When it comes to Cisco IP phones, you have a lot of options, but what are they really doing for you? In some cases, the model of the phone dictates who actually controls a call when you use the phone.
This boils down to the firmware on the phone and what it supports. With Cisco phones, most support Cisco-made enterprise firmware. That’s simple enough, but sometimes, you need to work with a third-party call controller. In that case, Cisco 3PCC phones might be the better option.
Below, you’ll see a breakdown of both so you can be sure that you have the right phone for your needs.
What Is 3PCC?
3PCC stands for third-party call control. This is where a single party can manage communications for multiple users with the phone. The most common example of this is with a classic phone operator. You can dial the operator, explain what you need, and they handle connecting the various lines to establish the phone call.
In more modern contexts, 3PCC is often utilized for teleconferencing. It’s also essential for connecting with emergency line operators, such as when you dial 911.
When utilizing 3PCC options with Cisco phones, it is only supported with the 6800, 7800, and 8000 models. When checking Cisco specifications, keep in mind that they often refer to this as MPP.
What Is Enterprise Firmware?
Conversely, you can use enterprise firmware with Cisco IP phones. What is that?
Basically, it’s firmware built by Cisco for the sake of working with the Cisco Unified Communication Manager. This is a single management program that standardizes phone controls and connections across Cisco models.
So, the easiest way to understand the difference between these options is that Cisco makes enterprise firmware for Cisco phones. Meanwhile, Cisco makes a few models that support third-party call control. In other words, 3PCC Cisco phones do not utilize the Cisco Unified Communication Manager.
Comparing the Two
So, how do we compare the two? Which is right for you?
The first thing to note is a revisiting of the model limitation. If you have a need for 3PCC, you have fewer phone models to choose from. That said, the Cisco phones that support MPP work quite well and are legitimate choices for many business applications.
Another thing to note is that Cisco does not directly support the call controller for 3PCC phones. That means that experiences will vary according to who or what is serving as the call controller.
All of that said, if you have an application or contact that requires a third-party controller, then you don’t have a lot of choices. You need 3PCC in that scenario, and enterprise firmware cannot and will not serve as a viable alternative.
That’s the primary difference. The enterprise firmware is not made for third-party support at all. It’s all or nothing with Cisco in that case.
Ultimately, this choice is often made for you. Some models of phones can support both enterprise firmware and 3PCC. Such a device is called a multiplatform phone. Those phones give you a little more freedom. Aside from that, if you need 3PCC, then you have to get something to support it. But, if you don’t already have a clear need established, then enterprise firmware is likely to give you a better experience.
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