Friday, 9 August 2013

Design Question: "dialplan-pattern" or "voice translation rule" ???

No doubt that voice translation rules are very powerful and provide many advantages in addition to digit manipulation. But let's consider a common scenario where you have CME and would like to convert extensions to E164 numbers for PSTN dialing.

One of the common ways to do this using "dialplan-pattern" command in CME. This is usually preferred over voice translation rules due to simplicity. Single command instead of voice-rule, voice-profile, assign profile to dial-peer or voice-port.

From design perspective, it is very dangerous to use "dialplan-pattern" feature. In fact I would say never use this feature. Let's look deeper.

The way how "dialplan-pattern" works that it will create an additional dial-peer for each Ephone-DN with destenation pattern as E164 number. For example, if you added a DN with number 6004 and your expansion pattern is 789.... , CME will create two virtual-dialpeers for numbers 6004 and 7896004 (you can see this using "show dial-peer voice summary" command).

Creating Ephone-DN with secondary number and having "dialplan-pattern" feature will result in 4 virtual dial-peers created (two for primary/secondary and two for E164-priamry/E164-secondary).

This means that number of virtual dialpeers is multiplied by two. For an office with 20 employees and 20 phones, you will have 40 virtual dialpeers (if only primary numbers are assigned) or 80 virtual dialpeers (if primary/secondary numbers are assigned) !!!!

Ok, till this point we didn't understand why this is a problem? What's wrong in having 80 or 100 virtual dial-peers ??

1. Dial-peers are stored in the RAM of the router for operation. Each dial peer consumes approximately 6KB of memory

By misusing this feature, you are adding overhead to your router's RAM without feeling it and bringing it very close to crash.

2. Assuming your are incorporating other features in your router (e.g. 2951 with default 512 MB RAM) such as zone-based firewalls, VPN, NAT, etc, you won't be able to add more than 10 ephone-DNs (assuming that secondary numbers are used). You will start getting error:

"Error: Can't Add Dial Peer"
 
3. On router reboot, although dial-peers configuration is saved in startup config, the router won't apply them to running config due to lack of RAM. This means that your router will boot with missing config (if you connect console due to reload, you will see the same error message in above point).

All of this can be resolved simply by using single voice translation rule applied to voice-port. So what do you think !!!

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