Runt post: When voicemail is a dirty word

New deployments often require configuring a direct transfer to voicemail. Not too long ago @ifoam wrote this great piece on the steps involved in setting up this up: Transfer to Voicemail, which I recently referred to when I found that my configuration wasn’t working.

The article, however, confirmed my suspicions that I hadn’t missed any steps in the system configuration process, but when calls were transferred straight to the voicemail server, the user extensions weren’t coming along for the ride.

Fast forward several research minutes later to this obscurity, in particular the third entry by Randall White:

Upon first reading, I found the fix too absurd to be likely, which I’m sure why Mr. White added the “no, I’m not joking” part.  The solution being proposed was the removal of the word “voicemail” from the alerting name of the CTI route point.

For those of us in voice, we’re rather familiar with what the alerting name controls, and no, it doesn’t usually have anything to do with this.  Alerting name shows up on phone displays and it’s generally one of those put-whatever-you-want-here-the-system-doesn’t-care fields. Except in this case it did. It cared a lot.

So instead of calling my CTI route point Direct To Voicemail – I changed it to Direct To VM.   Yep, that was it. I removed the offending vocabulary, quit infringing on the voicemail server’s sensitivities, and all was set right with the world.

And this is why voice engineers drink.


Publish Date: 2011/11/28

It’s not me it’s you…

One of the niftiest features Call Manager offers is Single Number Reach (SNR). Configuring SNR takes a wee bit of work, but once it’s setup you’ll never love your life more. Why? Because SNR ends the tradition of giving out a work number *and* a cell phone number just so customers, end users, and sales piranas can abuse you all hours of the day. With SNR, you can send your work calls to your cell phone on your terms, which pretty much rocks my socks.

Recently I was troubleshooting this feature of awesomeness trying to determine why a user’s mobile phone wasn’t ringing when the work number was called. Few obvious things to look for when troubleshooting this:

  • Make sure there’s a Remote Destination Profile AND a Remote Destination configured – I know they sound like the same thing, but they are not and you’ll need both
  • Make sure the Calling Search Space on the Remote Destination Profile permits a call to the cell phone- meaning if it’s a long distance call to the cell make sure your chosen CSS allows long distance
  • Make sure that the user is associated with his/her Remote Destination Profile
  • Last but not least, tweak the timer settings- Answer Too Soon, Answer Too Late, Delay Before Ringing, and Just Hang Up the Damn Call Now are timers that are all extremely helpful when customizing this feature for Mr or Mrs Picky Pants. (Yes, I made up that last one, but it sounds like an option that should be there)

So, what if you’ve got it all configured correctly and the user’s mobile phone still doesn’t ring? Time for a sanity check – if you’re me, you put your own cell phone number in the Remote Destination and give it a whirl.  Now this may sound less like sanity and more like madness, but it means you’ve injected a known working quantity into the equation.  If there’s one thing I know my cell phone does, it’s ring. All. the. time.

But back to the story. Given the new parameter, SNR works like a charm.  So why did SNR like my phone so much better than the user’s? Mine does have a pretty cool case, I’ll give you that. However, doubting that this was the magic factor, I did some research and dug up some interesting information. I found that her model of phone had a TON of complaints posted online.  The complaints: that model – an EVO on the Sprint network- apparently has a nasty habit of not ringing when people call.  Fortunately, there were lots of suggestions on how to resolve this particular issue and my customer’s phone now rings all the time. Especially since I forwarded my work number there.

The moral of the story – voice is a murky, complex world in which we engineers often find ourselves trying to manipulate devices that lay just outside of our influence or control. Whether it’s an ancient fax machine located half way across the country with ECM turned on, a cell phone running a buggy version of code and a bad PRL list, or perhaps even another vendor’s video endpoint that refuses to make nice with the expensive equipment on your end of the conversation- we’ve got to hone our skills to narrow down the issue and face the fact that sometimes the fix will be out of our hands.

In case you’ve got an EVO phone with a ringing disorder, check out this forum:

And if you need to configure SNR from scratch, I’d recommend starting here:

And an official Cisco doc, complete with judgmental dude looking down at you while you read, can be found here: