMC client machine. In this case, the alert tone buttons either do not display or appear disabled on the PMC.
•If your access to alert tones has been restricted by the server, your access to the All Talk channel button is similarly restricted.
•If the server assigns more alert tones that your PMC skin can display, the PMC pops up a message to alert you.
•Channel audio quality may degrade when multiple channels simultaneously send the same transmission. This situation is most noticeable to recipients when you play alert tones. To help resolve this issue, lower the volume or deactivate the channels that you seldom use and avoid sending the same alert tone to more than three channels at the same time.
•When you use spatial positioning on the PMC, the alert tone that you play out is audible only on the highest position channel on the PMC. Check the Settings > Channels menu for the positioning information of your channels on the PMC.
•If your permission to transmit is revoked on the highest position channel, you will no longer hear the alert tone that is being played out, although the PMC continues to transmit the tone via other selected channels.
Reordering Your Channels
The server designates the initial order in which the channels display on the PMC. However, you may reorder or reposition the channels that display on your PMC by accessing the Settings > Channels menu.
Note In this release, the PMC displays the channel selector buttons as they are received from the server. While the PMC allows you to reorder the channels on the PMC, it does not allow you to reorder the channel selector buttons that display on the radio channel in the radio skin.
The ability to reorder your channels allows you to place channels in the order that you want to see them. For example, you can rearrange your channels so that the channels that you use most often appear at the top of the PMC and the ones that you use infrequently appear at the bottom of the PMC. This feature helps to optimize the space on your PMC skin so that you may be able to use a skin that includes fewer channels.
For more information about reordering your channels, see the "Configuring the Channels Menu Options" section.
Communicating with PMC Users via Direct Two-Way Channels
Cisco IPICS supports the use of direct, point-to-point PTT connections between online PMC users. This type of PMC communication operates similarly to other PMC channels, however, the direct two-way channels allow PMC users to talk directly from one user to another by using the PMC. (There is no capability to connect to other third parties when you use direct two-way channels.)
To enable this support, a direct two-way, bidirectional association is configured in the server on a per-user basis. The PMC then displays the direct two-way channel on your PMC by using the name of the user with whom you have an association in the server configuration. The channel may also include an indication of the channel type, such as 2-way.
Either online PMC user can activate the direct two-way channel. After one of the PMC users activates the channel, Cisco IPICS automatically activates the channel at the other end of the connection, as long as the channel is visible on the PMC skin. (If the channel is not visible, you may be able to reorder the channels on your skin; for more information, see the "Reordering Your Channels" section.) When the connection has been established, the PTT button highlights to signal the capability to transmit.
When one of the PMC users deactivates the channel, the other end of the connection becomes deactivated as well.
Direct Two-way Caveats
The following caveats pertain to the use of direct two-way channel connections on the PMC:
•Direct two-way channels are associated and disassociated in the server, so you do not have the ability to permanently deactivate or disconnect this channel. If you deactivate a direct two-way channel, the associated PMC user at the other end of the connection can reactivate it. This action causes the PMC to automatically reactivate the channel on your PMC. If you do not want to listen in to this channel, you can lower the volume.
•A single PMC user may have more than one direct two-way channel on the PMC to communicate on a one-to-one basis with different associated PMC users.
•Users must be logged in to Cisco IPICS to use PMC direct two-way channel connections. If both PMC users are online, the PMC displays the channel in an active state for all associated users. If one of the PMC users is not online, the PMC displays the channel in a disabled state for all associated users. (If your PMC client machine goes offline, the PMC notifies the associated PMC user by disabling the channel.)
•If a single PMC user logs in to Cisco IPICS multiple times by using the same login information, the system creates only one direct two-way channel for that user and links it to the most recent user login.
Note If previous direct two-way channels were established for the user, Cisco IPICS disables all direct two-way channels except for the most recent user login. If the PMC is not connected to the server when the simultaneous login occurs, the previous PMC instance maintains its login to the server (the PMC does not get logged out until it reestablishes connectivity with the server).
