Switchvox Rescue User Guide

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IMPORTANT NOTICE
As of Sept 30th, 2016, Digium will End of Life (EOL) Switchvox Rescue and will no longer offer it for sale.  All existing customers will continue to be supported until March 31st, 2017; however, only Switchvox versions 5.11, 5.11.1, 6.1, 6.1.1, and 6.1.2 are supported.  If customers wish to upgrade beyond version 6.1.2, they will lose the Switchvox Rescue feature. If customers wish to maintain Switchvox Rescue until the final EOL date, they must remain on one of the supported versions.
More information on this change can be found here.

What is Switchvox Rescue
How Switchvox Rescue Works
What You Must Know About Switchvox Rescue How to Set Up Switchvox Rescue How to Prepare for a Rescue Event In the Event of a Rescue

What is Switchvox Rescue

Switchvox Rescue is a stopgap solution in the cloud, based on your own Switchvox configuration. Your Switchvox appliance and Switchvox Rescue work together to keep a recent copy of your Switchvox configuration on Digium Cloud Services (DCS). Then, in the event your Switchvox appliance is unavailable for any reason, you can contact Digium to put your Switchvox Rescue system online and direct your DCS incoming phone calls to the Rescue system. In the Rescue system, you can play recorded sounds, take voicemail, and even route important calls to phone numbers external to Switchvox.

How Switchvox Rescue Works

After you have subscribed to Switchvox Rescue, you can set up your Switchvox appliance to automatically provide nightly configuration snapshots to the DCS Rescue network. These configuration snapshots will be used to create your rescue system should you ever have a system failure.

 

What You Must Know About Switchvox Rescue

Requirements

  1. Access to the Internet. Switchvox must have access to the Internet to perform the periodic configuration snapshots that are used to create your rescue system when it is needed.
  2. Current software maintenance. Switchvox must be covered by a current Digium software maintenance plan and either Gold, Platinum, or Titanium level subscriptions.
  3. Most recent software release. Switchvox should be regularly updated, so that it’s on the most recent software release. (Server > Maintenance > Updates.) There is some leeway provided after a new release, but in general Switchvox must be kept on the current release.
  4. Current Digium SIP Trunking account. Your Digium SIP Trunking account must be maintained with at least one 911 DID.
  5. Switchvox Rescue enabled. You must enable Rescue via the Switchvox Admin Web Suite.

Switchvox Rescue is Temporary

After 7 consecutive days of Rescue server utilization, your DCS account will be charged $10 per day. Failure to notify DCS and deactivate your Rescue system will result in charges if your system is active for more than 7 consecutive days.

Switchvox Rescue is Not a Hot Failover

Digium creates your Rescue system when you notify technical support that your appliance is unavailable and request a Rescue. The process of creating a Switchvox Rescue system can take up to 20 minutes.

Switchvox Rescue is Not a Backup  

Switchvox Rescue is a stopgap, cloud-based Switchvox based on the configuration of your Switchvox appliance. It is not a replacement for doing periodic system backups of your Switchvox appliance. Rescue configuration snapshots do not contain all of the files necessary for a complete system rebuild. For example, copies of call recordings and voicemail files are not part of a Switchvox Rescue system. Thus, Digium strongly encourages customers to create a detailed recovery preparedness plan for their phone system/service using its backup features, whether or not a customer subscribes to Switchvox Rescue. Switchvox backup features create periodic backups with all the necessary files to restore a system, and they can be stored off-system using FTP or SFTP.

Digium Cannot Forward Calls From Other Providers to Rescue

If you have dial-tone providers other than Digium SIP Trunking, we recommend you contact that carrier to verify what is required if you need to forward your calls to a DCS DID (i.e., to one of your DCS phone numbers). If your dial-tone provider is a SIP provider, DCS will not block connectivity but it cannot guarantee connectivity. Therefore, it may still be necessary to forward your calls to your DCS DID.

Switchvox Rescue Does Not Support Some Features

Not all Switchvox features are supported in a Switchvox Rescue system.

SIP Phones

Switchvox Rescue does not support SIP phone connectivity. Connectivity is not blocked, but DCS will not provide technical support connecting SIP phones. Connecting SIP phones is possible, but may require special router configuration on the customer side to ensure proper operation, and as this is a temporary service, DCS does not support this configuration.
 
This means that the phone on your desk that normally registers to your Switchvox appliance will not register to Switchvox Rescue. In a Rescue event, desk phones will not ring with calls, and callers will be sent to voicemail unless the extension’s call rules indicate otherwise.
 
