The existence of voice services on enterprise routing platforms has been an integral element of cisco's unified communication solution for more than a decade now. Effective in both distributed and centralized telephony designs it serves various use cases such as PSTN termination, fallback telephony, session border control, analog & digital telephony, conferencing & transcoding, and many more. Even with the introduction of cloud calling, we have seen plenty of use cases surface over the period of time as the platforms get more and more feature-rich. This does instill the need to have high-performance & resilient platforms that can handle multiple services with scalability at sight.
Part of the Catalyst 8000 Edge Platforms Family, the Catalyst 8300 edge platforms are an evolution of ISR 4400 series platforms that offer high scale unified communication services.
While there is near feature parity with ISR 4400 for voice services, there are certain key elements to the overall UC offering on these new platforms.
SD-WAN Voice Services
Cisco offers the industry’s only SD-WAN solution that provides support for unified communication. This not only helps reduce the OpEx and CapEx by eliminating the need for a second platform for unified communication but also simplifies provisioning and deployment with vManage orchestration. The Catalyst 8300 platforms being SD-WAN ready from day one fully supports the existing UC SD-WAN capabilities with IOS XE 17.3.2 and VManage 20.3.1 release.
The UC SD-WAN coverage includes
SIP SRST for fallback telephony
CUCM SIP trunking for IP to TDM / IP to analog flows
DSPFARM services for conferencing, transcoding, media termination (SCCP)
Analog voice modules (FXS/FXO)
Digital Voice PRI (T1/E1)
SIP-based T.38 fax relay , modem pass-through
High Scale IP Voice Services
The Catalyst 8300 is purpose-built for high performance and accelerated services and that reflects on to the IP voice scale coverage as well attributed to higher CPU processing power and increased default memory. In contrast to the ISR 4000 equivalents, these platforms offer unmatched high-scale coverage for IP Voice services like software media termination, SRST, and CUBE.
High Scale Modular Voice Services
Rich in modularity & equipped with two NIM / SM Slots for the 2RU variants and one NIM/SM Slot for the 1RUs, these platforms offer high scale modular voice services. The addition of the new C-SM-NIM-ADPT carrier card that converts the SM slots into two NIM slots facilitates the use of Voice NIMs at a higher scale.
Comprehensive NIM-PVDM Coverage
The NIM-PVDM DSP Voice modules are the latest addition to our DSP module family which eliminates the need for any add-on PVDM4 daughter cards for low to medium DSP voice services. Supported in both autonomous and controller mode, these newer modules are supported across all the Catalyst 8300 platforms and serve as an ideal replacement for the lack of motherboard slot DSP options.
Also, these modules offer the same DSP session capacity but at an optimum cost which is ideal for deployments that require low to medium density DSP scale.
Cloud Calling Local gateway Support
Cisco's cloud calling portfolio has pretty comprehensive coverage with both public cloud ( Webex) and private cloud ( UCM Cloud) offerings available to the customers. Our Catalyst 8300 platforms play a critical role in these deployments as these provide the customers with the flexibility of using a local PSTN breakout gateway even in a cloud calling design.
Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing
These platforms are even certified for third-party cloud calling design in Microsoft phone system direct routing for the customers who want to leverage these Cisco platforms with Microsoft Teams calling but with their own carrier and certified session border controllers. The Catalyst 8300 platforms as Cisco Unified Border element are officially certified and validated for Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing.
Overall, the new Catalyst 8300 platforms have voice feature parity with the ISR 4000 but at an improved and higher scale with more coverage for voice modules and voice services.
CME is one of the features that do not exist on these newer platforms as of writing this blog but will be added soon.