•The PMC does not attempt to retry the channel activation if the connection to the associated PMC user cannot be established. In this case, a warning indicator displays next to the channel and a busy tone plays out on the PMC. Connection failure may be caused by situations such as a network interruption or reset/restart activity at the remote end, if the PMC user does not have available channels to use, or if the online status of the user is undetermined by the Cisco IPICS server. When this situation occurs, you must deactivate the direct two-way channel; then, reactivate the channel to try the call again.
•If a direct two-way channel is associated to your user ID but your PMC client has no available channels, the PMC displays a message to inform you and request that you choose another skin. If you do not choose another higher-capacity skin, the associated PMC user at the other end of the connection hears a busy tone upon attempting to activate the channel.
Communicating with Phone Users via Direct Dial Channels
Cisco IPICS supports the use of direct, point-to-point connections that enable a PMC user to directly dial a phone number that is connected via the PSTN or an IP phone that is reachable via the customer network. (Similar to the two-way direct connection, there is no capability to connect to other third parties when you use direct dial channels.)
This direct dial feature allows a PMC user to use the PMC PTT features to speak directly with a telephone user. The destination telephone can be any phone that is reachable by the SIP provider. (The SIP provider routes the call to the number that you dial.) As SIP-based calls, direct dial calls route from the PMC through the RMS to the SIP provider.
To enable this support, a direct dial phone number is configured in the server, on a per-user basis, where the dial phone number is associated to a PMC user. Every phone that may be called by the PMC direct dial feature must have its destination number configured in the server and assigned a label. Then, users are associated with these phones; each phone association appears on the PMC as a channel, with the unique identification of direct dial.
For more information about SIP providers and the direct dial configuration, refer to the "Configuring and Managing the Cisco IPICS Policy Engine" chapter in the Cisco IPICS Server Administration Guide, Release 2.1(1).
After the configuration is completed, the PMC displays the direct dial channel on your PMC by using the description that was configured in the server, along with an indication of the direct dial channel type.
To use the direct dial channel, you must first click the Activate button to activate the channel and dial out to the PSTN or IP phone user. The PTT button highlights to signal the capability to transmit and the PMC automatically dials the phone number that was configured in the server.
Note As the call is being placed through the PSTN or customer network, you may hear a ringing tone on the PMC channel. If the call cannot be completed, you may hear a busy tone or an error message that provides additional information. (The PSTN user hears the usual ring tone, if the PSTN phone is not busy.)
After your call is connected, you can talk to the PSTN or IP phone user by clicking and holding the PTT channel button or by latching the direct dial channel, if you have permission to use the latch functionality. For more information about the latch functionality, see the "Using the Latch Functionality" section.
The call terminates when the PMC user deactivates the channel or the PSTN or IP phone user hangs up.
Direct Dial Caveats
The following caveats pertain to the use of direct dial channel connections on the PMC:
•The PMC does not attempt to retry the call if the PSTN or IP phone user does not answer the phone, if the PSTN or IP phone is busy, or if the call fails for any reason. In this case, a warning indicator displays next to the channel and a busy tone plays out on the PMC. When this situation occurs, you must deactivate the direct dial channel; then, reactivate the channel and try the call again.
•The dial destinations that you are allowed to call depend on the configuration in the Cisco IPICS server and your specific telephony deployment.
•Cisco IPICS does not support the call transfer feature when you use direct dial. If a PSTN or IP phone user attempts to transfer a direct dial call, the Cisco IPICS system terminates the call.
Communicating with Cisco IPICS Users via Tone-Controlled Radios
This release extends the Cisco IPICS solution by enabling the definition of radio channels in the Cisco IPICS server configuration and implementing a 36-channel radio console skin in the PMC. This radio-specific enhancement enables the PMC to send RFC 2198 and RFC 2833 packets to control tone sequences on a per-channel basis. (RFC 2198 and RFC 2833 improve reliability by guaranteeing that tones play out in the proper sequence and by making the system more resilient to packet loss conditions.)
Tone control refers to the use of inband tone sequences to control a radio that is connected to an LMR gateway (typically a base station). This control can be used, for example, to tune the radio to a different frequency (change the channel).
Note You can find information about various Requests for Comment (RFCs) by accessing the RFC repository that is maintained by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) at the following URL: http://www.ietf.org/rfc.html.