For example, if an extension has Ring All or Cascade call rule actions in place for incoming calls to ring external phones, those phones will still ring (the caller won’t be automatically sent to voicemail).

DID Routing for Calls From Other Providers

Because DCS cannot forward calls from other providers to Rescue, DID Routing is not supported for customers who do not use DCS as their primary SIP provider. Calls will have to be forwarded from the other dial-tone provider to a single DCS DID number, so Switchvox can’t identify the original DID. In other words, if you have DID routes set up under Incoming Calls, those will not route to the correct Switchvox extension.

Call Recordings

Call recordings are not supported at all on a Rescue system. Scheduled call recordings do not occur.

External Music on Hold

If your Switchvox appliance has an external source plugged into it for Music On Hold, that audio will not be available on your Switchvox Rescue system.

Alerts

Email Alerts from the Alerts Manager are not sent from a Switchvox Rescue system.

Switchvox Rescue Has Limitations

Resources are limited on a Switchvox Rescue system, which means that there are some feature limitations.
 

Performance & Capacity

Switchvox Rescue is designed with similar capabilities to a Switchvox 80 appliance.
The capacity of Switchvox Rescue is as follows:
  • 12 concurrent calls
  • 5 conference participants
  • 50 hours of voicemail recordings
If your requirements for a stopgap solution exceed what Switchvox Rescue can provide, you might want to consider a dedicated cold spare appliance from Digium.
 

Voicemail

Voicemail messages created during a Rescue are only valid and available while that Rescue system is available. They are deleted after Rescue is deactivated. Digium recommends sending voicemail files via email to ensure a copy is available for future reference.
 

Call Logs & Reporting

A Rescue system only contains the call logs created on that system, and the reports generated from those logs, Also, they are only valid and available while that Rescue system is available. If these records are required for future use, we recommend they be exported prior to deactivating your Rescue system.

How to Set Up Switchvox Rescue

Enable Rescue in the Switchvox Admin Web Suite

To prepare your Switchvox appliance to use Switchvox Rescue, do the following:
  • In a web browser, log into your appliance’s Switchvox Admin Web Suite.
  • Navigate to the Server section.
  • Select Rescue from the Maintenance list.
  • In Rescue, toggle the Active setting to YES.
  • Click Save Settings to save and apply the new Rescue setting.
Your Switchvox appliance will now communicate to DCS to properly maintain the configuration settings required for Switchvox Rescue.

Set Up DCS SIP Trunking

To configure your DCS SIP Trunking service with your Switchvox appliance, refer to the Digium Knowledge Base article Configuring Digium Switchvox appliances to use Digium Cloud Services (DCS) SIP Trunking.

Test Switchvox Rescue

As part of Switchvox Rescue, DCS will provide one (1) annual test of the Rescue system. This testing should be scheduled with Digium technical support. Additional Rescue tests in the same calendar year will incur a fee of $150 per test.
Note: Testing Rescue will affect calls, so we recommend testing be performed during non-business hours.

How to Prepare for a Rescue Event

Your Switchvox configuration is unique, and, therefore, a one-size-fits-all configuration for Rescue is not possible. Digium offers the following recommendations for a Switchvox configuration that prepares for a Rescue event.

Auto-answer Incoming Calls with a Recording, and take Voicemail

For most of your incoming calls during a Switchvox Rescue event, you can auto-answer with a recorded greeting that informs the caller about the situation and allows them to leave a voicemail message. As well as explaining the situation, the message should let customers know you will get back to them as soon as possible.
 
To set up for this situation, designate one of your phone extensions as your Rescue Phone Extension as follows, and write down the Rescue Extension number in the section below In the Event of a Rescue.
  1. Log into the user web interface (/main) with the Rescue Phone Extension.
  2. Navigate to the Features section of the interface.
  3. Create a Status (Features > Status Options). For example, Available > Rescue.
  4. Create a Call Rule Set (Features > Call Rules).
    1. Name it Rescue, and change the Rule Set Status to Available > Rescue.
    2. Create a Send to Voicemail action in the call rule, and send All calls to voicemail Immediately.
Note: If you intend to let calls to this extension go through to an external phone number, use a Ring All action in this call rule (or a cascade to multiple external numbers). Put that action above the Send to Voicemail action.
  1. Create a Recording (Voicemail/Fax > Voicemail Options).
    1. Name it Rescue, and record a generic explanation as the sound. For example: “Hello, you have reached <Insert Organization Name>. We are experiencing a problem receiving phone calls and may not be able speak with you at this time. Please leave a message, and we will return your call as soon as possible.”
    2. Leave the Default Greetings options set to NO.
  2. Create a Greeting Rule.
    1. Name it Rescue.
    2. Change the Rule Set Status to Available > Rescue
    3. Select the Rescue greeting for Unavailable and Busy
  3. Be sure this phone extension has email notifications for voicemail messages, and that the notification includes the audio file. That’s important because voicemail messages that are on Switchvox Rescue will not be available after you have transitioned back to your Switchvox appliance.

