Cisco Call Manager – Using CTI Route Points for redirection to external numbers.
VOIP technologies will likely be the death of me, and has been the reason to drink on a few occasions. However, every now and then between learning about compression algorithms, MOS ratings, jitter, and everything else, you learn a tip or trick that helps out around the office. One of these tricks is the ability to call frequently dialed external numbers without having to dial the access code + 10 digit number every time. Now, one solution to make everyone happy could be speed dial shortcuts on phones. Speed dials have down sides… such as time to configure per phone, and restriction to use only at those phones.
A more streamlined approach may be to utilize Cisco’s CTI Route Point feature within Call Manager to assign an internal extension as a “forwarder”, if you will. Again, use is dependent upon your organizations industry, but at the very least from the network shop it may help frequent calls such as your upstream internet service provider. Thus for the example steps below, we will create a CTI RP for our company ISP, AOL. That way, when we run out of free minutes on our disks they mail us, we can quickly use our VOIP system to call them using a short extension.
On a final thought before we kick off these steps, it should be noted that this is not the primary intent of a CTI Route Point, however it works well to organize these special need type DN’s away from the rest. Naysayers will argue you could use a custom device pool or another way to organize them. Look, I don’t care how you run your server… but do note that there is additional info online about CTI Route Points and CTI Ports. Always educate yourself on anything you can, and make your own decisions!
Step 1. – Log In -> Device -> CTI Route Point.
Log in to Call Manager post haste and find yourself the Device menu up top. Click CTI Route Point from the drop down, as shown in the following screenshot:
Step 2. – Add New!
Once you click CTI Route Point from the Device menu, you’re taken to the record overview for that category. Go ahead and just click “Add New” at the bottom left. Example:
Step 3. – Enter Details
After clicking Add New, enter the details for your new CTI route point. Basically give it a name to recognize later, and set any organizational specific settings such as Device Pool / Location. Anything with an asterisk has to have an option selected, like with the rest of Call Manager screens. See the example below for our ISP entry:
Step 4. – Add Your Directory Number (DN) and Call Forward number
Look back on the screenshot for Step 3… the green arrow is what you want to click to get you into this step. Once on the screen to add DN/Forward (as seen in the screenshot below), go ahead and enter your details. You can see I’ve chosen an internal 3 digit extension of 666, because calling an ISP to troubleshoot an issue is the devils work as many of you may know. I can promise you the ISP will tell you it’s not on their end, probably 4 times at a minimum. Also, the highlighter tool was drinking whiskey during this screenshot. Anyway this step is the most important because down in the call forward section, you enter the long number that you actually want this extension to forward to. Be sure not to check the checkbox, as that option actually means “Forward all to Voicemail”, which is not what we are intending. You may have to adjust CSS and Partitions if you are using something other than the “none” partition/css in your organization (and honestly I hope you are, for the sake of saved headaches down the road).
Alright, there you have it… you should at this point be able to call your shortened internal extension and be successfully redirected to an external number. Other uses for this process could be an on call rotational number for technicians, or an easy internal extension to reach coworkers cell phones if they travel frequently out of the office, or even just away from their desks. Hell, you could record the weather report daily on a voicemail recording and send a CTI DN straight to Voicemail instead of an external extension. No one would use it because the internet is a thing, but you know… it’s an option.
Happy Networking, Nerds!