Common Problems with Cisco BE6K (and How to Solve Them)

At one point or another, we’ve all asked, “Can you hear me now?” into a phone only to hear silence or static in response.

Cisco Business Edition 6000
Cisco BE6K offers great quality, but still has a few problems.

After a few tries, we give up, grumble, and call again while we cross our fingers for a better connection.

It’s a minor inconvenience when you’re calling your mom to try and catch up. A problem with your business phone system, though, can cost you leads and sales.

At The KR Group, we know flawless phone communication is vital to your business operations, and we recommend Cisco Business Edition 6000 (BE6K) as the best phone solution on the market – in part, because of its consistent, quality performance.

Its quality doesn’t exempt it from problems, though.

This article will look at how user interface, connectivity, and security can cause problems with Cisco BE6K, and we’ll offer solutions to ensure your phone system is working for you.

Problem # 1: BE6K isn’t user-friendly.

Where is the BE6K feature I’m looking for? Why is BE6K so confusing?

These questions are all variants of the top problem new customers have with BE6K. It works great, but it doesn’t give you everything you might need all in one place. You’ll have multiple interfaces running if you’re utilizing BE6K to its full capacity.

At first glance, the multiple applications accompanying Cisco BE6K might be daunting. When you’re getting used to a new phone, features, and collaboration package, the experience can feel more overwhelming than exciting.

Cisco has a reason behind their organization, though.

By segregating BE6K’s Communications Manager (voice and video) and Unity Connections (voicemail), Cisco can maintain continuity inside each interface. When Cisco releases a new version, the new features have the same look and feel as those already in place; the menu structure and feature locations won’t change.

In fact, we’re willing to bet few people would be able to tell the difference from the current Communications Manager interface and one from five years ago.

Solution #1: Cisco’s information or additional training

If the reasoning still doesn’t lessen your frustration, don’t worry, we have a solution, too.

Cisco provides a surplus of documentation on their hardware and programs, and it’s all accessible at their website, Cisco.com. From administration guides, how-to guides, infographics, and more, Cisco does a great job of providing information to assist its users.

If you’re willing to spend a little more money on BE6K implementation, you can sign up for training from us or Global Knowledge. We can be as brief as a quick overview of commonly used features or as detailed as requiring users to know how to set up their own desk phones.

If you’re still leery after training or reading guides, we encourage you to give it some time and commit to learning BE6K’s features. There is a learning curve, but once you get comfortable with BE6K we hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

Plus, sometimes a little hands-on experience can prove more valuable than all the training and guides in the world.

Problem #2: You can’t connect to your phones.

Another common problem with Cisco BE6K is connectivity issues. A common source of this problem is a power or telephone company outage.

Another source of connectivity trouble – to which we can offer a solution – is network issues.

BE6K runs on the same network as your company computers, and you need to ensure the applications used to make and receive phone calls have top priority.

Voice is sensitive to delay (or jitter as it’s referred to in the IT world).  

Solution #2: Correct configuration and adequate internet connectivity

Cisco Business Edition 6000
The correct configuration of BE6K and related switches and routers can prevent quality-related problems.

The good news is you can solve this particular issue by ensuring your network is set up correctly with appropriate quality assurance policies. You can configure enterprise network switches and routers to guarantee high-quality service by prioritizing voice and video traffic to prevent jitter and delay problems.

You may also experience connectivity issues if you’re taking advantage of BE6K’s workspace licenses and working remotely. While we can name this problem (slow Internet), the most common our only solution is to tell you to upgrade your Internet service.

Problem #3: BE6K security requires intentional effort.

The final problem with BE6K we’ll address in this article is what security experts might consider a lack of security.

BE6K is insecure by default in three areas:

  • It has self-signed certificates.
  • It doesn’t have strict security requirements.
  • It’s transmitted audio isn’t encrypted. 

These problems don’t have to keep you from using Cisco BE6K, though, because they all have solutions.

Problem #3.1: Cisco BE6K certificates are self-signed.

If it’s important to your business operations to have a certified Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), you’ll have to go with a third-party certificate authority. This could be an internal certificate authority maintained by your IT staff or a true third party like VeriSign or GoDaddy.

Even if you aren’t proactively considering a certified SSL, Cisco BE6K will prompt you to do so if you’re using Cisco Expressway to have secure remote access for communications with your phones and Cisco Jabber.

However, the prompt doesn’t provide a Cisco-sourced solution, as SSL encryption is not Cisco proprietary, it is an industry standard.

Just because Cisco doesn’t provide a certified SSL, doesn’t mean you can’t implement one for BE6K. 

You’ll just have to go outside of Cisco’s wheelhouse and find a third-party authority to implement one onto BE6K.

Problem #3.2: Cisco doesn’t have stringent password policies.

When you’re creating your password for the applications associated with BE6K, you won’t be prompted to include a capital letter, number, special character, space, etc. Your users could get away with using “password” as their password.

Solution #3.2: Enforce your own password requirements

The good news is you can implement a stricter password policy at a company level to require users to abandon their insecure password practices.

Problem #3.3: The audio transmitted with BE6K isn’t encrypted.

The audio your BE6K users send each other can be tapped into unless you take additional steps when configuring your phone system. A person could plug in their laptop to the PC port on the back of the IP phone and capture the traffic to listen to your unencrypted phone calls or into another open port on your network.

Solution #3.3: Talk to your Cisco partner about encryption options

However, the great thing about Cisco using the partner program model to resell their products, is you have a collaboration partner in the partner who sells you the products and is able to help you with the included hardware and software. 

They’re able to help you with configuring your phone system, including encryption options, such as creating an access list of which your IP addresses can communicate with each other.

Why should you use BE6K?

Even with these three problems, we like Cisco BE6K because it is reliable.

Other than these issues – two of which don’t affect all customers – you shouldn’t have any problems implementing and using BE6K.

And, the issues listed in this article all have solutions to help you make the most of your BE6K licenses

We hope you, too, will see the value in Cisco BE6K. For information about how it could fit into your IT environment, schedule a free, no-pressure consultation with one of our technology experts.

 

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