Archive for June, 2009

Cisco UC520 Overview

June 28th, 2009 admin No comments

The Cisco UC520 is a turnkey solution recommend for small and SMB businesses with requirements for Internet, Security, Wireless, Voice, and Unified Communications. This is a turnkey solution where all of these solutions are integrated together.

Let’s talk about some of the options on our appliance.

First, we see 8 ethernet ports which are enabled for Power over Ethernet to power devices such as IP Phones or Access Points.

On the far right of the appliance we will see two dedicated ethernet ports. The first one is the WAN port dedicated for connecting into an Internet modem or router such as DSL or Cable. The second port is an extended port where we can connect other switches treating the UC520 as a LAN Collapsed Core.

Moving ahead, we see two set of analog ports. These ports are the FXO ports, which are used for connecting an analog line from a PSTN. That line would be associated to a DID or phone number. So, all placed and received calls would occur through this analog line.

The next ports are the FXS ports, which are used for connecting analog devices such as analog phones and fax machines.

Port 0 on both the FXO and FXS ports between these modules provide PFO or PSTN Failover Over. If there is a power outage we can connect an analog phone to port 0 on the FXS module and place direct calls out through the FXO port for emergency calling.

We also have an expansion slot where we can install other voice cards such as FXO or FXS modules.

Here is the FLASH card on the appliance where our IOS image and other files are located.

Focusing on the far left now, we see the console port which allows us to connect our system to the console and configure the UC520. The UC520 can be managed using the console, Telnet, SSH, or web application recommended by Cisco. However, to enable some of the advanced features such as IPv6, Multicast, and VRF you need to use the CLI.

We also see a Wireless antenna where this particular model supports 802.11G wireless where we can create multiple wireless networks for Employees and one for Guest users.

We see an audio port jack with a musical note. This is used for connecting a device like a iPod that can play a playlist for Music On Hold callers.

We also see four LEDs reflecting the operational status of the UC520. One is for the system overall, the second is for the Power over Ethernet operations, the third LED is for Voicemail operations, and the last one if for Wireless connectivity. A connected user would remain solid.

The Cisco UC520 provides a wide variety voice features and capabilities such as:
- CallManager Express for Call Processing
- Cisco Unity Express for Voicemail and Unified Messaging
- Auto Attendant
- Conferencing
- Voicemail messages sent via Email
- Extension Mobility
- Intercom, Paging
- Fax to Email
- and more!

Other features and services on the appliance include
- IP Routing with OSPF and EIGRP
- VLANs and 802.1q Trunking
- Quality of Service
- Stateful Firewall using Reflexive ACL or CBAC
- IPSec VPNs for site and client connections
- DMVPN for dynamic VPN tunnels
- and Advanced Technologies such as IPv6, IP Multicast, and VRF

The Cisco UC520 is a robust turnkey solution that can be used for small and SMB businesses for various network solutions.

This concludes our video on the Cisco UC520. You can get more details on configuring the Cisco UC520 appliance at

Did You Know? Static Routes

June 9th, 2009 admin No comments

Let’s say you configure a static route and the next hop is some IP address on the other side of an interface. For example:

Interface fastethernet 0
ip address

ip route

Doing that will place that Static route into the routing table. If you shutdown the ethernet0 interface, that static route will be removed from the routing table.

Categories: Routing and Switching Tags:

Mac OS X Tip: Can’t Open Excel files gives read-only error

June 9th, 2009 admin No comments

This has become a floating issue we have seen out on Internet blogs and fourms.

The issue is users who try to open an Excel document on their Mac OS X (Desktop or Laptop) may get the following error:

‘test.xlsx’ cannot be accessed.

The file may be read only, or you may be trying to access a read-only
location. Or, the server the document is stored on may not be

Many websites and individuals have been saying that it’s a corrupted file that can be recovered with recovery software that must be purchased (demo-trial for most are available, but it’s limited).  This doesn’t resolve their issues and waiting for what the resolution could be.  We use Mac Pro systems running Office 2008 with two Hard Drives.  We were experiencing this exact issue.  We thought it was permissions related, however, that wasn’t true because we were able to access other files (with different extensions) without any issues.  This includes Word and PowerPoint.

