How can I screw this configuration up? Let me count the ways…

In case you ever get to feeling you’re pretty darn good at your job, just go and sit a CCIE boot camp.  That’ll sober you up in no time at all.

While I may be a whiz at voice implementations, troubleshooting phones and gateways, and heaven forbid, fixing that faxing problem you’ve been having, voice boot camp has a way of taking me right back to the starting line. In other words, I have spent the week getting schooled by boot camp. But in a good way. I think.

I’m seriously amazed, and simultaneously alarmed, at how much knowledge and methodology slips away when presented with tasks in a lab exam format. Maybe it’s the sketchy requirements and time constraints, but many of the mistakes I made this week working through the labs I know (or at least desperately hope) I would not have missed in real life.  I’m a professional for goodness sake!

For your entertainment value, and of course, educational value (mostly the former), I present to you some highlights from this week’s lab blooper reel.

I can’t call out from the PSTN phone. I hear dial tone when I take the phone off hook, but I get a fast busy on all calls I try to make.  Maybe there’s some class of restriction on the phone.  Maybe the dial peers are wrong. Or maybe it’s just that it’s a PSTN phone and I should quit prefixing numbers with a 9. Duh!

Inbound calls to the phones are not working. Maybe it’s my SIP trunk.  Maybe it’s my translations and transformations for globalized call routing. Maybe it’s a codec issue. Or maybe it’s just that I created the internal extensions in a partition that I didn’t add to any calling search spaces. Duh!

This one is one of my favorites. Scratching my head, I can’t figure out why calls aren’t matching my CUCM translation pattern: 9.[1-8]……… . I count the wildcards, 9 wildcard dots just like there need to be for the dialed string. 9 wildcard dots. DOTS. DOTS! In CUCM! Yeah, those might be wildcards in IOS, but CUCM has a difference of opinion.  Maybe I should use Xs. Just like ever other translation/route/transformation pattern in CUCM ever! Duh!

I cannot make a 911 call from a branch phone.  I check the translation pattern, I check the transformation patten, I check the route pattern.  I’m looking for all the ways I could have screwed up routing the call out.  What I am not looking for is whether my MGCP gateway is still registered. Which it wasn’t. And thank you Mark Snow for not laughing out loud on that one. And while we are on the subject, why on earth would I have changed the name of my MGCP gateway??!!  That must have been the smoking crack portion of the day...

Okay, I think that’s all the embarrassment I am prepared to own up to in this episode.  You may now go about your day feeling far superior in your knowledge and troubleshooting skills.

If you’ve got some good “well, duh!” moments from class or real life, I’d love to hear them.  It’d go along way to healing my self-esteem, plus it’s always fun to laugh at the other guy.

Published 10/13/2012

8 thoughts on “How can I screw this configuration up? Let me count the ways…

  1. I have enough of a time using my Avaya. I’m unclear how a professional Linux sysadmin educated in physics could have a difficult time to what amounts to a telephone.

    “oh yeah, 9 to dial out…” jesus christ.

  2. Adding a site (device pool and region) but not setting up any mappings for that region.

  3. Want EVERYTHING to break? Create a Route Pattern and ICT for all of your internal phones and send it to yourself. A student did that once and it took the longest of anything else I’ve troubleshot.

  4. Tell yourself that your 99% sure you copied a device CSS and then change the name and add & delete partitions … But really you were in that 1% time ..Doh

    1. PSTN is just a reference to a traditional analog circuit – I’ve heard it called POTS as well – plain old telephone system. Usually just used to distinguish between IP phone and analog.

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