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Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Cisco,

I have never in my life been exposed to a "production" piece of equipment with so many bugs, missing features and oddities as the UC320. While I am sure many of you are working hard to reign in the problems, this platform is an utter embarrassment that should be in the preliminary alpha stages, not a channel product being sold to end users.

It is clear that Cisco has little understanding of how SMALL business works and how SMALL partners work with small business customers. A larger partner may be able to string a larger business along with promises of bug fixes and feature additions while charging them to make things right and.or padding the overall cost to account for the callbacks. True small businesses don't have the time, patience or money to deal with problematic hardware. When a partner sells a small business a piece of technology, it better work (at a reasonable cost) or the technology and the partner are out the door.

I was extremely excited when this system was announced and saw great potential for small business customers and an alternative to the Avaya Partner IP and other platforms targeted at the same demographic. I jumped in and put a UC320 in the office of one of my small customers. This whole experience has cost me the trust of a client and is going to end up costing me $3000-$4000 out of pocket (hardware, labor, travel) to make things right with the customer.

As it stands, countless hours have been spent trying to get this system to operate in a reasonably stable and productive manner. At this time the UC320 system has been reset and reconfigured in KEY mode (this time using 2.1.3(0), as the problems with steering digits, call routing and redial in "hybrid mode" made the system more than a little cumbersome to use. Now in KEY mode, caller ID only works on some stations AFTER a call is picked up. On one station, incoming calls are somehow routed to the "Phone Monitor" buttons instead of the "Shared FXO Line" buttons. The user has to press the monitor button to pick up a call, but the call does not always ring at the station so she has to watch for the lights. While the caller ID functionality is a bit better after the latest firmware update, it is still far from working properly. These basic call routing problems are not reasonable and not acceptable, period. The customer is tired of "we are working on it" and so am I.

Other problems (to mention a few):

  • The GUI is full of buggy behavior. One example if many: The impendence matching dialog only works the first time around and then the GUI loses track of what it is doing and must be reset.
  • It takes 7-10 minutes for the GUI to load to the login screen over a remote connection. The UC320 is connected to a Verizon DSL, while not blazing fast it is a decent connection. Initial GUI loading on the LAN is almost as bad.
  • The IE9 product that ships with every new Windows computer is not compatible with the GUI. This is not reasonable.
  • The AA is somewhat unpredictable with regard to picking up calls and sometimes results in a busy tone and dropped call, even if the call is the ONLY call on the system. Sometimes the prompts are garbled and sometimes the AA does not even pick up.
  • Steering digit redial issue - still not addressed. Redial on hybrid mode is useless, as is the phonebook.
  • Caller ID only works part of the time, yet on every other system I have ever used, it works 100% of the time. This is not acceptable.
  • Answered calls on shared FXO lines show as MISSED on other stations with those lines. The workaround: remove the missed calls display feature. This is not acceptable.
  • Thus UC320 is not happy unless it is the only router, DHCP and DNS client on the LAN. The grayfield implementation appears to fail no matter what LAN topology and equipment are used. This device is far from friendly to the typical SBS or existing LAN with a dedicated DNS and/or DHCP server.
  • The handsets have a cheap feel to them compared to the Avaya and other competitors phones.
  • The sound quality of the ringtones is almost laughable if not sad
  • The speakerphone quality and overall voice quality are not as good as the competition's.
  • The filtering functionality of the logging feature does not appear to work properly
  • Firmware updates often result in a HANG condition where either the GUI needs reset, the system needs a physical reset and/or sometimes defaulted
  • Firewall port forwarding rule oddities where a rule is deleted from the gui but is still active in the firewall, yet the inability to easily use another data router to work around this problem.
  • The inability of the device to properly use the LAN port for INTERNET based functionality (Time for example) if the WAN port is NOT connected,
  • countless other 'issues" raised in the support forum and other venues...

