The blog on the ShoreTel Mobility Router
as one of the options offered by ShoreTel for remote worker connectivity, generated a lot of email requests. I have an opportunity to install, configure and test the solution including the Roam Anywhere Client on an iPhone. It is really a great product and should be well received in the market for campus wireless as well as for the growing Mobile workforce. The attached video provides a quick overview of the SMR System Administration Interface and is not meant to be a tutorial on the subject, just a quick tour of the basic admin portal.
System configuration is relatively straight forward, but very specific. Without getting into the infrastructure requirements, there are steps in the configuration that must be accomplished to bring up a useable platform. The SMR will connect to your PBX using both SIP Extensions and SIP trunks. Licenses, Authentication SSL Certifications, Time Servers, DID numbers and Network Interfaces are all necessary components to a successful deployment. The ShoreTel Roam Anywhere Client or RAC, can be downloaded from the Mobility Router itself for Crackberry and Nokia, or from the Apple AP store if you are installing on an iphone.
We were able to use a ShoreTel SIP extension
and drag it half way round the world to China! It worked flawlessly. The RAC comes up, attempts to register with the local server IP through a WiFi connection and failing that, negotiates a SIP registration through the public IP as an SSL connection. Once provisioning has completed, you have a fully functional Extension on your state side ShoreTel PBX as a SIP extension. You can place extension to extension calls and dial 9 calls as if you were standing in your home office. A call to your primary extension is typically set to ring both your desk phone and your SIP extension out over the Campus WIFi or over the internet to the WiFi WAP nearest you. Answering on your iPhone SIP extension and nobody would know you were working remotely. Think of the cost savings!
The ROC will attempt a WiFI connection first, then try over your Cellular Data plan and then finally a Cell Call. The router tracks all of that and reconfiguration happens automatically. You might want to set your ROC to use WIFi only. If you do not have a local access number where you are traveling, the Cell Call will be back to the SMR DID stateside, entering the router as a SIP trunk. Setting the Network options to WiFi Only assure that all your calls are made through the Secure Voice facility, basically an SSL connection over WiFi to a public IP address that port forwards to your mobility router. The router requires care and feeding and constant monitoring, but the platform has a wide range of maintenance and troubleshooting tools. The documentation is excellent, but your deployment team will need expertise in SIP, telephony, computer networking and have a strong background in controller based wireless technology.
Though now owned by ShoreTel the router will work with CISCO, Avaya and basically any PBX that supports SIP trunks and extensions. When we find a moment, we will compare the RAC and SMR functionality with a BRIA SIP soft phone, both on an iPhone.