PCI-DSS Made Simple

October 6th 2010

PCI DSS Compliance Made Simple

Thanks to the folks over at Cisco Systems for this page which provides an easy to understand outline of the PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) and some sensible advice on how businesses should approach it.

PCI DSS Compliance Made Simple

PCI DSS needs to be considered by all businesses that process or store credit card data. The above link is very much an overview, and more in depth information is available at the official PCI Security Council web site

Barry Hesk

Cisco UCM and Unity Connection VMware on non Cisco hardware

5th October 2011.

Cisco UCM and Unity Connection VMware on non Cisco hardware

Finally. Finally. Finally.

Cisco now officially support deployment of key Unified Communications applications included Communications Manager and Unity Connection on non Cisco hardware when using VMware.

The use of VMware was meant to speed up deployment and provides all of the key business benefits that are brought to the party by virtualization. However, Cisco’s previous insistence that formal support would only be provided when running VMware on Cisco’s own UCS hardware platform was in our minds (a) ridiculous and (b) a massive inhibitor to deployment of new installations.

It’s only a start. It is only selected HP and IBM server configurations that will pass muster with Cisco TAC and the VMs must be built with Cisco’s own OVA templates, however we have to acknowledge that Cisco have finally listened and it’s a step in the right direction. VMware is meant to remove hardware limitations and requirements so we can only hope that Cisco add to their supported platforms list as time moves on.

Barry Hesk.

More Cisco UC Installation Issues

30th September 2011

Cisco CUCM 8.6 Installation Problems

Yet more severe problems upgrading to the latest version of Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

We’d already reported a problem with the Unity Connection 8.5 installer hanging. Now it seems that other issues are present in the latest 8.6 releases too. As the operating system code base is common across all of the main Cisco UC applications, thes issues will probably impact Communications Manager, Unity Connection and and Contact Centre Express.

Details of the issues are:

1. Upgrading to 8.6(2) seems to work ok. A “switch version” is issued on the Publisher. After the reboot, the publisher comes up for a few minutes and then reboots again on the old version. Cisco TAC need to be involved to fix this issue. The latest code on CCO is still broken.
2. Instaled 8.6(2) on the Publisher; rebooted and all ok (see the previous issue). Attempted to install 8.6(2) on Subscriber. Installation hangs for hours and has to be cancelled. Workaround for this is to run the upgrade with “Automatic switch back to previous version if upgrade is successful” set to “no”.

Being brutally honest, this is all an utter mess. Cisco seem unable, or unwilling to actually test anything before they release it these days and it is starting to have a huge impact with customers.

Barry Hesk

Extreme Altitude 4511 Wireless Access Point Announced

September 26th 2011

Extreme Altitude 4511

Extreme Networks have announced a new low footprint wireless access point the Altitude 4511. The unit is designed to simplify wireless deployment by being able to install onto existing wall sockets that hold RJ11 or RJ45 sockets. Interestingly, the access point can also act as a controller for up to 24 other units which in our view is a teriffic idea and will simplify deployment.

The unit itself is about the size of an iPhone and is built on an Atheros chip set. All of Extreme’s enterprise wireless management facilities are supported including Dot1X authentication.

Barry Hesk

New releases of Cisco UC Products

21 September 2011

Cisco Systems have released updates of their main Unified Communications Platforms to address both bug fixes and limited new functionality.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager 8.6(2)

Proxy TFTP Server: Targeted towards large enterprise deployments, it allows TFTP services serving endpoints to be distributed. It allows any CUCM server to act as a TFTP server for local resources, even handsets that belong to a different CUCM cluster.

Cluster Wide Call Park: Again, targeted at larger deployments, Call Park has been reworked to make it simpler in terms of call routing, CSS and Partition definitions. However, CTI monitoring of Call Park slots has been removed (it will be reinstated in CUCM 9.0) meaning that applications such as Attendant Consoles, will not be able to provide real time status displays of them.

Redirecting Number Transformation: Some additional enhancements allow you to manipulate the number associated with a redirect operation. This can be useful for situations where redirects are in place (for example Call Forwarding, or Single Number reach operations) to keep visible the original calling number.

Cisco Unity Connection 8.6(2)

Microsoft Office 365: Support for Unity Connection integrated with externally hosted Microsoft Office 365 environments. Please note that at the current time each integrated is limited to only 19 users. Email delivery, calendar integration and text to speech is supported.

Cisco SpeechView: Cisco SpeechView (Standard and Professional) provides speech to text services allowing you to “read” voicemails. Cisco SpeechView is a subscription service which is not covered by your existing Unity Connection licensing.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express 8.8

Phone Download: Adds HTTP support for downloading of phone firmware and configuration files.

Support for new phones: Adds support for 3905, 6945, 8941 and 8945 IP phones.