These are ALL very basic functions that one would expect to be fixed BEFORE a basic telephone system platform is released for production. It is absolutely unreasonable for a CUSTOMER to have to put up with a system this buggy and it is absolutely unreasonable for a partner to have to devote this much time and money to getting system to work at even a very basic level of functionality.

To repeat the scenario: This config is as basic as it gets running 2.1.3(0) with (3) system phones, (3) users, (2) pots trunks and that's it. There are no odd call routing scenarios, no complex AA rules or schedules (in fact the AA is defaulted, including prompts). All (3) system phones have BOTH shared FXO lines (KEY MODE). Each and every firmware version has been tried and the system has been defaulted numerous times. The system fails to meet even the most basic expectations of myself or the end user and has become a sore spot between our company and a very good client.

I am somewhat baffled, if not outright bothered by the fact that this device is riddled with so many problems and the fixes are taking so long to be implemented, if at all. I have been asked (ordered) by the customer to get this "hunk of crap" out of their office and replace it with something that works "at no additional cost". I could not agree with the customer more...

A very unhappy Cisco Partner.

William Burnett

3 ACCEPTED SOLUTIONS

Accepted Solutions
Contributor

Re: Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hey William,

I'm a pure IOS guy, only use Catalysts and IOS Routers without any problems for more than 10 years now.

The last year I was looking at the SMB products and when it comes to voice I totally agree with you!

But I don't want everyone think Cisco SMB sucks as you stated, I never experienced any problems with SG300 and 500 switches, also RV180, ISA570 firewalls and WAP121. So, there are a few products which works very well. (My experiance from the last year).

Agree that Cisco doesn't understand what SMB really is, but when you came from the IOS level and have a look to the SMB line and compare the prices, then you think "Ok, for SMB stuff this is ok". If you're an SMB guy from the beginning I totally agree with you (and many others here)

Just my 2c

Michael Please rate all helpful posts

View solution in original post

Beginner

Re: Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

To William (and Cisco,)

Honestly, I like Cisco.

I like their  "openess" (you can find documentation and help on almost anything  anywhere), the contribution they make to industry by their huge R&D  effort (more than all their competition combined....or so I've been  told...), the accessibility and responsiveness of some of their key  people in the distribution channel, and yes, I like the ecosystem in  terms of support, tons of free education and sales support for both  their SMB and classic enterprise solutions.

Having said that, I thank God for people like William  Burnett, who I am sure opened the eyes of many partners about the things  that are horrendously wrong with some of the products in the SMB  portfolio, most notably the UC320. I think it is fair to say, that  William has effectively "killed" it (the UC320) in it's present  incarnation. That is, unless Cisco, decides to really rise to the  challenge and fix a product that at first seemed ideal for the small  enterprise, but which was poorly implemented in terms of QC and in some  cases design.

We certainly are not going to be touching the UC320  with a 10ft pole now Nobody wants (or can afford to) get a bad name by  selling "trouble" to your Mom&Pop shops or to people whose trust you  worked hard to gain and who are really depending on you to deliver. Not  in this economy....not ever.

Coming from a Nortel telephony background, its really  hard to accept that having to respond to trouble calls or complaints  continuously from customers when Nortel products worked so reliably. In  fact, Nortel Norstar is so reliable as a key system that people joke ,  that's why they went out of business, they couldn't generate enough  turnover in new sales on account of people holding on to their Norstar's  forever.

As a seller/installer/user of Cisco voice (UC540) and CME there are a couple recommendations I would like to make to Cisco:

1)Private line emulation - inability to transfer or conference calls on a private line.  (using the TRUNK XX command) on the CME/UC500 platforms needs to be  significantly improved in order to keep up with the competition:

for  one, when you select a private line and make a call you cannot transfer  that call. Every other system I have worked with allows you to do this.  This for me is a glaring "defect/design flaw". I spent a lot of time  trying to get this "fixed" as I couldnt believe that Cisco would just  omit such a basic function when all their competition  has it. (You dont  even think about this when dealing with other systems.) Its just  expected.

