CUCM 7.x and Attendant Console

screenDuring a recent client upgrade from CM 4.13 to CUCM 7.x, it came to my attention that CUCM (Cisco Unified Communication Manager – formerly CallManager) 7.x did not ship with AC (Attendant Console).

My client, and many others, use the attendant console feature in their CM 4.x network, and plan to continue the use of AC in their upgraded CM network.

It also came to my attention that many Cisco integration partners do not know that AC does not ship with CM 7.x and are not including a plan in their upgrade design to allow for this issue.

Here is what I found in researching how to deal with the issue of AC not shipping with CUCM 7.x.

What is Attendant Console
CUCM Attendant Console (AC), a client-server application, allows you to use a graphical user interface (GUI) that contains speed-dial buttons and quick directory access to look up phone numbers, monitor line status, and direct calls. A receptionist or administrative assistant can use the AC to handle calls for a department or company, and although it is rare, AC can also be used by individual employees to manage his/her own calls.

AC installs on a PC with IP connectivity to the CUCM system. It works with a Cisco Unified IP Phone that is registered to a CUCM system, and multiple ACs can connect to a single CUCM system. When a server fails, the AC automatically connects to another server in the cluster.

Upgrading from 4.x
If you are using AC before your upgrade to CUCM 7.x you can use the AC plug-in from 4.x with your CUCM 7.x server. The plug-ins you install on the AC computers will be compatible with CUCM 7.x.

To further complicate the issue, if you upgrade from a compatible Cisco CallManager 4.X release, or to a compatible CUCM 5.x, 6.x, or 7.x, the AC plug-in will show up on the newly upgraded 7.x server. You can obtain the CUCM AC plug-in from the plug-ins page in the CUCM Administration web page.

Cisco does not support the CUCM AC with new installations of CUCM 5.x, 6.x or 7.x, and the plug-in does not display in the Plug-ins window in the CUCM Administration web page after a new installation (as opposed to an upgrade).

If you obtained the CUCM AC plug-in from the Cisco software download site in CUCM 7.0, you can use that plug-in with CUCM  5.X, 6.X, or 7.X. In this case, Cisco recommends that you save the plug-in to a location on a PC that you will remember.

Cisco Upgrade Recommendations
If you want to use AC functionality after a CUCM 7.x installation/upgrade, Cisco recommends that you use the Cisco Unified Business Attendant Console, Cisco Unified Enterprise Attendant Console, or the Cisco Unified Department Attendant Console.

In addition, there are many third-party products that perform this same function. A quick Google search should provide you with the information you need to locate third-party vendors.

Costs/Benefits Associated With Upgraded AC
There is information to suggest that when CUCM 8.x ships, it will be mandatory to upgrade your AC and buy licenses. Some of my students have reported receiving quotes for as much as $2500 per seat for licenses. However, it has also been reported that the new version of AC has a new and improved robust features set.

Author: Paul Stryer

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3 comments

  1. PPJ Reply

    Hi Paul,

    Just had a look at the ” Cisco Unified Communications Manager Features and Services Guide, Release 7.1(2) ” doc and it explains how to install the AC Plugin when you do the upgrade. Look on page 321 , just underneath Step 3 , TIP. I’ve have not worked on CUCM 7.x as yet but the doc seems to confirm your finding.

    Regard,

    PPJ

  2. Louis Moore Reply

    Hi Paul great post. Have you tried any of the 3rd party software? I am looking at it because of the cost of Cisco’s new solution.

  3. cuwl Reply

    I believe that if you have the CUWL license model with CUCM, the AC is a free item. Just get in touch with your local cisco sales office.