I'm curious if there is anyone out there providing Meraki stacks (routing and switching) at home for contact center workers. This would allow sending Cisco phones home and provide agents with the ability to work without running a VPN client and without having to have phones register via Expressways. I realize that desktop softphones could be used instead of physical phones, but we have cases where agents prefer a hard phone. Currently we have desktop VPN and Expressway capabilities, but I'm wondering if any companies have made the case to use Meraki at agent homes.
Some Z3's, but the vast majority of using Softphones.
The softphone works anywhere that the users notebook is located. While a hard desk phone can only be used where their is cabling - which is a big restriction when working from home.
Yeah, we have softphone options, but there are some groups that want a physical phone because they don't like the softphone option. These physical phone requirements is why I am wondering if other Cisco phone users out there are using Meraki for home agents or just simply using physical phones that register via MRA on the Expressways.
We deployed 300 Z3s and 40 MX64s back in April, 250 of which were to migrate a contact centre to teleworkers. They all have Avaya IP physical handsets so use the PoE on the Z3 for power and a desktop that was literally picked up from their desk at work and taken home - the z3s tunnel back to a pair of MX250's in our datacenters.
To date, we've had no call quality or app performance issues - the only problem being a frequent tunnel drop (every 20 mins or so) which was caused by an upstream firewall in the datacenter terminating the sessions unexpectedly.
Future considerations for us is NAC - as we had to deploy in less than a few days, we had no time to provision acceptable physical security to prevent the user plugging something else into the Z3 and getting to the corporate network - this is on our roadmap.
if you want any further info, let me know - it's a fantastically simple deployment and once the groundwork was completed we didn't even see the users or their devices (inc the Z3s) - they just took everything home and followed a plug in guide.
Personally, I will always opt for a softphone quite simply because the physical phone costs are simply too much in my opinion. £100-200 for the phone itself, £100 headset and then another £100 for the amplifier - no thank you.
I may have once built a 30 man office with poundland headsets and a softphone. Do not judge me; I had two weeks to complete it by, no budget and a nearby poundland. The sound proofing to reduce background noise worked a treat. Call recordings were all clear.
We adopted this approach for at least a year. Cost us on average £10/year per person on headsets. The main offices cost £200/year per person on headsets. To avoid any additional overhead, we just had a bucket with them people could collect themselves from.
Excellent information @SteveO . We have decided to put several Z3s out there as well as a pilot for these at-home workers who rely heavily on their phones and working in a switchboard role. We're hoping for the kind of results you have reported.
Hi @HardBoiledGreg , what about the MR30H’s as well?
Using the wireless concentrator mode they will auto vpn back to your HQ/DC.
Has 4 ports (1 PoE) and is also a wireless AP.