2)Private line emulation - Inability to reflect the dialed number in the Call Detail Records for calls made via a "private line". If you select a private line on the UC500 or  CME and make a call, the dialed number would not show up in the CDR. I  have programmed systems from Nortel (Norstar, BCM,CS1000), Avaya - (IP  Office 500, Partner Plus, and S8x00 Communication Servers) as well as  various systems from Mitel and
Panasonic .  The CDR packages for these systems are very well implemented and  documented. Cisco's systems are well documented as well, but this is an  area of the implementation where Cisco falls behind the competition. I am sure this can be fixed, but for some reason, despite a number of requests, it hasnt.

In  trying to understand why it is Cisco, with such a huge R&D budget,  can't seem to get some things working properly that the competiton has  long ago solved and moved on with, I have come to the conclusion that it  must be that Cisco propably didnt tap enough of the right (human)  resources when it was developing its voice portfolio, and the lack of  industry experience shows up in some random places. Sad to say, not  paying attention to some of these details, to real world usage  scenarios, makes what would be an otherwise super product, just good  enough.

Cisco is the biggest networking vendor on  the planet. People have a right to have high exectations of Cisco. Their  marketing also conditions users and partners to expect more when using  their solutions. While we accept that no one is perfect, not even the  mighty Cisco, I think most of the complaints and dissapointment  expressed in this forum, on this particular thread, are justified  because there is a strong feeling that if Cisco can be such a  trailblazer with their enterprise portfolio, that they should have  understood the importance of ensuring and enforcing good quality control  in the design and manufacture of the SMB portfolio. I honestly hope  someone from "Corporate" or high enough to make a differnce, looks at  this thread started by William and uses it to inspire the will to fix  what needs to be fixed to redeem the UC320 in whatever incarnation, in  the eyes of its partners (even former ones....such as William)and  customers. This is beginning to look like a textbook case of how not to  do product development.

View solution in original post

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Chris,

I would argue that the never had "the edge" with Asterisk or any other SMB voice platform. The entire catalog of products (for that matter most any of the "SMB" products) have been poster children for Cisco's ham-fisted floundering in the SMB market.

RE: no firmware updates in what seems like a lifetime:

Even when the developers were in full stride, updates were few and far between at best. 

Throwing money at this platform would not have helped. It was a disaster from the onset.

View solution in original post

53 REPLIES 53
Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

William,

Thank you for the post.  We deeply regret the issues you have raised for your customer and your firm.  My team manages the UC320 and other small business voice platforms.  Please email me at rujones2@cisco.com to indicate your availability for a call next week.  The entire company is shut down this week and I want to bring in the right people into the call so we can understand what happened and how we can correct the situation.  Thank you.

Russell Jones

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform


We also experienced the problem with not being able to get phone system time without the WAN port connected. I also think this needs to be corrected with a manual tinme setting, but as a work around, we have been able to get the phone system to work as intended if you create a DMZ in the public router and connect the WAN port to it. This gives the 320 the impression it has a WAN connection, solves the upgrade and NTP problem.

I agree with several of your assertions about how the product could be improved, however I feel like you may be piling on a bit with a few of them. I also had the benefit of working with the product after some of the more recent updates that resolved some of the GUI bugs.

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

I can agree with some of what William has said.Especially:

Not being able to manually set the time.

the whole LAN/WAN integration thing with DHCP and routing, it's a pig to work with!

The rebooting after every single change, very annoying for the client.

additionally:

  • The firewall should be more comprehensive if we are being forced/encouraged to use the UC320 for routing. can't select a source address for example.
  • Infact, totally remove the router feature from the UC320, let it stick to being a phone system. There are fewer situations where having an all in one device is a benefit.
  • The directory is overly complicated and should be simplified/screens removed. Remember...this is for the sub 24 handset market.
  • When an incoming call is recieved, it would be nice to transfer the call to an extention that you select in the directory instead of having to remember everyone's extention of have it printed on paper on the wall. When you try to do this, the call gets cut off.
  • Make the 4 lan ports PoE. this would be a massive but simple improvement for small installs but less so for larger installs.