Each radio channel that the administrator defines in the server represents a physical radio that can be configured with one or more tone sequences. These tone sequences are used to control various tones and functionality on the radio. Each tone sequence includes parameters, such as the frequency or frequencies, volume (power), and duration, that are necessary to generate a specific tone and invoke an action on the radio.
The radio descriptor configuration in the server defines the capabilities (available channel selector buttons and control functions) for a specific radio type. For each capability, the radio descriptor defines the tones and/or events that need to be sent to the radio to enable/disable specific capabilities.
Note Channel selector buttons on the PMC encompass channel selector buttons that you can use to change channels, control tone sequences, or use for signaling functionality. When these buttons are configured for tone control, they are mapped to the available tone control sequences that are needed to control the physical radio. (A physical radio is associated to each radio channel in the server.) Control functions can display on the PMC as single channel selector buttons or as stateful control sequences. Stateful control sequences are comprised of multiple states, where each state displays as a separate channel selector (tone control) button on the PMC. An example of a stateful control sequence is the power level of a radio. In this instance, a stateful control sequence may be defined to change the power level of a radio to high, medium, or low. Each one of these states are mapped to a distinct tone control sequence in the server and displayed as separate buttons on the PMC.
To enable tone-controlled radio functionality, Cisco IPICS provides support for the following device control operations:
•Ability to change the active frequency on a tone-controlled radio—This operation enables the PMC to dynamically tune a radio channel to multiple, different frequencies.
•Capability to enable specific stateful controls on a tone-controlled radio—A maximum of nine channel selector buttons may be displayed for radio tone control and signaling per radio channel. These buttons may be configured to include certain stateful sequences, such as transmit power settings that include high, medium, and low power states. In this case, the PMC must have three channel selector buttons available to display this sequence (one for each state). If three channel selector buttons are not available, none of the states display.
Note Be aware that the PMC must have a sufficient number of channel selector buttons available to display all configured states that have been defined for a stateful control sequence. If there is an insufficient number of channel selector buttons to display all of the configured states for a stateful control sequence, the PMC does not display that stateful sequence control at all.
•Enable momentary controls on a tone-controlled radio— Momentary tones begin to play when you press the associated button. After you press a momentary control button, the button appears to be pressed momentarily before it appears raised again.
•Transmission of momentary signaling tones—Signaling tones send audio to the radio and transmit over the air. These tones broadcast over the radio by using RFC tones and events.
User Radio Permissions
The system administrator manages the association between radios and PMC users to enable user access to the assigned radio(s). When a radio channel is associated with a PMC user, that channel displays on the PMC client; user access to the individual radio channel selector buttons that display on the PMC depends on the specific permissions that the system administrator configures for these buttons.
•The administrator can select the level of permission that pertains to each individual radio channel selector button, which may consist of channel selector buttons, control buttons, or signal buttons. The PMC can display a maximum of nine buttons per radio channel. The labels for these buttons may be configured by the system administrator.
•Because channel permissions are configured separately from radio channel selector button permissions, PMC users who have access to a radio may be able to use all, or only some, of the channel selector buttons.
•If the system administrator does not configure any radio channel selector buttons for a user, the user is able to listen to the channel but is not able to change the channels or control the radio.
Radio Console Skin
The 36-channel radio console skin provides support for up to six regions (radio views) with six radio channels in each region and a maximum of nine radio channel selector buttons per radio channel. Each one of these buttons represents a different channel (frequency), such that switching channels allows you to tune to another frequency. These channel selector buttons are exclusive, in that you can tune to only one channel at a time. The audio that you transmit and receive occurs over the specific channel (frequency) to which the radio is currently tuned.
When you press any radio channel selector button, the PMC transmits the configured tone control sequence over the radio channel. This action may tune the radio receive function and allow you to begin your transmission. These tones flow as encoded packets in the audio stream; that is, they transmit on the same multicast or SIP channel that is used by the audio path for the radio channel. At the LMR gateway, the packets are converted into audible tones and output via the configured ear and mouth (E&M) interface to the physical radio.
