IP Phone Elements in CUC Manager and Manager Express

IP Phone Configuration Requirements

There are some common configuration parameters that we want our phones to have. We want them to have the NTP Reference. We want them to have Date and Time Groups, because especially if we have people all over the place, we might have east coast, we might have west coast, mountain standard time. So we want to get that set up and we can do a lot of these parameters within a Device Pool. In the Device Pool we can set up the Communications Manager servers that a certain group of phones should register with. We can set up the Regions and Locations here. We also want to make sure our phones possibly pull in a Security Profile. Their Softkey Templates and what their buttons look like. And for SIP phones we have a SIP Profile that we can create, and then there is also a Common Phone Profile. So we’re going to look at these parameters and see what some of our options are in getting them set-up.

Cisco Unified Communications Manager Group

Within the Communications Manager we can set up to three servers, plus list the Survivable Remote Site Telephony solution (SRST) for your IP phones. So now when they register they get that list, so if the main server is not available they try the second and if the second is not available then they try the third. Hopefully it’s not the case that all three of those are not reachable, but they do have some backups. And with the Communications Manager environment we can set up these groups and they could even overlap. So we could in a sense make sure that we have enough backup strategy in place to handle an outage. But I’m thinking that in most cases the primary and the secondary are probably what we are going to hit if everything is up and running good.

Device Defaults and Profiles

Component Contents
Device Settings Default settings, profiles, templates and common device configuration.
Device Defaults Default characteristics of each type of device that registers with Cisco Unified Communications Manager.
Common Phone Profiles Phone configuration parameters assigned to IP phones
Phone Security Profile Security-related settings such as device security mode, CAPF settings, digest authentication settings (for SIP phones only) and encrypted configuration file settings.
Must be applied to each phone.

Now the good news is if we’re working in masses, we can set up some templates and apply them to the phones. These are the Device Defaults and profiles. And we have Device Settings which let us set up the default settings, and profiles and templates, and some of the common device configuration options.

We also have Device Defaults, this is if you have a certain type of phone then that type is going to register with the Communications Manager with the certain default amount of characteristics, so we have a device default.

Then the Common Phone Profiles, these are phone parameters that are assigned out to the IP phones.

And then finally the Phone Security Profile, if we have security turned on, if we have a mixed mode environment we have security turned on, then this allows them to download the device Phone Security Profile that contains all of the different settings. There is a digest authentication setting for your SIP phone, we also have encrypted configuration files and these need to be applied to each phone. Now again the device load is the firmware, it’s not the specific configuration file for the phone, but it is the firmware that that phone needs to run. So if it’s a model 7941 that’s going to download a certain firmware versus a 7911 for example. The device pool is where we can group together commonalities for our phones and a lot of times we do this geographically. You can make as many device pools as needed to support some of those common features. There’s also the phone button template, this is phone specific as well, because some phones have two buttons, some have six, some have eight, you know, so it depends upon the number of buttons. They will download their phone button template and there are some defaults out there, but we could go in and make modifications if we want to as well.

Device Pools

Let’s start looking at the device pool. This can be assigned to each device and some of the common characteristics you’d find within a device pool are things like the date and time group, the Communications Manager groups that they will register with, the region and the location information, also the SRST reference point.

CUCM Device Pools

That’s why sometimes setting this up kind of geographically will help you out, because everybody in London’s office typically would have the same date and time group, probably registered with the same servers and utilize the same codecs and bandwidth needs. So that’s a great way to take all that information and not have to set it up by 1 by 2 on the phone, but to take the device pool and apply it to phones.


Our phone button template deals with all of the buttons that we see along the side of the phone. So of course this is going to vary by model. Some phones have eight buttons, some have six, some have two. So each phone has one phone button template assigned to it, so that we can say these are directory numbers, these are speed dial numbers. And across the bottom of the screen we have what we call softkeys. There is a separate softkey template.

IP Phone - Softkeys and Buttons

This allows us to go in and configure tons of features on those softkey buttons. And what’s nice is the softkey buttons are related to the call state. So in another words, when I go off-hook I have certain features, where I am on hook I have other features like maybe redial for example or if I’m in a call, transferring a call, again all of these different call states will show different softkeys across the bottom of the screen that relate to what it is that person is doing.

IP Phone Configuration

When you look at how you configure a phone in the Communications Manager, there’s really two different areas. There’s the actual device itself. That would include things like the calling search space it belongs to, AAR, all of your softkey templates and phone button templates, and what protocol it’s using. Then there’s the specific lines, so the directory numbers. The directory numbers may house different partitions and calling search spaces. They might have limitations on the maximum number of calls they can accept. There’s an external phone number mask that we could associate with them. And we can associate these lines with one or more devices. So there’s two different areas that we may need to configure on our IP phones.

Adding IP Phone in CME

In the Communications Manager Express when we add a phone, we identify each phone just like the Communications Manager did with a MAC address. Our IP phone type is also defined. So we would say okay this MAC address has this type phone, a 7940 for example, and the configuration is downloaded to that phone during the registration process. At registration we get the directory numbers and speed dials and all the configuration options, so that’s how the Communications Manager Express kind of differs a little bit.

IP Phone Registration in CME

But guess what, it’s still a TFTP server that we configure on the router. We still fill in option 150 in order for us to find that TFTP server. We still have a default XML file that then gets converted into the MAC address file when the phone finally re-registers with it. And within this we are going to also have to go out and configure directories, line labels, speed dials and all the additional uniqueness for this IP phone and that’s also going to be done either in the GUI or out at the command line in the Communications Manager Express.

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