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Chalk Talk: An Insight to Cisco VPN Phone


In today’s world, organizations are striving to stay connected with  their employees. With businesses going 24X7, no organization can afford  to have employees disconnected from the enterprise network and not able  to access corporate voice or data resources. Understanding that modern  day organizations need secure connectivity for their remote employees as  well as telecommuters, Cisco has come out with the concept of VPN  client on physical Cisco Unified IP Phone. Yes, you read it right, it’s  an SSL client installed on a Cisco IP Phone that enables remote  workforce and on-the-go employees to get access to corporate UC  resources.

Cisco VPN Phone Overview

This new feature is  called Cisco VPN Phone, and it leverages Cisco AnyConnect SSL client  built into an IP phone’s firmware to connect to enterprise edge firewall  (Cisco ASA). Cisco VPN Phone feature has numerous benefits,such as:

  • No additional hardware is required by the end-user except for the IP Phone itself.
  • Cisco Unified IP Phone with Cisco VPN client can get online from wherever Internet access is available.
  • Cisco VPN Phone feature is supported with both Cisco ASA and Cisco IOS routers.
  • Cisco  VPN Phone can secure voice and video media along with IP Phone service  traffic. This gives additional flexibility to go from a voice-only call  to a video call. VPN tunnel applies only to voice, video, and IP phone  services. The PC connected to PC port is responsible for authenticating  and establishing its own tunnel with VPN client software (Split  Tunneling)
  • All settings are configured via CUCM administration, thereby providing ease of administration.

Figure 1 gives an overview of Cisco VPN Phone solution:


Figure 1: Cisco VPN Phone Overview

The  Cisco Unified IP Phone creates an AnyConnect-based SSL tunnel to Cisco  ASA, where all voice pertinent data is sent into the tunnel, whereas all  regular data (non-voice traffic) is sent directly to the internet  (split-tunnel) for the PC connected behind the IP Phone. When the  SSL-tunneled data reaches Cisco ASA, matching the tunnel group, it  decrypts the traffic and sends unencrypted traffic to CUCM (signaling as  SCCP) and to the IP Phone within enterprise (media as RTP).

Cisco VPN Phone Configuration Prerequisites

There  are certain pre-requisites that must be met before Cisco VPN Phone can  be configured on a Cisco ASA and subsequently on a CUCM cluster. Cisco  VPN Phone client is supported on 7942G, 7945G, 7962G, 7965G, 7975G, and  99xx and 89xx series IP phones.

For a list of phones  supported with your CUCM version, you can check Feature: Virtual Private  Network Client from CUCM Administration GUI > Cisco Unified  Reporting > System Reports > Unified CM Phone Feature List >  Generate a new report option.

The minimum requirements for support Cisco VPN Phone are as following:

  • CUCM version 8.0.1 or above are supported.
  • IP Phone SCCP firmware version 9.0(2) SR1S or later
  • Cisco ASA IOS 8.0.4 or later
  • Anyconnect VPN Pkg 2.4.1012 or later
  • Two  licenses,  i.e. a premium AnyConnect license and AnyConnect for Cisco  VPN Phone license is required for Cisco ASA. The part number for  AnyConnect for Cisco VPN Phone is L-ASA-AC-PH-55XX (55XX is firewall  model number such as 5505, 5510, 5580 and so on).

Detailed Steps to Configure Cisco VPN Phone

Step 1.  Ensure that ASA Security Appliance Software version is 8.0(2) or greater

UCASA# show version

Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance Software Version 8.2(2)99 Device Manager Version 6.3(1)

Step 2. Confirm ASA is licensed for Cisco AnyConnect VPN Phone and AnyConnect Software 2.0 or greater is installed in flash.

UCASA#show disk0:

<output ommited>

140 2154944 Mar 18 2013 03:38:06 anyconnect- win-3.1.00495-k9.pkg

Step 3. Generate self signed certificate on cisco ASA.

UCASA (config)# crypto key generate rsa label vpnphone

UCASA (config)# crypto ca trustpoint asatrust

UCASA (config)# encrollment self

UCASA (config)# fqdn

UCASA (config)# subject-name

UCASA (config)# keypair vpnphone

UCASA (config)# crypto ca enroll asatrust noconfirm

UCASA (config)# ssl trust-point asatrust outside

Step 4. Enable AnyConnect access on the interface that will terminate SSL VPN Connections.

UCASA (config)# webvpn

UCASA(config-webvpn)# enable outside

UCASA(config-webvpn)# svc enable

Step 5. Create a VPN Pool for assigning the VPN Phones unique IP addresses.

UCASA(config)# ip local pool SSLPool - mask

Step 6. Create a Group Policy, which specifies the configuration parameters  that will be applied to the clients when they connect to Cisco ASA.

UCASA(config)# group-policy SSLVPNPhone internal

UCASA(config)# group-policy SSLVPNPhone attributes

UCASA(config-group-policy)# dns-server value

UCASA(config-group-policy)# vpn-tunnel-protocol svc

UCASA(config-group-policy)# default-domain value

UCASA(config-group-policy)# address-pools value SSLPool

Step 7. Create a Connection Profile and Tunnel Group for the AnyConnect Client Connections, and assign an alias.