The PMC may also display certain momentary control buttons, such as a paging tone, and momentary signaling buttons. Paging tones are considered momentary tones in that they begin to play when you press the associated button. Be aware that pressing more than one paging tone button simultaneously may yield unpredictable results.
Note The server tone descriptor configuration defines momentary controls and the signals that transmit over the air. These tones and signals can be associated with one or more Cisco IPICS channels. Unlike momentary controls, signals do not cause the radio to change configuration; instead, signals are treated like voice and transmitted over the currently-tuned radio channel frequency.
In this release, only the PMC can interoperate with and control the radios. To support this usage, the PMC radio skin allows PMC users to dynamically switch among up to six different radio views (regions) by using the tabs that display along the right side of the skin. All radio channels can be seen via a summary list that displays along the left side of the skin. This functionality provides the benefit of enabling radio users to simultaneously monitor multiple channels.
Tip To talk on a radio channel, you can either click the channel that displays in full view or the channel name that displays in the summary list. To talk on multiple radio channels at the same time, select the channels that you want to talk on and click the All Talk button. Alternatively, you can check the multiselect check box. For more information about the multiselect feature, see the "Selecting One or More Channels and Using the All Talk Channel" section.
The server configuration determines the order in which the PMC displays the radio channel selector buttons on the PMC. An associated indicator displays next to the currently selected channel selector button so that you know which one is in use. This indicator is dynamic; as you change your channel selection, the indicator illuminates to reflect the currently selected channel.
Note The type of radio functionality that the PMC supports may vary depending on the individual radio type, model, and descriptor information.
For information about how to configure your PMC for the 36-channel radio console, see the "Configuring the PMC Skins" section. For information about radio skin caveats, see the "Radio Skin Caveats" section.
Tone-Controlled Radio Caveats
Be aware of the following caveats, which pertain to the use of tone-controlled radio channels on the PMC:
•The server configuration determines the order in which the PMC displays the radio channel selector buttons. There is currently no provision to enable reordering or sorting of these buttons.
•Each channel in a radio channel inherits the volume, spatial positioning, VAD, preferred codec, and RX mute during PTT settings from the radio channel. There is currently no provision to enable individual settings.
•The secure indicator is set based on the security setting of the radio channel itself and not on the individual channel selector buttons.
•The voice replay feature records and plays back any audio that is played out to the speakers across radio channels. That is, the voice replay feature records and plays back audio according to the channel that was tuned (active) at the time of capture. The voice replay feature does not track or provide indication of the channel that was active when the audio was received.
•In certain situations, performing one or more simultaneous operations on the same radio may result in unpredictable results:
–If two PMC users simultaneously attempt to change channels on the same radio, the radio may not change channels and transmissions may be mixed from other speaker(s), or the radio may change to a different channel than either of the channels that were selected.
–If a PMC user presses a channel selector button and another user presses a different channel selector button before the first user presses the PTT button to talk, the transmission may be sent over an unintended frequency if the first user does not reselect the channel selector button.
–If a PMC user begins to transmit while another user attempts to change channels on the same radio, transmission may occur in the channel that was selected by the second user. Or, the channel may not actually be changed but the tone control sequence sent by the attempted channel change may transmit. In this case, the PMC may incorrectly represent the channel that is currently selected.
–If a PMC user tries to change the active channel on the radio at the same time that a voice transmission is being received, the physical radio channel may not change, depending on network and radio configurations. However, because the PMC cannot detect if the radio channel actually changed, the PMC may incorrectly reflect that the channel has been changed even if it has not been changed. When the user next presses the PTT button, while no transmission is being received, the radio will tune to the channel that the user last selected.
–If a conflict causes the LMR gateway to not generate tones, even though PMC users are transmitting, the low level guard tone may not be present. In this situation, user transmissions may not flow over the radio network.
•Scan mode behavior on the PMC depends on the specific radio configuration. When you use the scan functionality and press the PTT button, the PMC may not be able to accurately detect the frequency that is currently tuned. In this case, the scan functionality may stop or continue and transmission may be sent over an unintended frequency.
•When you press a channel selector button, the function tone may change the state of one or more controls at the same time, depending on the configuration.