Overall the UC320 shows potential but it's not the most straightforward bit of kit to implement. I'm sticking with it for just now but hope to see some improvements in the near future. I know some big changes are coming soon.

However, clients like the Cisco brand. They like the handsets. I like the support over the phone and through the forums, you guys are very helpful!

All the best

Paul.

Frequent Contributor

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your open feedback.  We are actively adding bug fixes and new features to the UC320W firmware.  Cisco management, product managers, and engineers do monitor these forums.

I'll chime in on some of the line items identified in some of the previous posts.

  • System time:  If there is no WAN connection to access Cisco's Small Business NTP server you have two options:
  1. Set the time manually via the Phone LCD Interface.  Once the time is set on a phone it is pushed to the UC320W to be updated on all phones.  This feature was added in 2.1.1.
  2. Use a LAN side NTP server using the ChangeNTPserver.pmf found here:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/docs/DOC-16301

  • Impedance Matching:  The Limited Deployment release 2.1.4(3) :

https://supportforums.cisco.com/message/3507345#3507345  fixes a configuration problem were impedance values may not persist.  Incorrect impedance settings have proven to impact Caller ID functionality in addition to FXO voice quality.

  • Network Topology:  We are looking at the ability to configure the UC320W  as a network appliance in an upcoming feature release.
  • System Resets:  You will see a significant reduction in the number changes that require a reboot in the upcoming 2.2 feature release.

Keep the feedback coming!

Thank you,

Chris Edgeworth

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the information, I look forward to the new release.

Regards

Paul.

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

William,

Thank you very much for your letter.  I have several of your issues with one of my customer's.

They also want a refund.  I would like to know the status of the following concerns:

  • The AA is somewhat unpredictable with regard to picking up calls and sometimes results in a busy tone and dropped call, even if the call is the ONLY call on the system. Sometimes the prompts are garbled and sometimes the AA does not even pick up.

Is there a fix for this issue?

Caller ID only works part of the time, yet on every other system I have ever used, it works 100% of the time. This is not acceptable

Is there a fix for this issue?

  • The speakerphone quality and overall voice quality are not as good as the competition's.

This is a HUGE issue for customer.  They cannot use speaker phones due to the voice quality.

Side note: I recently upgraded a UCMBE3000, IE7 explorer does not work correctly. Several radio buttons are gone and other issues.  I downloaded latest version of FireFox 9.1 and now I can work with the unit.  I suggest trying Firefox on the UC320 and see if that fixes the IE9 issues. 

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hi all,

I agree the "WAN" port on these devices should be considered an embarrasing failure by the Cisco design team, but after many hours of initial cursing at these devices I now have a setup that seems to work quite well - with SIP trunks only. (I didn't have any luck with FXO ports)

How I set them up is to plug the wan interface into the LAN on the clients network and only the phones into the UC320, all PC's stay on the normal lan, and there is no DHCP issues to sort out. This means all the switching needs to be seperate. The SIP trunk works ok with the provider we use whilst the device is behind NAT.

In this way we are sort of using the device as an appliance.

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hey Cisco Team

I agree with most of what is said here.  The router /firewall piece of this unit really should be looked at.  It does such a weak job its not worth using at all.  I know this system is for 24 or less phones but that really means 24 or possibly more people in the office.  For a SMB office that is a pretty good size office.  Not very small but not very big.  Functions that reported being there should work with no or little issues.  A few items i have noticed that i feel should be addressed are below.

1.  Router WAN port needs to be reworked.  The way i see it, if you have a default gateway entered on the UC320 it should know how to get out and get to your NTP server.  If this means opening up a port on a upstream firewall and forwarding it back to the UC then that is fine.

2. Soft buttons I have been told by Tech support can not be rearanged in their current order.  There should be a way to put these in the order you wish based on the used use of them.  If that is a feature now then Cisco Tech supporrt is not aware of it.

