Cisco Unified Presence Architecture

Cisco Unified Communications Solution Information Flow

The following graphic is giving us an idea of the many different protocols used in Cisco Unified Communications. Let’s identify some of these protocols and see how they might be used.

We’ve already mentioned that Cisco Unified Presence can use SIP, it can use SIMPLE, it can use XMPP, it can use HTTP, it can also use the Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP. Other protocols or interfaces that you might read about might include Jabber Works Asynchronous JavaScript and XML or AJAX for short and the Jabber Works AJAXs interface, it’s going be used within Cisco Unified Presence and it’s going to communicate using the Bidirectional Streams Over Synchronous HTTP or BOSH for that interface. So obviously we’ve got a lot of moving parts here but let’s focus on the graphic and see what some of the major players are.

Unified Communications - Information Flow

We’ve got SIP and Skinny, which are called control protocols that might be used to control Skinny devices or SIP devices or SIP trunks. And a SIP trunk might go over to a voicemail server maybe to a PBX. MGCP, that’s a gateway control protocol that can control a gateway out to the PSTN for example. Another call control protocol that might be running on our router is H.323. We mentioned SOAP, the Simple Object Access Protocol that’s going to provide database access. We also mentioned the CTI, Computer Telephony Integration, that can be used to support Microsoft remote call control.

Now let’s focus on the protocols used primarily within Cisco Unified Presence. There is XMPP, SIP and SIMPLE this can provide generic presence information. SOAP again can be used to access the Cisco Unified Communication manager database, and we can integrate with Microsoft Office communicator using a CTIQBE Computer Telephony Integration Quicker Buffer Encoding for CTI to help provide that integration. And HTTP this can be used by the Cisco IP Phone messenger service.

Integration with MS Active Directory and Exchange

When users authenticate with a Cisco Unified Presence those credentials could be synchronized from an LDAP server, and we could also synchronize with Microsoft Exchange so that user’s presence information could reflect their availability as indicated on their Microsoft Outlook calendar. And a user that’s using the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator, if we are integrated with LDAP they could do an LDAP query, they could do an LDAP directory lookup. And we mentioned that they could integrate with Microsoft Exchange, well the way Cisco Unified Presence communicates with Microsoft exchange is using the OWA, which is Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access, and this is a WebDAV interface provided by Microsoft.

Unified Presence Integration with Unity Connection

Let’s focus for a few moments on integrating Cisco Unified Presence with Cisco Unity Connection. By integrating these two platforms together a Cisco Unified Presence user they’re going to be able to access their voicemail box and their conversation history inside of the Cisco Unified Personal Communicator application. This application is going to use IMAP to access the voicemail box and we’re going to get features such as the ability to access voice messages from the conversation history pane. And we can also play and delete messages directly from Cisco Unified Personal Communicator. We can see the availability of the person that left us a message if we want to call them back also. We should be aware that the maximum number of IMAP connections and users that Cisco Unity Connection is going to support that’s very dependent upon the Cisco Unity Connection platform.

Unified Presence Integration with Conferencing Servers

We mentioned earlier that with Cisco Unified Presence we could take an active conversation and then escalate that to a conference call with a conference server. We can do that by integrating Cisco Unified Presence with either Cisco Unified MeetingPlace or Cisco WebEx. And both of these web conferencing platforms are based on Flash, and we communicate with these platforms using HTTP or HTTPS.

Unified Presence Integration with LDAP

We also mentioned earlier that we could integrate with LDAP so that Cisco Unified Presence users could come from a corporate LDAP directory – we don’t have to re-create all of the end users. The way this synchronization works is our Cisco Communications Manager that’s the device that is synchronizing with the LDAP server and then Cisco Unified Presence is going to synchronize its user information from the Cisco Unified Communication Manager server, which has synchronized from the LDAP directory.

Unified Presence Calendar Integration

If we want to integrate Cisco Unified Presence with Microsoft Exchange we need to configure a presence gateway. After this presence gateway is configured Cisco Unified Presence can get the state of a user from their Microsoft Outlook calendar, whether they’re free or busy, or out of the office. And that state reflected on the Microsoft Outlook calendar can be reflected as their presence status. Specifically, are they available, are they busy, are they away. In order for this to work though there has to be an account of Microsoft Exchange account that Cisco Unified Presence can use and this account needs to have permission to query calendar information from these end users. So a couple of requirements include that this user be a member of the exchange view-only administrator group and they also have to have receive-as permission on the end-user mailboxes. And that permission is from the perspective of Cisco Unified Presence. Also keep in mind that not every version of Microsoft Exchange is necessarily going to be supported by Cisco Unified Presence.

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