How To Install Cisco Call Manager Express CME Software


The Cisco () software (its new name is Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express)  provides IP Telephony services that run on Cisco Integrated Services routers (such as 1800, 2800, 3800 family series). I will start a series of posts in this blog about IP Telephony, starting today with the installation of CME on a supported Cisco router.

The CME software can be downloaded from (login required) and you can install it on the router flash. You need to download the CME software (comes as a single .zip compressed file) that is appropriate for the specific router IOS image you are intended to use. The ZIP file contains several individual files and several TAR archives. The individual files can be copied to flash using the regular “copy tftp flash” command and the TAR archives can be copied and extracted to flash using the “archive tar” command (more details later).The recommended files that you need to install are the following:

  • Basic Files: This is a TAR archive containing the basic files you need to run the Cisco Unified Call Manager express. This archive contains also the phone firmware files required, although additional individual phone firmware files may be needed sometimes. The filename for this tar archive is “cme-basic-x.x.x.tar“.
  • GUI Files: This is again a TAR archive containing only the files of the GUI management tool, which is a mouse-driven interface for provisioning phones and for general CME management after basic installation is complete. The filename for this tar archive is “cme-gui-x.x.x.tar“.
  • Phone Firmware Files: Although the required phone firmware files are included in the Basic tar archive, you may need to add phone firmware files to support individual phone models that are not included in the basic package. Each firmware file is specific for each phone model and for the protocol it uses (i.e SCCP or SIP protocol). By default, new IP phones are shipped with an SCCP firmware image. If the firmware installed on an IP phone is older than the firmware loaded on the Call Manager router flash, the IP phone automatically upgrades its firmware and then registers with the Callmanager. The filename conventions used for phone firmware images are:
  • SCCP firmware: P003xxyyzzww or SCCPxxyyzzww
  • SIP firmware: P0S3-xx-y-zz or SIPxxyyzzww
  • For Java-based IP phones, such as the Cisco Unified IP Phone 7911, 7941, 7941GE, 7961, 796GE, 7970, and 7971, the firmware consists of multiple files including JAR and tone files.
    Installation of CME software

After you download the .zip CME software file from Cisco, uncompress the file on a local TFTP server. You will get several individual files and several TAR archives. We assume the TFTP server is at and has access to the CallManager router.

For individual files:

Use the regular copy command to transfer the file from TFTP to the router’s flash:


Router# copy tftp:// flash:

For TAR archive files:

Use the archive command to transfer the files and extract them at the same time to the router’s flash:


To transfer the Basic Files tar archive (cme-basic-3.0.3.tar) to callmanager router:

Router# archive tar /xtract tftp:// flash:

After all required files are installed, use the “show flash” command to list the files installed on flash memory.

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