Alternative Rescue Scenarios

Phone Extension Without a Unique Phone Number (DID Route)

If you have a phone extension that must be able to receive calls during a Switchvox Rescue event, but you don’t have a unique phone number (dedicated DID) for that extension, you may want to create an IVR to use during a Rescue event (instead of using the Rescue Phone Extension described above).
 
Using an IVR, you have many options for playing a recorded sound and sending calls to external numbers. You can also use the IVR to let callers dial extensions or go directly to an extension’s voicemail, but remember any voicemail messages received while on the Switchvox Rescue system will be lost after the Rescue event unless email notifications with audio files are in place.
 
If you use an IVR, then in a Switchvox Rescue event you would change the SIP Provider’s Callback Extension to the IVR extension, instead of the Rescue Phone Extension as described above.
 
Caution: Your Switchvox Rescue system may not have the resources to serve as many calls as your Switchvox appliance. Be conservative with the amount of activity you allow through this IVR.

A Phone Extension With a Unique Phone Number (DID Route)

If you have a phone extension that must be able to receive calls during a Switchvox Rescue event, and it already has a unique phone number from DCS SIP service, it’s easy to send its calls to an external number:
  1. Set up a call rule as described above.
  2. Instead of going to voicemail immediately, use a Ring All or Cascade action to the external phone number.
This way, calls to the phone extension are sent to a phone number that is external to Switchvox (e.g., a mobile phone).
This scenario assumes your Switchvox appliance already contains a DID Route for this unique phone number.
 
Caution: Your Switchvox Rescue system may not have the resources to serve as many calls as your Switchvox appliance. Be conservative with the number of phone extensions that use this option. In a ring all or cascade, Switchvox still manages the call and requires resources.

Unique Phone Numbers (DID Routes) to Non-Phone Extensions

If you have Incoming DID Routes that direct calls to non-phone extensions, you’ll need to decide whether to leave them as they are, or change them to the Rescue Phone Extension.
 
Caution: Your Switchvox Rescue system may not have the resources to serve as many calls as your Switchvox appliance. Be conservative with the amount of activity you allow through these extensions.
 
Also, if an extension’s call rules indicate that a call should ring a SIP phone, but that phone is not available (which it won’t be, during a Rescue event), the call goes to voicemail and the default voicemail greeting is played. Any voicemail messages received will only be available on the Switchvox Rescue system, and will be lost after the Rescue event unless email notifications with audio files are in place.

In the Event of a Rescue

The Rescue

If your Switchvox appliance becomes unavailable for any reason, contact Digium technical support at 256.428.6161 or 877.344.4861.  The technical support agent will verify the status of the appliance and service, and, upon verification will create your Rescue system.
With proper planning and configuration, your Rescue system should start receiving and routing calls immediately after activation.
Upon activation of your Switchvox Rescue system, a URL for admin and phone-user login will be provided via email, as well as new admin login credentials. The individual user logins will still use their same login credentials.
Even though admin access is provided for the Rescue system, certain configuration items (hardware, backups, etc.) will not be available to the customer admin.
 
In the event of a Switchvox Rescue, do the following:
  1. In a web browser, navigate to your Switchvox Rescue system:https://yourswitchvoxrescuesystemurl/main and log in as the Rescue Phone Extension you set up, which is _____________________.
  2. Change the Status to Available > Rescue.
  3. Navigate to https://yourswitchvoxrescuesystemurl/admin
  4. Open the SIP Provider page for DCS SIP service (Setup > VOIP Providers)
  5. Change the Callback Extension to the Rescue Phone Extension.
If you have other extensions that are prepared to ring external phones, be sure their Status is set as Available > Rescue.

After the Rescue

When your appliance is once again available for use, follow these steps:
  1. If DCS is not your primary dial tone provider, contact your provider and ensure all numbers are no longer forwarded to DCS.  
  2. Ensure you have all information that you want to collect from the Rescue system (voicemails, call logs, etc.).
  3. Contact Digium technical support 256.428.6161 or 877.344.4861 to request deactivation of the Switchvox Rescue system. Your Switchvox appliance will once again work with the Switchvox Rescue service to provide configuration files.