FierceVoIP recently covered a story concerning the deployment of Cisco’s Unified Communications platform and 10,000+ IP handsets by solution provider EDS for Bank of America.
EDS acquired by HP for $13.9 Billion
With EDS recently acquired by HP, this would seemingly make HP an instant player in the UC/VoIP space…and is an interesting development in a market where battle lines are being drawn between Cisco and Microsoft.
Cisco has been on a tear of late and is amassing a nice list of large customers, including Boise State University and University of Cambridge.
Many would argue that this is good news for the VoIP systems industry as a whole…but if you are a proponent of standards-based telephony, where SIP has emerged as the de facto protocol, you may have mixed emotions. Cisco has been somewhat reticent in opening up their proprietary SCCP platforms to allow for seamless interoperability with SIP.
Although Cisco does have a Third-party inter-op mechanism allowing the use of SIP endpoints with Cisco UC infrastructure, (i.e Callmanager) from a cost impact standpoint, Cisco’s “support” of third party SIP phones is somewhat misleading for the uninformed.
For most users, the appeal of using a Third-party SIP phone would likely be to escape the cost of license fees associated with Cisco’s IP phones. Cisco tacks on anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars, per phone, in licensing when you purchase a “CH1” licensed Cisco phone, which is the appropriate licensing to be in compliance when using Callmanager.
If you refer to this link, look at table C-2, step 5 –
“Note Third-party SIP Device (Basic) supports one line and consumes three license units, and Third-party SIP Device (Advanced) supports up to eight lines and video, and consumes six license units.”
Even using a Third-party phone, the user must purchase Third-party licensing keys in order to register their phone with Callmanager, and the licensing is required in order to complete the SIP registration for the Third- party handset.
When I last checked, the licensing cost to implement a Grandstream GXP-2000 (an $80 phone) with a Callmanager deployment was an additional $300, which would bring the total cost of the handset to roughly $380.
Cisco defines a “Basic” Third-party VoIP phone as a phone supporting one line, and user must purchase (three) license units at $50/ea ($150 total) to deploy a “basic” phone. Since the GXP-2000 supports multiple lines, it would be considered an “Advanced” Third-party SIP phone, and requires (six) license units be purchased, at a total cost of $300.
It is actually less attractive in the majority of cases, from a cost standpoint, to implement 3rd party SIP phones on Callmanager than it is to simply use proprietary Cisco phones when you factor in their extremely expensive licensing fees. I am sure this is completely by design. Just wanted to clarify this for your readers who are running Callmanager and are looking at using Third-party SIP phones.