Webex Calling: Cloud Connect vs. Local Gateway, Explained

Whether you're migrating to Webex Calling or evaluating your move, here are your PSTN connectivity options.
Webex calling phone icon and cell phone

They say the only constant is change. And, if you’re looking to sunset legacy systems (like Cisco’s BroadSoft) or moving from on-premise systems to the cloud, (cough, you), this rings particularly true. 

Many enterprises moving to (or currently using) Webex Calling are facing difficult decisions around how to connect to the PSTN, if & what on-premise equipment to phase out, which vendors to pick, and where to do it all. Whatever you need, Webex gives you the flexibility to customize your UC stack.

3 PSTN connectivity options in Webex Calling 

Webex Calling is Cisco’s cloud-based enterprise calling solution, giving users phone systems & unified communications capabilities to work productively anywhere they need. 

Businesses can make and receive calls, send messages, and host video conferences over the cloud. But, before your organization can fully embrace the benefits of Webex Calling, you need to pick how you want to add voice calling to the platform.

You have three ways to add PSTN connectivity to your Webex Calling instance: 

  1. Cisco PSTN: Calling plans that bundle voice, emergency, and the Webex platform. Cisco Calling Plans are an easy, off-the-shelf way to add PSTN connectivity, manage numbers, and port existing numbers to Cisco from the Webex Control Hub.
  2. Cloud Connect: A pure cloud Bring-Your-Own-Carrier (BYOC) solution that gives you voice coverage from pre-approved PSTN providers. 
  3. Local Gateway: Webex Calling’s premise-based BYOC solution. Connect any service provider’s PSTN with a premise-based local gateway to Webex Calling. 

Not ready to go pure cloud? 

You’re still using BroadSoft or Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM)—great! When you’re ready to migrate a little (or all) of your communications infrastructure, you won’t experience disruption (if you’re with Bandwidth).

What is Cloud Connect? 

The unbundled model (also known as BYOC) has risen in popularity as cloud adoption increases. Why? It gives you the best of both worlds: a best-in-class calling platform, plus a best-in-class provider. 

Cloud Connect, also called Cloud Connected PSTN (CCP), lets you unbundle your UCaaS or CCaaS platform & connectivity to bring global PSTN calling to your Webex Calling users. You can use voice services from your Cisco Certified provider of choice, and route calls to the PSTN via the Webex Control Hub.

The benefits of Cloud Connect

Cloud Connect is best for businesses without in-house telecom expertise or resources to manage PSTN connectivity. There are many benefits of Cloud Connect, like: 

  1. Ease of use: Cloud Connect gives organizations a consolidated, simplified way to manage phone numbers, users, and locations. Once you order numbers, administrators can assign and manage numbers across different providers around the world without leaving the Control Hub.
  2. Global reach: Cisco Certified providers offer service in over 65 countries, so you can connect to different providers to reach your customers and employees wherever they are.
  3. Spend reduction: Moving to a cloud-based, hosted model means you can lean into efficiencies by reducing on-prem infrastructure, management costs, and technical expertise. You can also lower spend by going directly to the source for your voice, emergency, and messaging services. 
  4. Pure cloud: Your voice provider manages all of the PSTN connectivity, so you can migrate all of your communications to the cloud for best-in-class innovation. The right provider can eliminate vendor lock-in, and disjointed tools, and pave the way for interoperability across third-party communications tools. 
  5. Better calling experience: Depending on your network provider, you can improve call quality, network monitoring, and regulatory expertise to navigate global landscapes without disruption.

