Putty Telnet into ShoreGear SG50V/SG90V

We had a lot of requests for examples of telneting into the SG Voice switches, so we though we would do a quick video on that process. The V switch is a very different animal from the rest of the SG family. Basically, a small Linux server lives inside the switch and contains a Flash memory card to hold Automated Attendant and Voice Mail for users assigned to that “server”. There are some characteristics about the V switch that you should know and we have tried to summarize them below. One of the most important characteristics, is that a V switch MUST have a time source or bad things will happen!

The entire telnet process into this switch is different. You can find your way down to the subdirectory that contains the famous IPBXCTL security shell and run it using the normal command sequence. You will see the “telnet enabled” message, but you will pull you hair out before you can telnet into the V switch. To get inside the switch, you will need to use an SSH client like Putty. You will also need to log in as either the Admin or the Root users. The Admin gets you to a safe menu configuration option and you should have no problem configuring the switch. Remember, you have to have that NTS in your configuration! Log in as the root user however, gets you a more powerful set of trouble shooting command and enable you to back up the Flash card, and to some other debugs that you can not do from the admin user.

The video clip below walks you through the process. Here are some of the highlights we have discovered working with the V switch,

· Limited media stream capability.

· 1U Half Width Switch

· Voice Mail stored as 8-bit WAV files from G.711/G.729

· Switch can negotiate ADPCM but can Not proxy G.729

· Switch runs under Linux (not VxWorks)

· Voicemail Switch uses Qmail not SMTP and does not support SMDI

· SG90V supports 90 voice mail boxes

· 1GB Compact Flash stores about 1500 minutes or 15 minutes per user

· Full CF Card = “voice mailbox full” message

· Holds all Automated Attendant Messages?

· Store prompts for up to four languages

· At boot, requires connectivity to HQ server for configuration

· Once operational, does not need server connectivity for VM/AA

· V switch MUST have NTS SMTP and FTP resource

· Console port = Linux Shell STCLI is default

ShoreTel SIP Trunk Configuration Parameters for Level 3

Generally, we do not fill out forms given to us by Carriers.   Most Carrier forms use nomenclature that is “Marketing Speak” and not technically driven.   It seems we have 100 different ways to refer to a TDM with PRI signaling and only one of them means anything to an engineer.   There are a variety of new delivery methods being offered to clients for PRI service and it is important to understand exactly what type of circuit you are actually being given.    A PRI may in fact be a SIP trunk from a Softswitch, through a CISCO IAD with a TDM interface for your SGT1.   Not necessarily a bad thing (though you should expect problems with Fax service) but it is a hybrid circuit and not a traditional TDM T1 to a circuit switched central office.   We are always eager to assist the client by speaking with the carrier and having a dialog as to the exact nature of the circuit, but we steer clear of filling out the forms they expect their new customers to complete!

Recently, while planning the implementation of a ShoreTel IPBX with 230 SIP trunks, I  had the experience of pulling together answers to L3 request for configuration data.  With the help of  Rod Davis, Juan Rubio and Steve Weinstock we were able to respond.   To my surprise, this time there was not a single marketing expression in the document!   The questions were specifically engineering oriented and designed to understand the capabilities of the IPBX that the SIP trunk service was being ordered to support.    I though it would be interesting to share that information with our readers.  The IPBX is the ShoreTel and the assumption made in these answers is that the ShoreTel is being front-ended by an Ingate Separator.   Here are the SIP configuration questions and answers:


How to set up Backup for ShoreTel VG50 and VG90 V siwtches!

Both models of the ShoreTel VG90 and VG50 are availabe in V switch configurations.   The V switch configuration enables you to provide local voice mail and autoamted attendant functionality to a smalll site economically.  Compared to the cost of adding a distributed voice mail server, the SG50V and SG90V are economically viable alaternatives that should be considered as you plan for resilency and site continuity during a WAN outage.

Due to the CF card capacity, daily backup of  voice mail and automated-attendnat is advised.  When automatic backup is enabled in the ShoreWare Director, it begins immediately after the server completes its daily house-keeping operations.  Automatic Backup Stores Voicemail, Auot Attendant Data and switch  log fiels to an FTP server.  After completion of the daily file-system cleanup taks, the switch begings automatic backup.  A time stamp is appended to the name of the files copied to the target server.

Automatic backup provides a source for the most recent days voice mail and the other data in the event of a system failue.  It is not intended to be an archive of voice messages or a sourc fo retrieving deleted voice mail.  The following silent film clip walks you through the process of setting up an FTP site and properly configuring the ShoreWare Director for V switch backup!

How to Telnet into a ShoreTel phone

A typical trouble ticket might sound like “when another extension calls me, I can hear them, but they can not hear me”!  Actually, one of my personal faviroites.  Over the years I have come to learn that this is usually the result of one of two issues: someone has the wrong default gateway; or port 5004 is being blocked by some firewall in one direction.  As we move more and more toward SIP and media streams move away from a dedicated port, this issue is almost always a network configuration error.

So which device has the wrong default gateway?   That takes some dedective work.   Generally you will telnet into the ShoreTel SG media gateways and check the configurations.   Media stream between phones generally do not need an SG switch beyound call setup.  The media stream, once the call is setup, is between the two phones.   For this reason, you will want to tenet into the phone and “see” the network from the phone’s percepective!   To do this, you will need to know the ShoreTel methodology and process.

Security on the SG switches and phone, requires that you start the process from the ShoreTel HQ server.   There is a specific subdirectory that you need to be in to launch the various utilities.  This silent viedo walks you through the process of using one utility, phoneCTL, to telenet into a phone and look around.

