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New Phone System Help

I've been trying to get information on what to get for a new phone system, but both Cisco, and Cisco partners are being unhelpful. I guess they don't want my money. Anyways...

I'm looking at a UC560.

Does this come with CME?

Here's my scenario:

Cisco 2821 Advanced IP IOS 124-24.T3.

100 staff

30-45 phones. (Our staff share phones)

Currently 5 different lines, possibly going to high as 10.

1Gb backbone switched network using Catalyst 2960.

We want to be able to use Cisco Mobile 8.1 on our iPhones.

Any suggestions?

It's so hard finding information for these things, even when I do contact a partner!

Rising star

Hi Nick

In the interests of being a Cisco partner that does try to assist , here's a few pointers:

1. A UC560 does indeed run CME. It's a bundle of IOS, CME, CUE (voicemail), 8 PoE ports and also analog / digital interfaces depending on the model chosen. The UC560 can support up to 104 handsets / users. 

2. On this note, your 2821 can also run CME (simply with the purchase of the CME Software and some additional modules) and can support up to 48 handsets.

Both the UC560 and 2821 can support a variety of interfaces to connect to external lines incuding analog (FXS, FXO and E&M) and digital (ISDN PRI and BRI). No issue with supporting 10 incoming calls on either platform.

Net result, you'll need to decide whether you want to run CME (and possibly Unity Express) on you current 2821, or purchase a new UC560. My gut feeling (without doing the maths) is that it will probably be cheaper to go with the UC560 as you'll may need additional DRAM /flash on the 2821, you'll need a new software license, Unity Express module, DSPs etc.

CME 8.6 supports the iPhone software client, so you will need to ensure that you get the correct software image on your 2821 / UC560 depending on which way you go.

The 2960 is a suitable platform for running this size of network. There are various models available with PoE, gigabit uplinks etc. It has no layer 3 switching support, so you'll need another device to route between your VLANs which can either be an additional layer 3 switch (3560 or higher) or the CME router itself. Be careful of running high layer 3 traffic through a CME box. I've seen calls dropped when one of my esteemed colleagues started copying multi gigabit VMware images around when the CME Router was doing the layer 3.

HTH. If you need any more details, post back here.



Good post and answer.  One minor tweak.  The UC560 has GE expansion ports (up to 3) for POE Switch attachment (ESW series currently recommended with SG300 on the horizon after its next Firmware update.  None of the models have switch POE ports (UC540 does but thats limited at 6 concurrent calls to CUE (AA or voicemail) so not a good fit).

Phone selection matters.  UC560 SWP runs CME 8.1 so 89xx, 99xx endpoints not yest supported.  Next SW Pack update will be near July and should then accomodate these phones with its CME update.

Here is the platform reference guide...

Also, keep in mind that UC5xx is managed with Cisco COnfiguration Assistant (CCA) and not supported with CLI.

If you want to go the CLI only route with it, you can with Express, Advanced, or Master UC Specialization.


Thanks for that Barry, very detailed.

I'm thinking of getting the UC560 instead of incorporating it with my router. I think keeping them separate in terms of functionality will allow me to administer the network better. As well as the things you listed with buying new things for my router.

We've just recently purchased the 2821, so buying a new router isn't so much a solution.

All this is swirling around my head. I've got an early estimate of gear, handsets, and licenses is around 13,000, that's just pricing from online retailers.

I've looked up and have read that it is possible to implement a UC5xx into an existing network. But I'm just a bit hesitant because I know the UC wants to be the router, but I have a router for that, and we're looking at more complex internet connections and bandwidth sharing, along with OER and load-balancing, I'm not sure if the UC5xx could handle that complexity. And besides, I configured it from the ground up. So it's my baby.


The reason I'm looking at the 560 is because of our rapid expansion of staff. We're a non-profit in Australia and currently do a lot of work in Papua New Guinea and the Outback of Australia. And we're very committed to our communication. So this is allows us to grow and expand as needed.

My current phone choices are: SPA301, SPA303 (for the majority of staff), and SPA525G2.
Right now we have an old Nortel analog system. Each staff has a one-line phone (except for Reception). 

We're also getting two 24-port POE 2960's. So that will accommodate our phones.

Thanks for your quick replies!

Are there any more recommendations? Is this UC560 underkill? Or is it just right?


Hi Nick

No problems. Glad the info was of use.

There's no issue integrating your UC5xx into your exisiting network. It will only route the traffic that you want it to through your configuration. I certainly wouldn't use it for advanced routing features like OER and GSLB. Use your 28xx as the main layer 3 device and add routes for the voice subnet(s) that you create pointing at the UC5xx.

In terms of the suitability of the UC5xx for what you mention; no issues. You will need CME 8.6 on the UC5xx to support the iPhone client, however these days CME has the vast majority of the functions that CUCM does for small to medium size environments. Most of the differences now between CME and CUCM relate to Enterprise class deployments and interworking multiple CUCM clusters / customer environments seamlessly. Indeed, CME can actually do some stuff that CUCM can't including integrated paging groups, customisable system message on phones etc.

HTH. Barry


CME 8.1 is onUC500 today.


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