•When you connect the PMC by using SIP, radio functionality is limited because the RMS does not pass the RFC tones. Instead, the RFC 2198 and RFC 2833 packets sent by PMC clients get translated by the RMS loopback interface into audible inband tones. These tones may cause the physical radio to retune.
•Intermixing SIP-based (remote) PMC users with local (multicast) users on the same radio may cause the following issues:
–Control and signaling tones that are normally not audible to multicast users may become audible to participants in VTGs and those who are connected remotely. This situation can cause some tones to play out for the entire duration of the audio.
–Controls that are sent inband because of an RMS loopback, which is used for communications between SIP multicast/VTGs, cannot be properly recognized by multicast users or other SIP users.
–Radio control tones can traverse radio channel VTGs and tune radios that they were not intended for.
–PMC clients that are in different locations (or the same location for SIP-based users) may not be able to properly reflect radio state changes.
–Although more than nine channel selector buttons, controls, and/or signals can be assigned to a radio channel, the PMC radio skin displays only the first nine.
–The radio skin does not provide for visual distinction between channel selectors, radio controls, and signal buttons.
–The PMC channel control and signal buttons do not change to reflect the currently selected channel. Therefore, a signal (such as a page) could be transmitted over an unintended channel.
–When a non-radio skin is used for an assigned radio channel, the skin does not provide access to the channel selector buttons or radio controls.
–Radio controls that toggle by using the same tone sequence cannot be reliably detected because the starting or current state of the control cannot be determined.
–There is no correlation between radio controls and channel selection. That is, pressing a channel selector button on one radio is sent only to that radio.
Using the Voice Replay Feature
Cisco IPICS supports the ability for the PMC to maintain a rolling history of voice transmissions, on a per-channel basis. With this feature, the PMC constantly records the aggregate inband voice transmissions that are played out on a channel. It then buffers the audio in talk spurts that are based on detected aggregate silence; this buffering occurs on a per-channel basis so that each channel maintains its own recording buffer. (A talk spurt occurs after a period of silence.) If two or more PMC users talk at the same time, the system detects silence only after both users stop talking.
In playback mode, the PMC mixes live and buffered (recorded) audio so that you can talk and play audio on the same channel at the same time. In this mixed audio mode, the PMC records only live audio.
When the PMC replays buffered audio, it simultaneously receives and buffers new audio. The new audio gets added to the buffer and the existing audio get pushed toward the end of the buffer. The PMC mixes the new audio with the buffered playback.
Note The PMC compresses and buffers these voice transmissions in the memory of the PMC client machine. The size of the voice replay buffer is 60 seconds per channel (the playback window size is not configurable; it is the same for all channels). Be aware that Cisco IPICS does not provide support for these voice transmissions to be saved to a file.
To enable this feature, the PMC includes the following voice replay controls that allow you to choose to jump back (rewind) or jump ahead (fast forward) to available recorded transmissions for playback on one or more channels.
Note Upon activation of a channel, the voice replay controls display on the lower half of the PMC channel when there is audio in the buffer; when there is no audio in the buffer, the voice replay controls appear dimmed on the PMC.
•Jump back—Click this button to enter voice replay mode. The PMC rewinds the voice transmission 7 seconds or to the beginning of the current talk spurt, whichever number is less. The PMC mixes the audio so that it plays out the buffered audio at the same time that it plays out live audio. You can click this button again to jump back an additional 7 seconds from the current playback position or you can continue to click this button until the PMC reaches the end of the voice buffer.
When you click the jump back button, the voice replay indicator displays the amount of the replay buffer that remains and the jump ahead button becomes enabled so that you can click it to fast forward to another point in the buffer.
Tip You must click the jump back, or rewind, button to enter voice replay mode and play out the available, recorded audio.
•Jump ahead—Click this button to fast forward the voice buffer by 5 seconds or to the beginning of the next talk spurt, whichever is less. Each click of this button, fast forwards the recording by another 5 seconds. If there is no available recorded audio to play, the PMC exits voice replay mode.
