Cisco ASA IP Phone Proxy - My New BFF

About six months ago we upgraded all of our global Cisco 3000-series VPN Concentrators to Cisco ASAs. A very smooth and nice upgrade for us that has provided a nice boost of per-user VPN performance (my download speeds from home via Cisco IPSec client on my laptop jumped from 2 Mbps to 8-9 Mbps). As part of the purchase, our Cisco partner enticed us with some Cisco ASA IP Phone Proxy licenses. We've had it up and running for a couple months now and, after a recent ASA code upgrade, the IP Phone at my house has become my new best-friend-forever (BFF).

The ASA IP Phone Proxy works by tunneling IP Phone traffic via SSL to the ASA. The Cisco IP Phone runs TLS (SSL) itself and connects the ASA at the office. There is no Cisco home router or SOHO router at my house. Just a Cisco 7970 IP Phone manually configured with the ASA public IP as its TFTP server. The phone is connected to my home Linksys router; it DHCPs like any other device on my home network.

Once it reaches my corporate office, the ASA delivers the TFTP, signaling, and voice payload into the internal network (just like any other traffic). The IP Phone registers with the call manager and I have my office number at the house.

Now when someone calls my office number, it rings at the house. I can work from home without any difference from work and I don't have to mess with buggy softphones. I added a wireless headset to the phone and it's awesome. Outbound calls go via the ASA Proxy to our internal PSTN gateways so my home phone isn't tied up (wife love that). I also have my shortcuts for dialing internally. Overall, this is a simple, kick-butt solution for mobile workers, executives, and contractors. It takes four things:

  1. a Cisco IP Phone
  2. an ASA VPN box
  3. an ASA TLS Proxy license
  4. a broadband connection

Hook it up and go!! I am looking forward to rolling this out for our users.

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