3. External directory name and number entry only goes one way down the list.  This is a problem if you need to add or remove a name and you want to keep the list in alphabetical order after the list was created.  Currently you need to move the whole list down from were you want, which can take a long time if your just adding one name.  CSV imports can be a pain to work with.

4.  When setting up the UC320 from the start it would be nice to be able to just setup what you can at that moment and then deal with the other items that need to be entered when ready.  You can still mark it with a red X but let us continue with the setup.  Sometimes we dont have all of the info such as the SIP info when we want to set up the unit as a base setup.  We should be able to run through the whole setup start to finsih regardless of if we have something there.  Again you can always mark it with a red X.

5.There should be better documentation for Exchange server Voicemail intergration.  Currently the documentation is pretty weak.  I have two systems deployed and I still cant get it to work with Exchange Server.  If there are settings that need to be set on the Exchange server, then those should be discussed in the documentation to make sure we check those settings.  Gmail is not an issue so i know it works.

6. Last call redail does not work because it does not put the "9" prior to the number it has on the caller ID.  This seems to be a no brainer to me.  If the system requires/Uses a digit to dial out it should always use it where the user cant add it them selves.

7.  I was also told that single number reach was a current option.  I dont think that is the case yet.

Just my 7 cents worth.

Frequent Contributor

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Responses inline denoted by ***

jemosherddtg wrote:

Hey Cisco Team

[snip]

1.  Router WAN port needs to be reworked.  The way i see it, if you have a default gateway entered on the UC320 it should know how to get out and get to your NTP server.  If this means opening up a port on a upstream firewall and forwarding it back to the UC then that is fine.

****The UC320W comes with a preconfigured address of a Cisco Small Business NTP server pool that resides WAN side.  The reference to the LAN side NTP server PMF above can also be used to communicate over the WAN.  The default gateway of the device is the WAN interface.  We are also investigating an appliance only deployment model for a future feature release.

2. Soft buttons I have been told by Tech support can not be rearanged in their current order.  There should be a way to put these in the order you wish based on the used use of them.  If that is a feature now then Cisco Tech supporrt is not aware of it.

***This is not currently a feature of the UC320W.  Softkey menus are depend upon the current call (progress) state and menu context.  There is quite a bit of complexity in user customizations.  One of the goals is to make the configuration and use simple.  We do have this as a potential feature on the list though.

3. External directory name and number entry only goes one way down the list.  This is a problem if you need to add or remove a name and you want to keep the list in alphabetical order after the list was created.  Currently you need to move the whole list down from were you want, which can take a long time if your just adding one name.  CSV imports can be a pain to work with.

***I've created an enhancment request for this.

4.  When setting up the UC320 from the start it would be nice to be able to just setup what you can at that moment and then deal with the other items that need to be entered when ready.  You can still mark it with a red X but let us continue with the setup.  Sometimes we dont have all of the info such as the SIP info when we want to set up the unit as a base setup.  We should be able to run through the whole setup start to finsih regardless of if we have something there.  Again you can always mark it with a red X.

***I believe configurations can be SAVED but not APPLYed with 'Errors on the screen'.  You could preconfigure what you need, then save.  Load when on site and add in the additional provisioning.  If you can provide more specifics on the things you pre-configure and things you leave for on site configuration, that might help us better understand what you are trying to accomplish.

5.There should be better documentation for Exchange server Voicemail intergration.  Currently the documentation is pretty weak.  I have two systems deployed and I still cant get it to work with Exchange Server.  If there are settings that need to be set on the Exchange server, then those should be discussed in the documentation to make sure we check those settings.  Gmail is not an issue so i know it works.

***I'll see what we can do.

6. Last call redail does not work because it does not put the "9" prior to the number it has on the caller ID.  This seems to be a no brainer to me.  If the system requires/Uses a digit to dial out it should always use it where the user cant add it them selves.