Tip When you click the jump back, or rewind, button, the PMC starts playout of the recorded audio and enables the jump forward button. Because the voice recording buffer contains only a small amount of data (60 seconds per channel), the PMC quickly reaches the end of the buffer and automatically disables the jump forward button. Therefore, the jump forward button may appear enabled for a limited amount of time. When you continuously and repetitiously click the jump back button, you may see the jump forward button flash as the PMC continues to enable and disable this button.
•Voice replay indicator—This indicator displays as an illuminated line that progresses during voice replay mode.
•Graphical display of buffered talk spurts—The PMC displays a graph that indicates that audio is being recorded.
Voice Replay Caveats
The following caveats pertain to the voice replay feature:
•The voice replay feature may stop playing if you change the spatial position setting while you are using this functionality. Therefore, make sure that you do not change the spatial position setting at the same time that you are using the voice replay feature.
•The PMC detects aggregate silence; it does not record audio during periods of silence.
•The PMC does not buffer individual audio streams. Instead, the PMC buffers the aggregate voice transmission (per channel) that is being played out to the speaker or headphone so that each channel maintains its own recording buffer.
•The total buffered audio is comprised of the last one minute of actual, incoming traffic that occurred on the channel.
•The PMC uses dynamically allocated memory to temporarily store the buffered audio. The PMC does not support saving the buffered audio to disk or other permanent storage.
•Because the PMC stores the voice replay buffers in memory on the PMC client machine, you lose access to your original voice replay buffers when you change PMC client machines. If the PMC client machine that you use has less than the required amount of memory, the voice replay feature may not be available or each voice replay buffer may be smaller (with a shorter voice replay time period). If you close your PMC or deactivate your channels and then restart the PMC, the voice replay buffer is emptied and no longer available.
•Any live audio that is received while the PMC is in voice replay mode will move the earlier audio toward the back of the audio buffer, where it will be eventually discarded when the maximum buffer size has been reached.
•The voice replay feature records only inband audio packets; it does not buffer DTMF tones or other tones that are not inband.
•Your ability to hear buffered audio while transmitting depends on the "RX Mute on PTT" setting on the channel. If you latched multiple channels or if you clicked the All Talk channel, the most restrictive "RX Mute on PTT" setting prevails for all channels. For more information about this setting, see the "Configuring the Channels Menu Options" section.
•When you use the radio skin, the voice replay feature records and plays back any audio that is played out to the speakers across radio channels. That is, the voice replay feature records and plays back audio according to the channel selector button that was tuned (active) at the time of capture. The voice replay feature does not track or provide indication of the channel selector button that was active when the audio was received.
This section provides information about traffic and channel traffic activity interactions; it includes the following topics:
•Channel Traffic Activity Interaction
•User Channel Activity Interaction
The PMC supports the display of channel traffic activity (receive and transmit) along with the ability to tune in and tune out of the channel itself.
Note To show traffic activity, the PMC provides graphical indicators, depending on the skin that you use. For instance, all skins include a receive indicator that blinks green when you receive traffic. Some of the skins, such as the radio skin and the touch screen skins, also include a transmit indicator that blinks red to indicate that you are transmitting traffic. See Table 4-2 for more information.
See Figure 1-1 and Figure 1-2 for illustrations of the 18-channel advanced console skin and the 36-channel radio console skin and the location of the graphical indicators.
Although the PMC skins may be configured to define the actual colors that are used, the Cisco standard defines the following conventions for the receive and transmit indicators:
Table 4-2 Channel Traffic Activity Indicators
Channel Traffic Activity Indicator
This graphical indicator illuminates and blinks green when you receive traffic. This indicator remains illuminated, in a solid color format, for several seconds after the receive transmission has ended to let you know that the voice traffic has stopped. This indicator also provides an indication of recent activity on a channel.
Note Be sure to monitor the receive indicator for PMC traffic so that you do not talk over other Cisco IPICS users. When the receive indicator shows activity, you are receiving traffic. If you talk while you are receiving traffic, you are likely not being heard.
The PTT channel button highlights and changes color to indicate that you are transmitting traffic.
The touch screen skins and the radio skin include a graphical indicator that blinks red when you transmit traffic.
