tec Tip Videos

Evolution of Cisco Analog Telephone Adaptors

Katie explains the evolution of Cisco Analog Telephone Adaptors, including such factors as PC and analog port availability, protocols, end-of-life dates, and more. Covered are the ATA 188, ATA 186, ATA 187, VG202, and VG204.


Hi I'm Katie, a product manager with CXtec. Today I'd like to take you through the evolution of Cisco ATA devices. The very first Cisco ATA was a 188. That 188 actually had a PC port on it in addition to two analog ports. That meant that you could actually connect to a PC though the ATA and into your network. It supported several protocols. It supported MGCP, SCCP or Cisco Skinny Protocol. In addition, it supported H.323 and SIP. This product was end-of-lifed by Cisco in 2006.

When Cisco end-of-lifed the ATA 188, they replaced it with an ATA 186. I know that part number convention is confusing, that's just how Cisco works. What happened with the ATA 186 that changed from the 188 is that Cisco actually removed the support for a PC port. They did not think it was a good idea for you to be able to add a PC onto your IP network and not be able to manage that device. It still remained having two analog ports so you could connect to analog devices, fax machines, into your IP network. At this point, the protocols that this unit supported dropped also. Now, you still support Cisco's Skinny Protocol or SCCP in addition to SIP. This product was end-of-lifed by Cisco in 2010.

Cisco replaced the ATA 186 with an ATA 187. The ATA 187 still had no PC port, but did have two analog ports that were still supported on the device. Now this is when the big change happened, and when most customers could not use the ATA 187, is because it only supported SIP for its signalling protocol. One of the catches with the ATA also is that is not end-of-lifed, but you have to have certain versions of Call Manager in order for this to be supported. You need to be on 7.1.3 or 8.0 in order for this to be supported.

In addition to the ATA 187, another option you have from Cisco is actually a Voice Gateway. A Voice Gateway 202 or a 204 - a VG202 or 204. These boxes still don't support PC ports, but you do now have an option of supporting two or four analog devices on the box. The benefit of considering a Voice Gateway, or a VG202 or 204, is that now you can support again Cisco Skinny Protocol or you can run this using SIP. The one thing about the VG202's and 204's is that these are inherently more expensive that the ATA's from Cisco, and the main reason why is because you now actually get Cisco IOS on these boxes, which allows you to manage them instead of treating them like a dummy terminal like the ATA.

I hope that you've learned something about the evolution of Cisco ATA's and Voice Gateways. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.