***The engineering team is working on this issue.

7.  I was also told that single number reach was a current option.  I dont think that is the case yet.

***You are correct.  Single Number Reach is supported on UC500.  It is not currently supported on UC320.

Just my 7 cents worth.

***Thank you for taking the time to voice your 'pains'.  We continually take input from the community to provide fixes, enhancements, and features.

Chris

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Just to chime in.

I agree with the appliance only. Never would i put my phone system on the front lines. It should be satley tucked in behind a firewall. I think that the WAN port should be removed all together.

I was really looking forward to this product but is has way to many problems.Seams like any time you made a change it would break 6 other things. SMB people do not have time to deal with these types of problems

You may ask why don't we have time to do this? because we have to be good at everything not just 1 thing. This is how the SMB market tech is, a jack of all trades so you have to make it as simple as possible and make it work. I understand that not all features can be avaible and i understand that. But make the feature that do work.. work.

As of right now.. its fun to play with. Never would i install one at a customers as i believe it would be a support nightmare

I love cisco products.. this one seams like it needs about 2 more years of debugging and refinments.

Just my 7 cents.

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Phil,

I am the Product Line Manager for Small Business Voice Platforms, including the UC320.  I would welcome the chance to talk with you directly to gain your feedback of exactly what you have been experiencing, this would help us improve UC320.

  Please email me at rujones2@cisco.com so we can find some time to set up a call, thanks.  Russell Jones

Beginner

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Ok here is my two pence worth.

WAN port unusable even when plugged in locally to the upstream router. Takes around 4minutes to load the login screen.

Dialling plans, we still cannot use this with our BT Feature Line, due to the need to dial an additional 9. Due to which we are forced to use an upstream SIP account for all of our outgoing calls.

This is a SMB product which uses PSTN lines sold in the UK where most of the Small Businesses use BT Feature Lines. How can you sell such a product which does not work with the phone lines?

We were told back in September to create a ticket but still we are awaiting a fix:

https://supportforums.cisco.com/message/3433670#3433670

Support just kept bouncing the ticket back to us saying awaiting our response…funny that since they had not asked us anything or added anything to the ticket.

Outgoing call routing. Due to the above bugs we would like to be able to route our outgoing mobile calls to our PSTN landline (it’s cheaper) and send all other calls to our SIP trunk.

This is not a BIG ask in most PBXs I have worked on have this feature. In fact I remember this feature well from a Avaya system we used to use 16 years ago! However it seems to be yet another feature missing from the UC320.

So here we are STILL with a PBX that does NOT work with our phone lines!

If I had an option to have my money back on ALL our hardware I would take it and buy some proper kit! How about it Cisco?

Well it’s not fit for purpose.

Regards,

Tim

Cisco Employee

Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

Hi Tim;

Thanks for helping understaing your concerns. I would like to personally help you to overcome the issues, so would like to have a chat with you at your convenience, please send me an email to amontill at cisco dot com.

Regards
Alberto Montilla
Sr. Product Manager at Cisco

Beginner

Re: Open letter to Cisco regarding the UC320 platform

We are currently using the UC320w (topology = Voice only) sitting behind a Microsoft TMG security server - it is working without any problems at all. The Wan port on the uc320w is connected to a second nic on the security server (using a different subnet from the Lan port).

We are using the voice mail to email feature as well, You will have to create a new receive connector on the Exchange server ( 2007 or 2010).  after creating the new connector configure as follows:

On the Network tab - all available Ipv4 addresses - port 25 and remote servers use the Lan port address of the uc320w)

Authenication tab (select Transport layer security)

Permission tab (select exchange users)

restart the exchange transport service

On the Uc320w side

SMTP (use the lan Ip address of your exchange server )

SMTP port = 25 select "use SSL/TLS"

senders email account ( we created a generic account on the exchage server called Uc320w)

username = uc320w@yourdomain.com (complete email address)

password= use the password that you used when creating the account on the exchange server

then simply configure each Voice mailbox with the appropriate email address (Ex: Ljones@yourdomain.com)

save the configuration