How to set up Cloud Connect for Webex Calling

To set up your account for Webex Calling with Bandwidth, follow these steps:

  1. Log into the Bandwidth Dashboard.
  2. In the top navigation bar, select Account and click Sub-Accounts. Each account is required to have at least one Sub-Account. Many users choose to keep one, while others create separate Locations for development and production. To create a Location, complete the following fields and click Create Sub-Account.
  1. Select Locations and click Location. Each Sub-Account is required to have at least one Location, and you can group multiple Locations under a single Sub-Account. To create a Location, complete the following fields and click Create Location.
  • Name: Choose a unique Location name that would be easy for account users to identify.
  • Description: Enter an optional Location description.
  • Sub-account: Select a Sub-account you want this Location to be associated with.
  • Default Location: Enable this toggle if you’d like this to be your primary Location. This means that when you select the associated Sub-account when ordering or porting a phone number, this Location will show up first.
  1. Select Voice and click Integrations.
  2. In the Integration Platform drop-down menu, select Cisco CCPP.
  3. In the Cisco Organization ID(s) field, enter your Cisco Organization ID and then click Create Location.
  1. Next, you can order or port phone numbers. 
  2. Once the numbers have been configured, they can be added to your Webex Calling tenant for user assignment.

What is Local Gateway? 

Local Gateway is a connectivity model that lets you plug in any provider to Webex Calling. You can either maintain some on-premise infrastructure (like Private Telephone Switchboards, or PBXs) for a hybrid stack, or let your provider host your infrastructure. 

Think of it like Direct Routing for Microsoft Teams—with added flexibility comes added complexity. 

Benefits of Local Gateway

Local Gateway might be more complex than Cloud Connect, but it offers critical flexibility that many global, complex enterprises need. 

  1. Hybrid or pure cloud: You can keep as much on-premise infrastructure as you need to meet your call flow needs. Route to different SBCs, add in third-party integrations, keep critical data in-house, and build your communications stack to fit your needs.
  2. Vendor availability: You can connect with any provider that offers SIP integrations to Webex Calling—not just the Cisco Certified ones. 
  3. Migration control: Since you have more control over your Direct Inward Dial (DID) numbers, dial plans, call flows, and locations, you can break down your migration granularly to prevent disruption and downtime. 
  4. Efficiency: Moving some or all of your unified communications and connectivity to the cloud brings the opportunity to decrease investment in legacy infrastructure, maintenance, and expertise. 
  5. Global reach: With no restrictions around who supplies your PSTN connectivity, you can connect anywhere in the world. 
  6. Increased security: Local Gateway is the best option for you if you’re concerned about data sovereignty.

Cloud Calling vs. Local Gateway, Explained

When choosing your PSTN connectivity options for Webex Calling, consider your organization’s needs (now and in the future). 

Cloud ConnectLocal Gateway
A pure cloud BYOC solution that gives you Webex Calling voice connectivity from pre-approved providers.A BYOC solution that lets you connect any voice provider to premise-based local gateway for Webex Calling.
VendorsCisco Certified providersAny PSTN-connected vendor
Number provisioningWebex Control HubWebex Control Hub
Coverage65+ countriesAnywhere a provider offers a Webex Calling SIP integration
Cost of ownershipFully hosted SBCsKeep your SBCs, or go hosted
LocationPure cloudOn-prem, customer-owned SBC
Number procurementNumbers visible in the Webex Control HubNumbers visible in the Webex Control Hub
Number managementWebex Control HubWebex Control Hub

If you want to go pure cloud, simplify your telephony management, and don’t need to manage your SBCs in-house, Cloud Connect is the solution for you. 

However, if you need to be hands-on with your call routing, have strict security guidelines, and want to keep some on-prem equipment, Local Gateway is your best path forward. With the right connectivity option, you can harness the full power of Webex Calling, the cloud, and a direct-to-carrier solution. 

The good news? You don’t have to choose just one! Your organization can choose a different connectivity model on a site-by-site basis—so you can go pure cloud in the U.S., hybrid in EMEA, and on-prem somewhere else. No matter what models you use, you’ll manage everything through the same Control Hub.

Get started with Webex Calling 

Webex Calling’s feature-rich platform can transform how your organization collaborates. Now, it’s never been easier to achieve the right blend of cloud and on-premise systems. 

Whether you opt for the ease of Cloud Connect, the control of Local Gateway, or the off-the-shelf Cisco PSTN, you can confidently move forward knowing your needs are met.