Cisco Unity Connection Features

Cisco Unity Connection System Settings

There are a plethora of settings that we can configure in Cisco Unity Connection but this course is only going to cover some of those settings mainly related to end-user administration, and things we would do need do with a single-site deployment. Just to give you an idea of some of the different parameters that we have available, we have some cluster-wide enterprise parameters, server-specific service parameters, LDAP parameters that can help us integrate with an existing Lightweight Directory Access Protocol user directory. We’ve got general settings like time zone, language and there are various preconfigured roles in Cisco Unity Connection. As just a couple of examples there is the greeting administrator. The greeting administrator manages the call handler recorded greetings via a telephony user interface that can use their telephone to do this. The helpdesk administrator, they have the ability to reset passwords. If a user account becomes locked, maybe they gave too many invalid log-in attempts, well the helpdesk administrator could unlock that users account and they could view user settings.

Unity Connection Call Handler

When a call comes into Cisco Unity Connection it can be handled by one of three different types of call handlers. There are system call handlers, directory call handlers and interview call handlers. Now, system call handler – that’s used for greetings, somebody calls in and the caller can be offered different actions by pressing a certain number for example, press zero to get the operator, press five for tech support and so on.

A directory call handler is going to allow a user to search the directory, to try to locate a user within a system.

An interview call handler is going to interview the caller, it’s going to ask them questions and it can record the responses from the caller and this recorded message can be sent to any voicemail user. We have three pre-configured system call handlers.

Cisco Unity Connection Call Handler

There are the goodbye, the opening greeting and the operator call handlers. The opening greeting system call handler for example would be heard by a caller that’s not a subscriber or they don’t send their correct calling number to the Unity Connection system, in other words they are not getting their specific mailbox greeting, instead they hear a general greeting that might prompt them to enter their ID and their PIN to log into their personal mailbox.

Call Handler Example

Consider the following call handler example. In this example if a caller presses one that’s going to take them to a directory call handler that’s going to allow them to search the company directory for a specific employee.

Call Handler Example

If they press a two when they call in they’re going to be sent to an interview call handler that’s going to play them a different greeting. It’s going to ask them questions such as what is their name, what job they want to apply for and so on. If they press a four they reach the local tech support number. And if they press a zero they get transferred to the operator and there can also be a hidden menu that’s not advertised in the opening greeting and this might be used for internal purposes and it might require authentication before that transfer is going to happen.

Unity Connection Call Routing

Let’s consider the Cisco Unity Connection call routing rules. We have direct call routing rules and forwarded rules. Direct call routing rules are used to handle calls from users and unidentified callers that dial directly into Cisco Unity Connection, but sometimes Cisco Unity Connection receives a call because it was forwarded. Somebody had their phone set to forward-to-voicemail for example, if they didn’t answer or if they were busy, that’s where the forwarded rules kick in. The forwarded rules are going to process calls that were forwarded to Unity Connection. The big difference being between the direct call routing and the forwarded rules is the origin of the call, was it a direct call or was it a forwarded call. The predefined direct routing rules are attempt sign-in, and opening greeting.

Attempt sign-in is where we’re being directed to a user’s mailbox and they might need to log into that mailbox, and opening greeting though, would be for an unidentified caller. We don’t know what mailbox to send them to so they hear the system opening greeting instead.

The predefined forwarded routing rules are attempt forward and opening greeting. Attempt forward, this would be calls forwarded from a user that’s known to Cisco Unity Connection, and opening greeting, that’s calls forwarded to Cisco Unity Connection from an extension that’s not associated with the user mailbox.

Call routing rules can also be filtered. For example based on caller ID we might recognize an incoming number from a very valued customer, and they might be directly transferred to a certain phone number. As another example, maybe we have a phone number within the company that’s been discontinued. When a call comes into that number the caller might be sent to a message saying that the number has changed and they might be directed to an auto attendant. And we could have call routing rules set up based on things such as the calling number, the call number. For example we could see what the calling number is, the caller ID, and handle those calls one way. We could look at the number that was dialed, the call number, and that could direct how we’re going to route the call. We could route calls based on the voicemail port, the phone system, if we have more than one phone system in use, the forwarding station or a particular schedule, which is going to use customized timeframes that we create.

Unity Connection Distribution Lists

If a voicemail message needs to be sent to multiple users we could use a system distribution list for that. Users that belong to a system distribution list typically belong to the same department or they need the same information on a regular basis, maybe they’re a member of a certain team. There are some predefined distribution lists created: undeliverable messages, all voicemail users and voicemail enabled contacts. We can also have private distribution lists created, maybe for different teams, and these lists could be configured by a voicemail user. The administrator can say that a user can create as many as 99 private distribution lists. By default a user can only create 25 private distribution lists. And when they create one of these lists they can have as many as 99 extensions that belong to that list by default, but the administrator could bump that maximum up to 999.

Authentication Rules

When you log into your user mailbox within Cisco Unity Connection, you typically have to provide authentication credentials, and there are rules about those credentials. For example, if you have failed log-in attempt so many times, are you’re going to locked out, and if so how long are you going to be locked out? Does the administrator have to unlock you or is your account going to be unlocked after a certain number of minutes? Is there a certain amount of time that must pass before you’re allowed to change your credentials again? Do your credentials expire after a certain number of days? Are you going be sent a warning that your credentials are about to expire, and if so, how many days in advance of that expiration are you going to be warned? These are the types of authentication rule parameters we can set up. And also we can set up requirements for a user password. By default your password or your PIN has to be at least six characters long and it’s going to keep a history of your last five pins to make sure you’re not reusing one of those. And it will also check for trivial passwords. So for example with the default authentication rule on Cisco Unity Connection you know that you have to have at least six numbers in the pin. If you try to set it to 123456 that would not work because that would be identified as a trivial password and if you wanted to have a pin of 12345 as an example you would have to do few things, you would have to change the minimum credential length down to five, it defaults to six and you would need to disable the option that checks for trivial passwords.

Unity Connection Dial Plan

If you’re familiar with how a dial plan works within Cisco Unified Communications Manager, you should see a lot of similarities with Cisco Unity Connection. With Cisco Unity Connection a dial plan is based on partitions and search spaces, very similar to partitions and calling search spaces available in Cisco Unified Communications Manager.

When you install Cisco Unity Connection, you enter a name for this server and this name is the default name of the pre-configured partition and the search space. And by default all new users and all call handlers, they belong to the default partition and they have the default search space assigned so everybody can reach everybody. But if you want to control who can reach whom you might want to go and configure your own partitions and search spaces.

Cisco Unity Connection - Dial Plan Example

For example if we had multiple sites in our company we could create a directory call handler for each location and these site specific directory call handlers could be used to only search users within that site not the entire corporate directory. As another example we might want to place managers in a manager partition that way we could prevent external users from dialing the manager directly.

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