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Cisco Intercompany Media Engine for Dummies Section 2: 12 Key Properties

Cisco Employee

In our last blog we talked about the challenges of an “Open and Secure” Business to Business federation and how Cisco Intercompany Media Engine (IME) is aimed at solving those problems. One of the main goals of Cisco IME was to enable IP based SIP Federation and make it incrementally deployable on the existing communications infrastructure and thus it was important that Cisco IME defined a set of properties listed below that needed to be associated with the solution.

  1. Works with Numbers:  IME enables federation for existing PSTN numbers. It does not require users or administrators to know or configure email-style identifiers.  It does not require the allocation of new numbers. It does not require a change in user behaviors. Whatever way users were dialing numbers      yesterday, works with IME tomorrow.

  1. Works with Existing Endpoints:  IME does not require any changes to phones. Consequently, it works with existing SIP endpoints, or with non-IP endpoints connected through  gateways.

  1. Fully Distributed:  IME does not require any kind of central authority or provider.  A domain wishing to utilize IME just deploys  it, on its own.  IME utilizes the existing PSTN and existing Internet connectivity the domain already has, and by combining them, achieves inter-domain federation.  Domains do not need to wait for their service providers to roll out any kind of new features, databases, or  functionality.

  1. Verified Mappings:  The biggest issue in mapping from a phone number to a domain or IP address is determining whether the mapping is correct.  Does that domain really own the given phone number? IME provides a secure mapping in a fully distributed way and guarantees that phone calls cannot be misrouted or numbers stolen.


  1. Worldwide:  IME works worldwide.  Any domain that is connected to both the PSTN and the Internet can participate.  It doesn't matter whether the domain is  in Africa, the Americas, or Australia. Since IME does not depend on availability of any regional services beyond IP and PSTN access - both of which are already available globally - IME itself is globally available.


  1. Unlimited Scale:  IME has nearly infinite scale. Any number of domains can participate, yet provides ways for participants to policy control the domains that they intend to federate with.

  1. Self-Scale: This means that the amount computation, memory, and bandwidth that a domain must deploy scales in direct proportion to the size of their own user base.

  1. Self-Learning:  IME is completely automated.  A domain never, ever has to configure any information about another domain.  It never has to provision IP addresses, domain names, certificates, phone number prefixes or routing rules.  Without any prior coordination, IME enables one domain to connect to a different domain.

  1. Automated Anti-Spam: IME comes with a built-in mechanism for preventing VoIP spam. This mechanism is new, and specific to VoIP. This new technique is fully automated, and requires no configuration by administrators and no participation from end users.


  1. Designed for the Modern Internet:  IME is built to run on the modern Internet.  It assumes the worst from everyone. It assumes limited connectivity. It assumes network failures.  It assumes there are attackers seeking to eavesdrop calls. Security is built-in and cannot be disabled.

  1. Reliable:  IME is reliable.  Through its hybridization of the PSTN and the Internet, it makes sure that calls always go through. Indeed,      to route a call between domains A and B, IME never depends on a server or service anywhere outside of domains A and B (besides vanilla PSTN and IP access) being operational.

  1. Feature Velocity:  IME enables direct SIP connections between two domains seeking to federate.  There are no SIP intermediaries of any sort between the two. This means that domains have no dependencies on intermediaries for deployment of new features.

More about how IME works – watch for it week of January 4.

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***** Background on this "for Dummies" series *****

There has been a lot of excitement and interest in the Cisco Intercompany Media Engine since it was announced on November 9, 209.  To help address the many questions, Wade Hamblin and I from the product team are posting a "for Dummies' blog every 2 weeks or so to explain the basics and help you understand what it is, how it works, and why you should care.  We encourage you to ask questions and make this interactive.  Let us know if you want us to dive into any specifics in more detail.

Also, since this is a series we encourage you to subscribe to the RSS feed:


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