Switch Connectivity Diagnostic

Most ShoreTel System Administrators learn early on that the “Quick Look” link in the ShoreWare Director is your best friend! After all, telephony trouble indications are easy to spot: Green is good, Red is Bad and yellow means “something needs attention”. At the first report of a trouble indication, a System Administrator will bring up a browser and get to the log in screen of the Shoreware Director portal. Quick Look, Under the Maintenance section of the administrator portal, provides an immediate snapshot of what is going on in the system. If you see any RED at the HQ level, you can drill down and find the site and switch that might be the source of your problem.

What happens when you look and you see Green?All is good!Why am I getting user reports of inability to complete a phone call?The very best next step for you to take is to click on the Switch Connectivity link under the same Maintenance section as Quick Look.The switch connectivity screen will illustrate any connectivity issues between switches on the network. It is very possible that the HQ server “sees” all is well and reports Green, but individual switches served by DVM’s, for example, do not see each other.By pinpointing the intersection of switches that can not communicate with each other, you will generally find a network or default gateway issue that is causing your negative user reports!As useful as the Quick Look may be, the Switch Connectivity page is a more useful diagnostic for locating network based issues.

switch-connectivityFor more detailed information about a switch, place the mouse cursor over the connectivity cell in question and status information will be displayed in the status bar at the bottom of your browser!  Green is Still Good and indicates the Switch is communicating with the other switches in the system.  Yesllo indicates that the switch connectivity is unknown because it can not communicate with TMS and RED indicates a complete loss of communications with the server!

The missing ShoreTel Beep!

In both ShoreTel Release 8 and 9 there is a very interesting behavior that will ultimately bring a client call to your support center.   The behavior is most obvious in a multi-site deployment in which there is only one HQ server providing voice mail services.    A call to a user at a remote site is RNA (i.e. ring no answer) transferred to the voice mail system.   The call entered the system on a PRI at the remote site and is then transferred across an MPLS WAN to the HQ server.   The caller hears the greeting: “I am not here, at the beep please leave a message”.   The caller dutifully waits for the “beep”, but it never comes.  What happens to it?

The fact of the matter is the “beep” was in fact played, but the caller did not hear it.   This has to do with the use of the G729 Codec on Inter site calls in this scenario.   The G729 is distorted to the point that the caller can not hear the beep.   The distortion appears to only be related to the implementation of the G.729 codec on the virtual soft switch.  As a troubleshooting step, I used a different phone system and an IP phone that was set to only use G.729.  When we called the HQ virtual soft switch over a local PRI trunk where ULAW was being used from the PRI switch to the HQ server, we heard the voicemail beep without distortion (through the G.729 codec as implemented on a different PBX).  It is only distorted when the virtual soft switch is trying to do G.729.

Outlined below are two WAV files of the normal beep (ULAW) and the distorted beep (Softswitch G.729).  We have also attached a visual representation of the audio files.  The distortion is audibly and visibly clear.  Our thinking is the “beep” is to short and to high a frequency, but we are not developers!  Currently, the only known fix for this is to change the Codec to G711.  That fixes the issue, but it may have a negative impact on your WAN plan!  I am sure there is a fix in the works back at the ShoreTel Mother ship, but we have not seen it yet.


V Switch Schedule does not change Automated Attendant?

This is one of those trouble tickets that keeps an engineer awake at night. A V switch was installed at a remote site to provide Automated Attendant and Voice Mail services for that site.   The V switch was one of three switches at that site and each switch had analog CO lines connected.   For reasons that nobody could explain, the observed behavior was that the AA would not change from On Hours to Off Hours as scheduled. An observed behavior, does not really state the problem!  (read: lesson learned) What we learned is that the AA did in fact actually change per the schedule, but only the lines connected to the two other non V switches received the correct prompt per the schedule.   The CO lines connected to the V switch, (which included the main number and next three lines in hunt, but of course) ,  did not get the correct AA greeting.    Now, as nightmares go, this was about as difficult as they get when you are attempting to distill a problem statement.   As everyone called the main line,  everyone thought the AA was not changing per schedule.   Only by calling lines not terminated on the V switch did the real problem statement emerge.

ShoreTel has now assigned a known defect number to this behavior. “The issue you are experiencing has been addressed in defect 1-34192469.  The defect has been corrected and is pending a patch release.   Once the patch release hits our QA group for testing and validation, we will be able to provide a rough estimate on a release date”.

I could have listened to my mother and finished law school, but no.  I wanted to be a telecom entrepreneur ……

ShoreTel “Call Screening”

Call Screening is a popular telephone feature though some people consider it both annoying and insulting.    In ShoreTel 9 you have this option using “find me follow me” to ask the caller something equivalent to “who may I say is calling”?   The caller then speaks their name or wisecrack, they are asked to “please hold while I locate your party” and then you are called on your specified” find me follow me” location.   When your phone rings and you hear the name of the individual that is calling.  You must explicitly accept the call by pressing the digit 1, or the call will be taken back and the caller will hear:  “ I am sorry I could not reach your party at the tone please leave a message”.

Actually, you can use this feature in the office if you are prepared to use two extensions on your ShoreTel phone (read two user licenses).   Set up the first extension (e.g. 114) with a call handling mode that has the following options checked in “find me follow me”.  First, check the box “Enable record callers name for Find me” and also “Enable Find me for incoming calls before playing Greeting”.   Set your First Number Find Me location to your second extension (e.g. 115).  When a call is received by your first extension, it will automatically prompt the caller with ‘the person you are calling requests your name”.  The System will then put them on hold and call your second extension, play the name and give you the option to accept or reject the call.  It is actually quite clever and it works!

9.1 Find Me Option for "Call Screening"
9.1 Find Me Option for “Call Screening”