In an IP telephony network, voice and data traffic converge from their separate sources onto a single IP network infrastructure. Most communications solutions available today, however, still deploy multiple platforms for different functions in the network. For instance, a private branch exchange (PBX) or key system delivers the telephony infrastructure, and a separate LAN switch delivers local data connectivity. A router manages Internet or WAN access, and a virtual private network (VPN) appliance, intrusion detection system, and firewall deliver the security infrastructure. As a result, the financial investment and management resources to deploy a multiple-platform network add up quickly.
The Cisco IPC Express system integrates data, voice, security, and routing into a single IP communications platform. No separate server or appliance is required for any of these network capabilities. You can also integrate additional features, such as content delivery, web application caching, URL filtering, LAN switching, wireless device access, network access control (NAC), and intrusion detection to protect your office from virus and worm infections into the same platform. In the Cisco IPC Express solution, all these applications are modular and can be added or turned on optionally based on what you need in your business. This means that businesses can deliver the applications that meet their initial requirements and then add other applications and functions as required when the business expands.
In addition, with data communications now a ubiquitous service in any business, adding telephony services to the existing data infrastructure is one way to protect your investment in equipment. A majority of enterprises and small or medium businesses have invested in a robust data infrastructure to communicate effectively with their vendors and customers. A business with a data infrastructure using the Cisco 2600XM, 2800, 3700, or 3800 ISRs can use these same platforms to deploy Cisco IPC Express.
Because the data infrastructure deployed by businesses today has been fine-tuned over the years to deliver reliable features, the expectation is that a telephony solution deployed on the data infrastructure will provide the same or better system reliability, flexibility, and availability. The telephony service is required to remain in operation, and users must continue to receive and make calls in the event of a network or power failure. Cisco IPC Express supports Hot Standby Router Protocol (HSRP) features and can be used with Survivable Remote Site Telephony (SRST) to deliver increased redundancy and availability for telephony features. Refer to the section "Other Cisco IP Telephony Solutions for the Enterprise Branch and Small and Medium Offices," later in this chapter for more details on SRST.
Together, all this provides a cost-effective, scalable, secure, and reliable communications solution that can be easily deployed and managed by both enterprise branch offices and small or medium businesses of one or more sites.
Benefits of Cisco IPC Express