When we move the Excel file to another hard drive we are able to open the file.  So it’s not a corrupted file issue.

Next, we created a new Excel file and saved it to our desktop area.  Copied the file to the other hard drive and the same issue occurred.  Opening the new file on my desktop area worked fine.

So, I concluded that there is some type of bug with Excel on a Mac since Word and PowerPoint doesn’t experience the same issue.

Now, what are ways to resolve this issue …

Before you go down the recovery path, which is likely not the cause if you attempted the things we did.  Below reflects some possible methods.  Method 1, worked for us!

Resolutions Methods:

1) When you have more than one hard drive on your computer the label for each drive may read “Macintosh HD”.  Our systems have two hard drives and both are labeled that way.  You need to change the Volume name of your second hard-drive.  Determine which of the two is the Start-Up Drive and DO NOT change that.  Change the Volume name for the other hard drive.  You can do this by going to “Get Info” on a right click.

Once we changed the volume name, we didn’t experience any more issues with opening Excel files.

2) Another method that has worked for some people, but not for us.  That is to remove all of the files listed under /Users/<username>/Library/Preferences/Microsoft

3) Worst case try to recovery the Excel file and it’s permissions by software to be purchased.  Only do this if you can’t open the file on any hard drive or computer.  If the file does open it’s not necessarily corrupted.

Good luck!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Fraud Alert: 3M Scam

June 9th, 2009 admin No comments

We experienced a very unusual, but professional scam that almost got us, but our process
of verification saved us.

Here was the situation:

We received an email from a person by the name of “Mark C” from the company 3M wanting to get some Cisco Catalyst switches and wanted them shipped overnight.  OK, so, we quoted him for the hardware requested.  He sent us a PO, credit references, everything.  Very professional and legit.  We assumed.

We checked out the website and called the number listed within the email/documents, which gave a professional greeting and Auto Attendant.  Everything looked good.

However, since most scams happen this way we carefully did more digging even though everything looked good and everything was professional looking.  Our email exchange was going on for more than a week.

It was troubling to us that if this was “high priority” and wanted it overnight to an address that didn’t belong to 3M in any way, our red lights started flashing.

Next, we went to google and did a search for 3M directly, which brought us to a different URL than was listed on the website.  Next we dialed the number listed directly from the website, nothing listed from the emails or documents we received from Mark.  Then asked to speak with Accounts Payable to confirm a PO from 3M and the details of that quote.

Well, just as we expected, the PO was invalid and 3M was aware of this scam and the name they were using.  Must have been a person who use to work for the company.

We have to maintain our professionalism at all times.  So, we sent Mark an email stating that we know this was a scam and that nothing has been shipped or ordered because we do not conduct in that kind of business.

This posting is to help provide awareness for other companies against individuals with elaborate scams and protect companies from these type of activities.

So, if you receive anything that involves a quote for purchase always confirm and do some of the following:

  1. Obtain all credit and trade references from the company.  Valid them.
  2. Obtain a PO
  3. Go to the company’s main website by doing a Google Search, for example, and locating the phone number from that webpage.  You can turn on Phishing if you like.  From there call the number listed, speak with Accounts Payable and confirm the PO number, the name of the person, and the details of the order.  Do not call or use any info provided in the documents and email listed.
  4. If it feels weird, like individuals who say they will pay via Cashier’s Check, don’t respond.  It’s not worth it since there are many places on the web to order affordable hardware than your company!
  5. State that you require full purchase via credit card.  (e.g. CDW)

Those are the things we have done and continue to do without issues.  I’m very sure that many of you have encountered this, but for those who haven’t this is posted for those companies for awareness.  Because with the 3M scam and speaking with the person in there AP department it did affected a few companies that lost money because of this elaborate scam, which obviously involved more than one individual.

