APIC-EM Controller Overview
The APIC-EM Controller provides a centralized system for managing network traffic so that you always have the bandwidth to maintain communications, even in congested networks. You can configure Cisco Unified Communications Manager to use the APIC-EM Controller to manage SIP media flows thereby providing the following benefits:
Centralizes QoS management, thereby eliminating the need for endpoints to assign DSCP values.
Applies differential QoS treatment for different media flows. For example, you can prioritize audio over video to ensure that basic audio communication is always maintained, even when network bandwidth is low.
External QoS setting in the SIP Profile allows you to target which users will use the APIC-EM. For example, you may have Cisco Jabber users use the APIC-EM to manage media flows, while Cisco Unified IP Phone users use the DSCP settings in Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
SIP Media Flow Management
For SIP calls that use APIC-EM, Cisco Unified Communications Manger sends the policy request to the APIC-EM Controller at the call outset notifying the APIC-EM of the media flow that is being set up. The policy request contains information about the call, including the IP address and ports for source and destination devices, the media type for the flow and the protocol.
The APIC-EM notifies the switch at the beginning of the call flow of the DSCP values for the associated media flows. The switch inserts those DSCP values into individual media packets, overwriting any values that the endpoint inserts. If a gateway in the call flow experiences congestion, that gateway sends through the packets with the higher DSCP values first. This ensures that high priority audio and video streams are not blocked by lower-priority network traffic such as email, print jobs, or software downloads. When the call ends, Cisco Unified Communications Manager notifies the APIC-EM and the APIC-EM notifies the switch to delete the flow.
External QoS Support
In order for Cisco Unified Communications Manager to use the APIC-EM to manage media flows, the External QoS parameter must be enabled at both the system level, via a clusterwide service parameter, and at the device level, via the SIP Profile.