UCASA(config)# tunnel-group SSLPhone type remote-access

UCASA(config)# tunnel-group SSLPhone general-attributes

UCASA(config-tunnel-general)# default-group-policy SSLVPNPhone

UCASA(config-tunnel-general)# tunnel-group SSLPhone webvpn-attributes

UCASA(config-tunnel-webvpn)# group-alias SSLPhoneClient enable

UCASA(config-tunnel-webvpn)# group-url enable

Step 8. Enable alias/tunnel group selection for SSL VPN Connections.

UCASA(config-tunnel-webvpn)# webvpn

UCASA(config-webvpn)# tunnel-group-list enable

Step 9. Add user(s) to ASA local DB or use the  TACACS+/RADIUS backend (if available).

UCASA(config)# username vpnclient password C1sc0123

UCASA(config)# username vpnclient attributes

UCASA(config-username)# service-type remote-access

Step 10. Export the ASA crypto certificate and save it as a .pem file on your laptop/PC.

UCASA(config)# crypto ca export vpnphone identity-certificate

The PEM encoded identity certificate follows:


<output omitted>


Step 11. Upload the ASA Certificate on CUCM.

    1. Go to Cisco Unified OS Administration > Security/Certificate Management
    2. Select "Upload Certificate"
    3. Upload the ASA certificate to "Phone-VPN-Trust"


Figure 2: Cisco ASA to CUCM Certificate Upload

Step 12. Go to CUCM Administration > Advanced Features > VPN > VPN  Gateway. Select the certificate that was uploaded earlier from ASA to  CUCM, and ensure it’s listed under VPN gateway certificates.


Figure 3: CUCM VPN Gateway Configuration

Step 13. Go to CUCM Administration > Advanced Features > VPN > VPN  Group. Under VPN Gateway Information, add the VPN Gateway created  earlier.


Figure 4: CUCM VPN Group Configuration

Step 14. Go to CUCM Administration > Advanced Features > VPN > VPN  Profile. Ensure that the client authentication method is set to ‘user  and password’ (similar to what was configured in Cisco ASA).


Figure 5: CUCM VPN Profile Configuration

Step 15. Go to CUCM Administration > Device > Device Settings > Common  Phone Profile. Assign ‘Common Phone Profile’ to VPN phone.

Cisco  VPN Phone configuration is now complete. After connecting the phone  from within the enterprise environment, the IP Phone can be handed over  to the user. The end user has multiple options to connect to VPN on  Cisco Unified IP Phone:

  • The user can select between VPN client (mode) enabled or disabled in the phone menu.
  • With  disabled mode on the VPN client; the phone makes no attempt to create a  VPN connection and proceeds with the standard startup sequence.
  • With  enabled mode on the VPN client (and auto-network detection) the phone  tries to detect the type of network and attempts to initiate a VPN  connection only if the phone is outside of the enterprise network i.e.  on a public network.
  • With enabled mode on the VPN client and  auto-network detection disabled the phone attempts to initiate a VPN  connection. This allows the VPN connection to be established within the  secure enterprise network.

The following figure gives an overview of user end configuration to initiate a VPN connection from IP Phone:


Figure 6: End USer VPN Phone -- VPN Connection Initiation


Cisco  VPN Phone is a promising feature that is easy to deploy and maintain.  It gives end users the flexibility to connect to the enterprise network  and leverage voice resources from anywhere; wherever there is Internet  connectivity. Moreover, it’s a solution that replaces older Phone Proxy  and the need to have a VPN client side hardware, thereby reducing  complexity of deploying a remote worker solution and helping lower  costs.

Author's Biography


Akhil Behl is a Solutions Architect with Cisco Services, focusing on Cisco   Collaboration and Security Architectures. He leads collaboration and   security projects and service delivery worldwide for Cisco Services and   the Collaborative Professional Services (CPS) portfolio. He's played   major role in service conception and creation for various services   within Cisco Advanced Services. He has Pre-Sales to Sales to   Professional Services to Delivery to Post Sales experience with   expertise in Consulting, Advisory, and Guidance services. He has   extensive experience in Borderless, Collaboration and Data Center   portfolio. Prior to his current role, he spent ten years working in   various roles at Linksys as a Technical Support Lead, as an Escalation   Engineer at Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC), and as a Network   Consulting Engineer in Cisco Advanced Services.

Akhil   has a bachelor of technology degree in electronics and   telecommunications from IP University and a master’s degree in business   administration from Symbiosis Institute. He is dual Cisco Certified   Internetwork Expert CCIE # 19564 in Voice and Security. He also holds   many other industry certifications, such as PMP, ITIL, VCP, ISM, CCNA,   CCSP, CCVP, ISO/IEC 27002, TOGAF and CEH.

Over the   course of his career, he has presented and contributed at various   industry forums such as Enterprise Connect, Cloud Connect, Cloud  Summit,  Interop, Cisco Networkers, and SecCon. He has several research  papers  published in various national and international journals  including IEEE.

He is an avid blogger and maintains a blog on Unified Communications Security -


Securing Cisco IP Telephony Networks


Networking Technology: IP Communications

Published: Aug 31, 2012

Copyright 2012

  • ISBN-10: 1-58714-295-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-1-58714-295-6

Published by Cisco Press

This article is featured in the December 2013 issue of the Cisco TS Newsletter. Are you subscribed?

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