Watch out and Good Luck!

Categories: RouteHub Tags:

Cisco Contact Center Express Delays and Disappointments with Cisco

June 9th, 2009 admin No comments

The one thing that has become very evident through-out the Internet community is the lack of resources and discussion focused around Cisco Call Center solutions.  Whether it is white-papers/data sheets from company web site to even message boards.  You ask a question about Call Center, no one really answers. This includes any training materials.  Maybe the need for a Call Center solution is becoming rare or being outsourced.

Cisco Systems has a Call Center product line aligned for SMB to Large Enterprises.  There is Cisco Contact Center Express (versions 5 and 6) and Cisco Contact Center Enterprise.

Cisco Contact Center Express, also known under a different name IPCC Express, is a very popular Call Center product solution that can be integrated with your Cisco CallManager Express or Cisco Unified Communication Manager (CallManager) environment.

It provides basic to advanced scripting for your call center that meets your requirements, calls forwarding into call queues, calls forwarded based on agent skill sets, and a lot more.

So that is some basic understanding of the product line.  On to the delays and disappointments.

We purchased Cisco Contact Center Express 5 (CCX5) for a Microsoft Gold Partner Provider who currently has Cisco Unified Communication Manager 5 and using Exchange 2007 for Unified Messaging.   The CCX5 would provide a more robust solution for their current technical support center than what they are using today.

We purchased the server, software, licensing, and support back in June 2008.  The server, software, and smartnet arrived in about a week.  Except for the licensing.  One month has passed and the order for the CCX licensing was still open and not shipped.  We called in to see what was going on.  Cisco said that the item was on a New Product Hold.  They have no ETA on when it will be ready.   Well, I had no idea what they were talking about, but assumed that few weeks it would be clear.  The customer wasn’t in desperate need to deploy the solution.  That would soon change.

However, two more months did pass and the item was still open.  The customer was now very upset which was escalated from the CTO then to the CEO.  We were going to loose this project and this customer.

We called back into our disty (our distributor, Ingram Micro) for an answer right away and for this to be escalated. I wanted an ETA on when this will be shipped.  Again, Cisco did not give any ETA nor have any information to give.  So, we were suppose to go back and tell the customer that we have no updates or any idea on when the licensing will be available.  Wrong answer!  Cisco should know better.

We got Cisco Gold Partners involved and spoke with other Cisco SE from other channels to see what they can do.  There was nothing they could do either.  With no ETA or information the customer demanded an alternative solution.

Luckily, there Call Center needs were basic, and the Cisco Attendant Console within there CallManager appliance provided what they needed.

As of now, 4 months has past and the item is still OPEN.  If you purchase the CCX5 today from any vendor or partner there will be delays due to the NPH.

So basically a “New Product Hold” can last between 3-6 months.  No escalation or pressure or anything can change the manufacturing of the product any sooner.  There are no ETAs  or any additional information provided.

Our recommendations for other consultants and companies is to first determine the lead time on any Cisco product that you order.

Try to avoid any direct shipment from Cisco.  If it’s available at the disty’s wherehouse then that is a better and safer bet.

If the product is out of stock or backordered or on a “New Product Hold” determine the availability on that item from your disty or Cisco.  If they have no ETA of useful info to provide take note of that.

If an item is on a New Product Hold communicate that with the customer, discuss what that means, that 6 months or longer the product won’t be available with no info or updates you can provide.  Determine possible alternatives and solutions that can still align with the business requirements.

This is very disappointing on how Cisco handles New Product Holds.  If the customer we were working with was, Microsoft or Lockheed Martin, and involved a million dollar project I think the results would be different.

Cisco claimed they are making strong efforts to attract the SMB and Small Business markets more.  This is one way, the only not to go about to do this.  Cisco needs to seriously change there process and policies for how they handle these type of issues.  And providing more information back to customer for what is going on should always be consideration Cisco needs to provide.

So keep those considerations in mind and be careful because you mind not be lucky as we were!