Note If you mute your microphone after you have clicked or latched the PTT button, the PTT channel button returns to a dimmed state; this change indicates that you are not transmitting traffic. When you unmute your microphone, the PTT channel button changes color to indicate that you are once again in transmit mode.
These graphical indicators provide useful visual aids that enable clear identification of the PMC traffic streams. When you are talking, you should monitor the receive indicator to see if it is blinking. If the receive indicator is blinking, you may be talking over another user. If you encounter this situation, release the PTT button to listen to the user who is talking. To be sure that a user has stopped talking, wait for the receive indicator to display in a solid color format for a few seconds before you start to talk.
Examples of how these indicators may appear are shown below:
•The channel may blink green when it receives traffic from the network.
•The channel may change color when there is PTT transmission while the PTT control is activated. Or, if there is a graphical indicator for transmit activity, the channel may blink red when there is PTT transmission while the PTT control is activated.
•When receive traffic activity displays, a graphical indicator reveals that traffic has occurred in the past on this channel; this feedback clears after about five seconds.
Channel Traffic Activity Interaction
The following information describes the channel traffic activity interaction:
•Both the channel name and the traffic activity feedback can be mapped to the PTT button in the server. This allows both of these indicators to display as part of the PTT button itself.
•Cisco IPICS supports implicit floor control; that is, when the PMC wants to have the floor, the PMC assumes that the user will wait until there is no incoming traffic to enter transmit mode.
•The Cisco IPICS server has the ability to administratively stop the transmission of traffic onto a channel on a per-channel basis; in this situation, all transmission terminates immediately.
User Channel Activity Interaction
Your ability to view and use channels on the PMC depends on your user status.
•You can only view and use those channels that the dispatcher has assigned to you.
•You can choose to turn on any of the assigned PTT channels by clicking the Activate button on the PMC.
•If you activate and deactivate channels on the PMC while you are actively using one of the channels, the audio on the channel that you are actively using may become distorted.
•Channels that appear in blueprint mode on the PMC indicate that the channel/VTG is available and waiting for you to activate.
•If your ability to transmit on a channel has been disabled by the server, you will not be able to activate the channel (none of the buttons will appear) and the channel appears dimmed. (When the channel appears dimmed, the PMC is not transmitting traffic.)
•When a channel is disabled, the channel appears dimmed and none of the PMC buttons appear so that you cannot activate the channel. However, you can still view the channel or VTG label, if one was configured in the server.
•A channel that is unassigned appears on the PMC as completely empty, with no buttons and no channel name. You cannot activate or use an unassigned channel.
•If there is no traffic activity after a 30 minute interval, channels that are activated via a SIP-based remote connection may be deactivated by the system. The PMC will automatically reactivate the connection after 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can reactivate the channel by clicking the Activate button on the PMC.
Note When SIP-based remote connections fail, the PMC displays a visual indicator in the form of a yellow triangle next to the channel. For more information, see the "Identifying Channel Activation Issues" section.
•To connect your PMC via a SIP-based remote connection, make sure that the PMC can establish connectivity to the RMS. (The PMC connects to the RMS by using the IP address of the Loopback0 interface that is assigned to the RMS.) If the PMC cannot establish connectivity to the RMS, PMC users may experience channel activation issues (such as fast busy) when they attempt to use a SIP-based remote connection.
To determine the IP address of the RMS, access the Settings > Channels menu in the PMC application. (If you cannot determine the IP address of the RMS, contact your system administrator for assistance.) Click a remote connection channel to highlight it; then, scroll down the Channel Properties to the SIP Proxy field to find the IP address of the RMS for the associated channel.
For more information about the Channels menu, see the "Configuring the Channels and Advanced Settings" section. For more information about troubleshooting the RMS, see the "Troubleshooting PMC Connectivity Issues with the RMS" section.
•Configuring the PMC Skins
Logging Out of the PMC Application
You can log out of the PMC application in either of the following ways:
•Click the Menu button; then, click Exit.
•Right-click in the PMC interface; then, from the PMC menu, click Exit.
•Click the "X" that is located at the top right corner of the PMC to close the application.
Where to Find More Information
•Cisco IPICS Server Administration Guide, Release 2.1(1)