Cisco Unity Express 8.6(1)

Additional Hardware Support: Support for SM-SRE-710-K9 and SRM-SRE-910-K9 hardware service modules

Hosted SMTP Providers: Provides secure (SSL) SMTP support to hosted providers including Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Microsoft Exchange and Windows Live.

New IMAP Clients: Support for additional IMAP Clients including iPhone, Cisco Mobile, Outlook 2010, Windows LiveMail 12.0 and IBM Lotus Notes. Support is also added for CSF Clients which includes Cisco Unified Personal Communicator 8.5.

Cisco Unity Contact Centre Express 8.5(1)

Outbound IVR: Allows CUCCX to place outbound calls and present the connected party with a menu / IVR system. Requires CUCCX Premium licensing.

Increased Agents: Up to 400 agents are now supported, depending on the underlying platform.

Additional Platforms: Additional hardware platforms are now supported including MCS 7825 and 7816s and Cisco UCS Servers.


Barry Hesk


Cisco Catalyst 6500 New Modules

September 19th 2011

Cisco Systems have recently announced a series of new modules available for the Catalyst 6500 series platform which has already celebrated its 10th birthday. According to a well placed source, these annoucements are intended to carry the 6500 well into its 2nd decade.

In Summary:

A new VSS capable supervisor, the Supervisor 2T is available which provides up to 2 Terabits of switching capacity per platform, with up to 80 Gbps per slot.

A new range of high density 10 Gb interface cards, and for the first time, a non oversubscribed 8 port 10 GB module.

Existing 67XX 10 GB modules are NOT supported on the Sup2T. The newer 68XX and 69XX modules are not supported on the older Supervisors including the Sup720s.

Some points on 10 GB Support:

If you stay with Sup 720, you have a choice of the following 10GB modules, each of which has a 40 GB switch fabric connection.

X6704 – 4 Port X2 Module. RRP £12.5k. No oversubscription. X2 modules additional.
X6708 – 8 Port X2 Module. RRP £24k. 2:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional.
X6716G – 16 Port X2 Module. RRP 25k. 4:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional
X6716T – 16 Port Copper Module. RRP £14k. 4:1 oversubscription.

If you move to the Sup2T, you have some additional options, however you can’t use any of the above modules.

X6816G – 16 Port X2 module. RRP £25k. 4:1 oversubscription. X2 modules additional
X6816T – 16 Port Copper Module. RRP £14k. 4:1 oversubscription.

X6908G – 8 Port X2 module. RRP £25k. No oversubscription.

68XX modules have a 40 GB switch fabric connection.
69XX modules have a 80 GB switch fabric connection.

Barry Hesk

PPPOA failures on IOS 15.1

September 17 2011

Just a quick one. All latest versions of version 15.1 IOS on CCO have a major bug when it comes to ADSL.

If the underlying ATM interface bounces at any point, the PPPOA dialer interface will go down, and will never recover without a reboot. The ATM interface will show as up, however all outbound packets will be dropped. PPP will show request time outs as if the remote end isn’t responding.

We have a TAC case open and will update this post with fix details. It’s been acknowledged by TAC as a bug.

15.0(1)M trains seem to be ok, and it seems to be something that has crept into 15.1.

Barry Hesk

Intrinsic Connect RSS Feed

Being based on WordPress, Intrinsic Communications Connect is available as an RSS feed.

You can simply copy the attached link into any RSS capable piece of software which includes most browsers and email clients. If you subscribe to the feed, you will automatically be updated each time a new post is created.


Barry Hesk

Cisco CP-6921 handset restrictions

15 September 2011

Cisco have recently marked as end of sale the CP-7911 handset which is a “work horse” handset for many customer deployments. The 6921, featuring a headset port and full duplex speakerphone which the 7911 didn’t have, seems to be an attractive option however there are a few of restrictions to be aware of.

1. The 6921 whilst being a two line phone does not support two calls per button. The second channel can only be used for transfer or conference. This is unlike the way that the 7911 operates which provides two calls per button.

2. DND does not work on the handset when mapped to a softkey. This is an issue that is known by Cisco and there is a workaround of setting it to the 2nd button. However, if you want to use the 2nd button as a second line, you can’t use DND. This does not sound great to us.

3. Auto Answer on headsets. Other Cisco handsets that support auto answer on headsets provide the ability to play a “zip” tone on auto answer so that the agent knows a call has just arrived. The 6921 does NOT support this tone and we don’t know why. It can seemingly play the tone for internal calls, however it does not play it for external calls. Cisco TAC confirm that this is expected behaviour however we haven’t been able to find any documentation that reflects this. It also seems like a very strange restriction. Net result, we’d be loath to recommend 6921s with headsets if you want auto answer.

So all in all, be careful how you deploy 6921s. They are not as attractive as they appear at first glance.

Barry Hesk