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Time of Day Call Routing

Aug. 17, 2010
Robert Long

I recently came across an opportunity to use a relatively new feature in Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM). Suppose you are the telecom administrator at a community hospital. During business hours, the Facilities Department is staffed and team members simply call the office to report facilities issues. After hours though, the office is unstaffed and you need calls to the office to be sent to a cell phone which is carried by the associate on call.

One way to do this would be to use simple call forwarding. The issue here is that it relies upon a human being to forward the office phone to the cell phone when they leave the office.

If you’re familiar with CUCM, you’ll recognize this as a textbook example of when to use time-of-day routing. But nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

After consulting with the Director of Facilities, you find out their hours are flexible depending upon time of year and staffing levels. Ideally, the Facilities Director would like to be able to edit the schedule. Until recently, this meant giving administrator-like access to CUCM to the Facilities staff. Not to mention the training involved in how to self-manage their time-of-day routing. (There is a solution, but let’s first delve into how to solve the basic problem.)

  1. Set up a Directory Number (DN) on the shop phone of 78001. This is the number our associates are going to dial when they need to reach Facilities. This DN is going to be in the Internal partition, like the rest of our DNs

  2. Create a new partition called “After_Hours_Pt” or whatever you like

  3. Create a new DN, identical to the first one, except it’s going to be in the After Hours partition and will be call-forward all (“CFA”) to the on-call cell phone number.

We now have two identical route plan entries in two different partitions. So we need to edit our calling search spaces to include the After Hours partition, making sure it is listed first (that is ahead of the Internal partition). The order in which these partitions are listed on the caller’s calling search space will determine which one is used.

The next step is placing a time restriction on the After Hours partition so it’s only operative when we want calls to go to the cell phone. To start, I’ll create a three time periods

  • Weeknights - M-F, 1630 - 2359

  • Weekmornings - M-F, 0000 - 0730

  • Weekends - S-Su, 0000-2359

Then it’s just a matter of creating a time schedule which includes those three time periods and we have the basic setup finished.

But now we need to address the issue of allowing the Facilities Director to edit this schedule and make changes. Let’s presume the Facilities Director has an end-user account in CUCM, and that account is a member of the Standard CCM End-Users security user group (the name of group may change slightly in newer versions of CUCM).

When you were creating the time periods, there was an option to specify which end user owned them. By making the Facilities Director the owner of these time periods, he/she will be able to log into their CUCM User Webpage and edit the schedule as needed. Changes can now be made without the intervention of the administrator, and that should make everyone happy.

Author: Bob Long

Related Courses:
CIPT1 v6.x/7.x - Implementing Cisco Unified Communications IP Telephony, Part 1